10 Books for a Happier You

Americans' plans for self improvement have been around since Benjamin Franklin first crafted his "Project for Attaining Moral Perfection." Here are 10 books to help you find a happier you - if you need a boost at work, in parenting or just getting dressed in the morning.

Fairfax County Public Library customers showed an enormous amount of interest in this surprise New York Times bestseller. Want to see big changes in your life? Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up says the key is not to organize all your material possessions but to rid yourself of most of them. If an item doesn't bring you joy, toss it.

Many of us struggle with how to have it all while achieving a semblance of work-life balance– succeeding at work while also raising children and being involved in their lives. These three books offer insights into that balance. The work that distilled the business side of the conversation is the now classic Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (which reads as bittersweet in light of her husband’s recent death.) The parenting side of this balance is well informed by  All Joy, No Fun, Jennifer Senior’s take on the juxtaposition many feel about parenting, both the highs (“joy!”) and lows (“no fun!"). Brigid Schulte’s Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time describes her attempts to get out from under her overwhelming, rushed, never completed to-do lists and find more time for leisure and play.

Looking to understand or change a bad habit? Or maybe just find more happiness in your daily routine and improve your everyday life? Then Gretchen Rubin’s newest guide to finding your happy, Better Than Before, may be helpful. Charles Duhigg’s very popular The Power of Habit was on many critics Top Ten lists last year.
The final quartet holds the keys to self-improvement inside and out. Improve your moral character (David Brooks, The Road to Character), harness the power of inquisitiveness to create a bigger life (Charles Fishman, A Curious Mind), calm that insatiable drive for self-improvement (Dan Harris, 10% Happier) and look better when you step out the door (Alison Freer, How to Get Dressed.)

 I dare say Benjamin Franklin would approve.

-Ginger Hawkins, Patrick Henry Library

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