Books That Inspire Happiness From Gretchen Rubin

I'm the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Happiness ProjectHappier at Home, and Better Than Before. I write about my experiences as I test-drive the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about happiness, habits, and human nature. Here are some of the books that have brought me the most joy and positively changed my life over the years: 

Into the Wild

A fascinating account of a young man’s journey into the Alaskan wilderness — where he went, why he went, and how his story exemplifies a certain American dream.

My Life in France

I was utterly captivated by this memoir, even though I don’t care much about cooking or food. Child’s enthusiasm, her love of her subject, and the zest with which she tackled even the drudgery involved, her respect for the masters in her field and her curiosity constantly to learn more, swept me along.


A novel that manages to be both hilarious and sharp, light yet profound. A perfect novel for a long airplane trip — and I can give it no higher praise.

Just Kids

I love books about people coming into their vocations, and this haunting memoir by musician Patti Smith brilliantly evokes a time and place in New York City, as she and Robert Mapplethorpe began to build artistic lives for themselves.

Why We Get Fat

No book has ever led me to make such dramatic, positive changes in my life — overnight.

See Gretchen Rubin’s list on Scribd.

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