Positive Psychology is a recent branch of psychology that studies how to make normal life more fulfilling by focusing on mental health versus mental illness. One branch specifically addresses what makes us happy.
Understanding what makes us happy (and what doesn't) is fundamental to pursuing the good life. There is scientific proof that wealth and fame will not make you happier, so at the very least these studies can save you a decade or two. In business, understanding what authentically fulfills people should be a central consideration as we design our organization, products, services, and outreach.
- The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want by Sonja Lyubomirsky reports on the findings of happiness studies and includes a number of exercises for developing one's sense of happiness.
- Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment by Martin Seligman identifies characteristics and strategies of people with positive outlooks and explains how to cultivate and experience authentic happiness more often.
- Happiness: Lessons from a New Science by Richard Layard outlines the true causes of happiness and the means we have to affect it.