Great New Reads: The Happiness Advantage

UPDATED: May 14, 2024
PUBLISHED: March 29, 2013

By: Shawn Achor


SUCCESS Partners; $49.99

Judy Garland’s character in the Wizard of Oz got it wrong when she thought happiness lay unattainably “over the rainbow,” Shawn Achor argues in his first literary effort, 2010’s The Happiness Advantage. Citing studies he and Harvard colleagues conducted that revealed proven habits for boosting contentment, Achor maintains happiness—because it improves motivation and brain function—leads to success, not the other way around, as is commonly assumed. The formula we were taught and keep teaching is actually backwards. First, find happy; then you'll find success. Achor believes that once the formula is fixed, we can maximize potential. While explaining each technique neurologically, Achor avoids the language of academia, keeping this 210-page book digestible. Re-released this year, the original book is available as part of a boxed set, with a 70-minute audio CD featuring well-known achievers explaining their own paths to happiness, and a terrific paperback workbook that coaches readers on adopting the elemental habits of happiness. The workbook’s 21-day challenge is designed to increase self-worth, creativity and gratitude, and to make them second nature. In the process, the individual can redirect stress and negativity into something more useful. Positivity is the precursor for a productive and successful life.

Josh Ellis is the former editor in chief for SUCCESS magazine. Before joining SUCCESS in 2012, he was an accomplished digital and print sportswriter, working for the Dallas Cowboys Star magazine, the team’s gameday program, and Originally from Longview, Texas, he began writing for his hometown newspaper at 16.