A reference book disguised as a self-help book, The How of Happiness is far more credible than most other books whose titles promise you help “getting the life you want.”

It may be more useful, too. Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book makes the case that your happiness is largely under your own control, and that the benefits of happiness are available to just about anyone. Drawing upon years of research, including many of her own studies, Lyubomirsky argues that happiness is like a sport: Practice the right exercises and you are very likely to improve.

She emphasizes that happiness practices must fit your personality, and so each of the 12 science-tested, happiness-inducing activities she presents also come with several different ways they can be implemented, along with diagnostic tests to help you decide which activities are right for you.


No one is really meant to read this manual straight through, which is clear from its repetitive format. But I’d be surprised if it fails to convince you that you can make yourself happier.

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