I gave an intro course on Positive Psychology a few days ago, and folks asked me for recommended Positive Psychology books. Here are my TOP TEN recs.

Recommendations for Books on Positive Psychology?

Number 1 – This is the definitive MUST READ:
Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman

Number 2 – This is where a lot of the original research came from:
Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman

Number 3 – This is like the non-textbook textbook on the field.
A Primer in Positive Psychology by Chris Peterson

Number 4 –
Flow by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi

Number 5 –
The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt

Number 6 –
Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar

Number 7 –
The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz

Highly recommended:

* What You Can Change and What You Can’t by Martin Seligman

* The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky

* Stumbling on Happiness by Dan Gilbert

* Mindset by Carol Dweck

* Positive Psychology Coaching by Robert Biswas-Diener and Ben Dean

* Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain by Sharon Begley

* The Resilience Factor by Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatte

* Aging Well by George Vaillant

* Handbook of Positive Psychology edited by C.R. Snyder and Shane J. Lopez

* The Appreciative Inquiry Summit by James Ludema et al.


  1. Posted Wednesday October 24, 2007 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Thanks for publishing this list! The books on your list that I have already read were outstanding and I look forward to reading the others.
    Thanks again for passing them along !
    Dave Wheeler

  2. Ben
    Posted Monday October 29, 2007 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Hi Senia,

    This is a pretty good list. I’ve read books 1 – 4 as well as “What you can and can’t change” & “The optimistic child” by Martin Seligman.

    Even though this titles aren’t directly related to positive psychology I have read and recommend the following titles:

    “Self-directed behaviour” by Donald Watson & Roland Tharp,
    “Between Parent and Child” by Haim Ginott and
    “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk” by Adele Farber & Elaine Mazlish.



  3. Mal
    Posted Tuesday April 1, 2008 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Great list, though I would put Sonja’s book at number 1.

  4. Posted Monday May 11, 2009 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Hi Senia,

    There are so many good new PP books…. Maybe time for an update of this list?

    Anyway, here is one candidate I would like to suggest for the list: Positivity by Barbara Frederickson.

    Here is my review of that book: http://solutionfocusedchange.blogspot.com/2009/05/review-of-positivity.html

    All the best,