Editor’s Note: Today the authors, editors, and friends of PPND share some books we are giving to our friends in case they give you ideas for holiday gifts. These books include our favorite books about positive psychology and some novels that carry positive messages.
For more recommendations from PositivePsychologyNews.com , see the 2009 holiday book list. The 2008 Holiday Ideas article also includes some book ideas.
Coming up in December: Collected suggestions for movies, tips for thriving in the holidays, and ideas for a strong start of the new year.
Positive Psychology News Daily has published two books that would be great holiday gifts:
- Resilience: How to Navigate Life’s Curves: Recently updated with a summary chapter that ties all the ideas together.
- Gratitude: How to Appreciate Life’s Gifts: Published this fall, this book has 20 chapters written by 16 PPND authors.
- The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet: A Novel by David Mitchell
- Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow
- A Journey: My Political Life by Tony Blair
- Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
- Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal
- My father who previously wrote an action-adventure novel just wrote a book that I think is the best gift for the holidays for kids and grandkids. It’s an interactive children’s book, and it has beautiful drawings. Great to read with them. Ages 4-11. It is available with color illustrations: Truth: Ethics for Your Child (Color Edition) (Volume 1) and a less expensive version with black-and-white illustrations: Truth: Ethics for Your Child (Black & White Edition) (Volume 1) .
I love Laurens van der Post’s two books, A Story Like the Wind and A Far-Off Place. They are powerful stories that stick to the imagination. I included small excerpts in the article I wrote about the two books in my blog, including this quotation:
Bamuthi: “Then a man-child also had to learn how to sing and above all to dance; for dancing and singing were the best ways he had of showing gratitude for the good things of life. Song and, above all, dancing were the surest ways of helping a man to endure the great trials of his existence; they were needed at birth, marriage and before war to strengthen his heart.”
I also like anything by Tamora Pierce. She writes great stories for young adults that I have reread over and over because they are stories of grit and courage. Here’s a description of the Protector of the Small series, in case you have a young adult on your shopping list. My son enjoyed them too when he was a bit younger.
It’s the time of year to pull out Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories by L. M. Montgomery, a great storyteller.
I also frequently look at Atul Gawande’s book, Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance. I have his new book, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, on my Christmas list.
- The Art of Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Handbook for Living by Dalai Lama
- Time to Think : Listening to Ignite the Human Mind by Nancy Kline. She has also written More Time to Think: A Way of Being in the World
- Gratitude edited by Kathryn Britton and Senia Maymin
- The Road Less Traveled, 25th Anniversary Edition : A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth by Scott Peck
I continue to love Caroline Miller´s Creating Your Best Life: The Ultimate Life List Guide, especially for this time of the year. Here’s a link to Emiliya’s review of it.
I really liked Tom Rath & Jim Harter´s Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements.
I also liked Dan Buettner´s Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way.
Another good book is The Strengths Book: Be Confident, Be Successful, and Enjoy Better Relationships by Realising the Best of You by Alex Linley, Janet Willars and Robert Biswas-Diener
Also, I liked Matt Ridley’s The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves.
In Spanish, Alejandro Castro Solano from the Univeridad de Palermo en Buenos Aires, edited a wonderful Introducción a la Psicología Positiva (Ed. Paidós, 2010)
And of course I am really looking forward to reading Marty´s new book on Flourishing.
- Paul Coelho’s By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept: A Novel of Forgiveness
- Dr Daniel G Amen’s books, Change Your Brain, Change Your Body: Use Your Brain to Get and Keep the Body You Have Always Wanted and Magnificent Mind at Any Age: Natural Ways to Unleash Your Brain’s Maximum Potential
- See my review of George Kohlrieser’s Hostage at the Table: How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others, and Raise Performance.
- Also see Denise Clegg’s review of Norman Doidge’s The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science.
- Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness by Alva Noe
- How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer by Sarah Bakewell
- Move into Life: The Nine Essentials for Lifelong Vitality by Anat Baniel
- The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow. It is a book that makes you love life more.
- Song of Myself: The First and Final Editions of the Great American Poem by Walt Whitman
- Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair: Dual-Language Edition by Pablo Neruda
- A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry, ed. by Czeslaw Milosz
- Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, by Chip and Dan Heath A great read that takes Jon Haidt’s “”rider and the elephant”” metaphor and applies it to the change process.
- Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris. It’s about just what it sounds like, and you need to read it since you (and I) are wrong!
- The Tao of Pooh and Te of Piglet (Wisdom of Pooh) by Benjamin Hoff. Is it possible that not striving will work for you even if you do not live in the Hundred Acre Wood? Read this classic to see.
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. One of the most magnificently told stories ever, and always worth rereading. The movie version with Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch has a hauntingly beautiful score and the performances are wonderful.
- The Law of the Garbage Truck: How to Respond to People Who Dump on You, and How to Stop Dumping on Others by David Pollay. Here’s a link to my interview of the author about the book.
- Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Education in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Greg Mortenson (author of a book recommended last year, Three Cups of Tea)
- Brilliant Positive Psychology: What makes us happy, optimistic and motivated by Charlotte Style. Charlotte is a fellow MAPP graduate from the University of East London.
- Teaching Happiness and Well-Being in Schools: Learning to ride elephants by Ian Morris
- Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness: A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything by Deborah Schoeberlein
I recommend Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen!!
- How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like by Paul Bloom
- The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living Russ Harris
- Curious?: Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life by Todd Kashdan. Here’s a link to Sulynn’s review of it.
- Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh
. Here’s a link to my review of it.
- Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk
- The book I’m putting on my wish list for the holidays is Full of Grace: Encountering Mary in Faith, Art, and Life by Judith Dupre.
- I love Bob Emmons and Joanne Hill’s little book, Words of Gratitude for Mind, Body, and Soul. This is a lovely gift idea.
- Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom by Rick Hanson
I find the book, Hand Made edited by Tessa Britton really inspiring. This book is a result of two years research into new types of community projects. The twenty-eight authors have contributed perspectives and stories about how participating and initiating within communities are changing. These innovative views come from experiences with creating fresh opportunities for people to come together positively in their communities to learn, share, and make. Hand Made is part of the Social Spaces project. I wrote the last chapter of the book about the capacity of people and human nature to be collaborative.
I also recommend The World Book of Happiness, which includes a chapter I wrote on the relationship between eudaimonic well-being and intimacy and sexuality.
The site, Nesta: Making Innovations Flourish is a crucial resource for positive psychologists to put their practice into the heart and context of social innovation and systemic, radical, social change ideas!
Finally, I recommend The Idea of Justice by Amartya Sen. The book is less about a concept of justice than it is about a framework in which to think about justice. It suggests that one should reject any form of transcendental institutionalism (“We just need to figure out what the perfect institutions are.”) and instead ask oneself, “How do we change society for the better?”
Definitely Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson. Here’s a link to Amanda Levy’s review of the book.
Also, for parents,
- Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents by Christine Carter
- How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.
I recommend The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working: The Four Forgotten Needs That Energize Great Performance by Tony Schwartz, Jean Gomes, and Catherine McCarthy.
I recommend Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) by Antoine Saint Exupery. This is a great book for children and for adults looking for resilience and insight. “On ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.” (“One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”) The book was written while the author was in New York. For more information, see the Wikipedia article about it.
- I recommend a subscription to Monocle magazine
- Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the 3 to 1 Ratio That Will Change Your Life by Barbara Fredrickson
- The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jon Haidt
- Curious?: Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life by Todd Kashdan
- Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility by Ellen Langer. Here’s a link to Laura Johnson’s review of the book.
We invite you to post your ideas of life-enriching books.
Colorful bookshelves courtesy of See-Ming Lee
Circle of people and books courtesy of Alexandre Duret-Lutz
Here’s my suggestion: “The Gifts of Imperfection: Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life” by Brene Brown. And before reading the book, you MUST check out her TED talks online:
Some fantastic suggestions. Can’t believe no one recommend “Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives” by James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis which was my favourite over the last year…