Happiness Information, Resources, and Over One Hundred Free Online Shows
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 21 Ways to Become Happier

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This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Michael W. Fordyce, 12/14/44 - 01/24/11, whose pioneering work created the happiness movement we enjoy today.  Heaven and Earth are happier places because of you.  Thanks, Dr. Fordyce, and stay happy forever and ever!  Dr. Fordyce's site at the Internet Archive

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What is Happiness?

   Why is Happiness so Important?

World's Happiest Countries

Happiness Facts

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Other Ways of Becoming Happier

Happiness Increase Experiments

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Happiness Books, Papers and Articles

Start a Happiness Show

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Key Happiness Facts

World's Happiest Countries (2004):
1. Nigeria
 2. Mexico
 3. Venezuela
 4. El Salvador
 5. Puerto Rico
 (U.S. ranks 16th)

Countries with Highest Levels of Subjective Well-Being (2004):
1. Puerto Rico
 2. Mexico
 3. Denmark
 4. Columbia
 5. Ireland

Click here for the complete ranking and more information

Americans consider happiness more important to them than money, moral goodness, and even going to Heaven.

Americans are, on average, only 69 percent happy.

The world population is, on average, less than 65 percent happy.

37 percent of the people on Forbes list of Wealthiest Americans are less happy than the average American.

At any given time, one forth of Americans are mildly depressed

14 percent of the nations on Earth are less than 50 percent happy.

Happiness Increase Experiments published in peer review journal have empirically demonstrated that individuals can be trained to be 25 percent happier through various training programs in from two to ten weeks.

All demographic variables combined, including age, sex, income, race, and education, are responsible for only 15 percent of the difference in happiness levels between individuals.

American Children feel happy 52 percent of the time, neutral 29 percent of the time, and unhappy 19 percent of the time.

Americans' personal income has increased more than 2 1/2 times over the last 50 years, but their happiness level has remained the same.

Americans earning more that $10 million annually are only slightly happier than average Americans.

(Click here for Citations and a Brief Paper on How our World Can Become Much Happier)








Happiness Books and Papers

Key Happiness Books, Papers and Resources

Layard, Richard (2005) Happiness: Lessons from a new science, Penguin Press, New York

Written by one of Britain’s best known economists, and the founder of Europe’s leading economics research center, this book should encourage governments to appreciate the wisdom of measuring , and implementing policies that focus on, happiness.

Lyubomirsky, S., Sheldon, K. M., & Schkade, D. (2004). Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change. To appear in Review of General Psychology.

Sonja Lyubomirsky and Kennon Sheldon are the leaders of a major effort to seek out and refine happiness-increase techniques, and to demonstrate that individuals can and do become lastingly happier. Inspirational, important, and cutting edge, a “must read” paper.

Seligman, Martin, E. P. (2002) Authentic Happiness, The Free Press, New York

Although misleadingly titled, this book by a former president of The American Psychological Association who in 1998 founded Positive Psychology asserts to its growing number of adherents that happiness is the goal of his new field.

Argyle, Michael, (2001, Second Edition) The Psychology of Happiness, Taylor and Francis, New York.

This revised edition of a work first published in 1987 is the most up-to-date review of happiness research findings currently available in book format.

Kahneman, D., Diener, E., & Schwarz, N., eds. (1999) Wellbeing: The foundations of hedonic psychology. Russell Sage Foundation, New York, 593 pages,

This book, edited by 2002 Nobel prize winner (economics), psychologist Daniel Kahneman and top happiness authority Ed Diener, is the most comprehensive and sophisticated collection of writings on happiness currently available.

Diener, Ed., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. E. (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 276-302.

For those interested in “just the facts,” this review of happiness findings updates Dr. Diener’s classic 1984 review of the literature (published in Psychological Bulletin).

Myers, David. G. (1992) The Pursuit of Happiness. Who is happy and why?, Morrow, New York.

David Myers, who is also the author of the most popular college introductory psychology textbook, presents an excellent and highly readable review. While now somewhat outdated, most of the findings in this work are still valid.

Fordyce, Michael. W. Human Happiness; Its Nature and Its Attainment. (A two-volume set available for free online at -

Michael Fordyce is the most progressive and influential happiness researcher, having conducted the world’s first compressive happiness-increase experiment in 1977. Fordyce does an excellent job describing what happiness is and why it is so important.

Fordyce, Michael. W. (1990) Michael Fordyce's Psychology of Happiness.  (A 14 episode, video TeleCourse) Fort Myers: Edison Community College Television Productions. (available for free online viewing at:

While some specific findings presented in this pioneering video series are now out of date, the episodes give an in depth, comprehensive, overview of happiness, and detail the information used for his pioneering 1977 and 1983 happiness-increase experiments.

Pliskin, Zelig (1984) Gateway to Happiness, Aish HaTora Publications, Jerusalem, Israel

Written by a rabbi for the orthodox Jewish community, this work is unquestionably the best how-to book about happiness, Rabbi Pliskin’s cognitive-behavioral approach, presented in simple, unscientific language, covers all of the major strategies and impediments to happiness.

Diener, E. (1984). Subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 95, 542-575

This classic paper reviews early research and theoretical approaches to happiness.


World Database of Happiness Papers and Book List

This is the best collection of professional papers and books on happiness available on the internet


Lionel's The Happiness Club Book List


This is the most extensive collection of books on happiness available on the internet


George's Favorite Happiness Books

Dr. Michael W. Fordyce's Human Happiness; Its Nature and its Attainment 


This free on-line book is easily the most progressive and inspired professional book on happiness there is.  Written by the top happiness researcher in the world, who in 1977 published the world's first happiness-increase experiment, it comprehensively describes happiness, and forcefully explains why happiness is the most important aspect of human existence.  It then presents, in substantial detail, the most sophisticated empirically validated happiness-increase program published to date.


Rabbi Zelig Pliskin's Gateway to Happiness


Written primarily for the orthodox Jewish community by a cognitive therapist and Rabbi, Gateway to Happiness is easily the best "how to" book about happiness that I am aware of



Happiness Books    Top    Happiness Papers


Happiness Papers on the Web


Happiness - General Topics   What Makes us Happy?   Happiness and Genetics   Measuring Happiness   Happiness and Public Policy   Happiness and Geography   Happiness and Marriage  Happiness and Religion   Happiness and Crime   Happiness and Money   Happiness and Age   Happiness and Race   Misc. and Magazine Articles


Happiness Books    Top    Happiness Papers

Happiness - General Topics


Recent Findings on Subjective Well-Being by Ed Diener, Eunkook Suh, and Shigehiro Oishi

New Directions in Subjective Well-being by Diener and Robert  Biswas-Diener


HAPPINESS: HAS SOCIAL SCIENCE A CLUE? by Richard Layard Lionel Robbins Memorial Lectures 2002/3.  Delivered on 3, 4, 5 March 2003 at the London School of Economics

What would make a happier society? by Richard Layard,  Lionel Robbins Memorial Lectures 2002/3.  Delivered on 3, 4, 5 March 2003 at the London School of Economics

Experienced Utility and Objective Happiness: A Moment-Based Approach by Daniel Kahneman, Princeton University, Chapter 37, pp. 673-692, in: D. Kahneman and A. Tversky (Eds.) Choices, Values and Frames, New York: Cambridge University Press and the Russell Sage Foundation, (2000)

HEDONISM AND HAPPINESS by Ruut Veenhoven In: Journal of Happiness Studies, 2003 vol. 4. (special issue on 'Art of living') pp. 437-457

Is Anybody Happy?



Subjective Well-Being Is Desirable, But Not the Summum Bonum
Ed Diener, University of Illinois and the Gallup Organization

Building a Better Theory of Well-being by Richard A. Easterlin
University of Southern California


Happiness Books    Top    Happiness Papers


What Makes us Happy?


  by Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell and Paul Frijters, published in the July 2004 Economic Journal.


The Determinants of Happiness: Some Migration Evidence by Evan Osborne, Wright State University and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research


Happiness, Hope, and Optimism by Patricia A. Dunavold, (spring 1997)

Pets provide happiness, lower stress for elderly by Jennifer White, Kansas State Collegian, Tuesday September 15, 1998

Highlights from the Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness, Dimensions and Perspectives of Gratitude, Co-Investigators: Robert A. Emmons, University of California, Davis, (contact:; 530.752.8844) Michael E. McCullough, University of Miami (contact:; 305.284.8057) Stuff/highlights_fall_2003.pdf

Vengefulness: Relationships With Forgiveness, Rumination, Well-Being, and the Big Five by Michael E. McCullough, National Institute for Healthcare Research, C. Garth Bellah, Louisiana Tech University, Shelley Dean Kilpatrick, National Institute for Healthcare Research, Judith L. Johnson, Christopher Newport University

Maximizing Versus Satisficing: Happiness Is a Matter of Choice by Barry Schwartz and Andrew Ward, Swarthmore College, John Monterosso
University of Pennsylvania, Sonja Lyubomirsky, University of California, Riverside and Katherine White and Darrin R. Lehman, University of British Columbia


Happiness Books    Top    Happiness Papers


Happiness and Genetics


The Heritability of Happiness by David T. Lykken, Professor of Psychology, University of Minnesota

Happiness Is a Stochastic Phenomenon by David Lykken and Auke Tellegen, University of Minnesota, Psychological Science Vol.7, No. 3, May 1996

Happiness Books    Top    Happiness Papers


Measuring Happiness


Subjective Measures of Well-being by Ruut Veenhoven, April 2004

Reexamining Adaptation and the Set Point Model of Happiness:
Reactions to Changes in Marital Status
by Richard E. Lucas
Michigan State University, Andrew E. Clark, De´partement et Laboratoire d’Economie The´orique et Applique´e Yannis Georgellis, Brunel University and Ed Diener University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign


Happiness Books    Top    Happiness Papers


Happiness and Public Policy




Assessing well being among traumatized children in foster care: The reality behind the numbers by Rosalind Folman, Ph.D

Happiness Books    Top    Happiness Papers


Happiness and Geography


How Happy Hong Kong Are?  A Study on Happiness Index of Hong Kong People.  A research project jointly organized by the Department of Applied Social Studies of CityU and Radio One of RTHK, Principal Investigator: Dr. Dennis Wong, Associate Professor, Department of Applied Social Studies, City University of Hong Kong Study on Happiness Index of Hong Kong People (Sep 2002).pdf

Are Scandinavians Happier than Asians? Issues in Comparing Nations on Subjective Well-Being by Ed Diener, University of Illinois and the Gallup Organization and Shigehiro Oishi University of Minnesota

Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA by David G. Blanchflower
Department of Economics, Dartmouth College and NBER
USA,, Andrew J. Oswald, Department of Economics, Warwick University, UK
October 2000


Location, Location, Location: The Miss-prediction of Satisfaction in Housing Lotteries

Happiness Books    Top    Happiness Papers


Happiness and Marriage


Marital Status and Happiness, 1972–1996 by Mary Margaret Adams

Happiness Books    Top    Happiness Papers


Happiness and Religion


Church Attendance and Happiness Among Northern Irish Undergraduate Students: No Association by Christopher Alan Lewis

The Relationship Between Religion and Happiness Among German Students by Leslie J. Francis, Hans-Georg Ziebertz, and Christopher Alan Lewis


Happiness Books    Top    Happiness Papers


Happiness and Crime


Happiness Books    Top    Happiness Papers


Happiness and Money


WILL MONEY INCREASE SUBJECTIVE WELL-BEING? A Literature Review and Guide to Needed Research by ED DIENER and ROBERT BISWAS-DIENER, (Accepted 14 September 2001) Readings/Diener_Biswas-Diener_2002.pdf

The Multidimensionality of Poverty: A Subjective Well-Being Approach by Mariano RojasDepartment of Economics, Universidad de las Américas, Puebla, Mexico, e-mail: 2003-2-papers/papers-pdf/Rojas 150403.pdf

Work Orientation and the Contingency of Job Satisfaction and Subjective Well-Being on Annual Income: A Longitudinal Assessment by Ariel Malka and Jennifer A. Chatman, University of California, Berkeley

A Non-Technical Introduction to the Economics of Happiness by
Andrew Oswald December 1999

Happiness, Wealth, and Corporate Social Responsibility by Tom Bateman, May 26, 2003

Money, Sex and Happiness: An Empirical Study by David G. Blanchflower, Bruce V Rauner ’78 Professor of Economics
Dartmouth College and NBER USA, and Andrew J. Oswald, Professor of Economics, Warwick University, UK,


(final version dated 7 January 2002) Readings/Frey_Stutzer_JEL.pdf


The Role of Income Aspirations in Individual Happiness by Alois Stutzer, University of Zurich

Eva Camacho-Cuena*, Christian Seidl**, and Andrea Morone***
*Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre der Christian–Albrechts–Universität zu Kiel, Germany, and University Jaume I, Castellón, Spain, **Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre der Christian–Albrechts–Universität zu Kiel, Germany. ***Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre der Christian–Albrechts–Universität zu Kiel, Germany, and ESSE, University of Bari, Italy.


HAPPINESS RESEARCH: STATE AND PROSPECTS by Bruno S. Frey, Alois Stutzer*University of Zurich and CREMA- Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (31 May 2004).  Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, University of Zurich Working Paper Series ISSN 1424-0459, Working Paper No. 190 Happiness Research: State and Prospects Bruno S. Frey and Alois Stutzer June 2004


Happiness Books    Top    Happiness Papers


Happiness and Age


Does Subjective Well-Being Increase with Age? by Brian Scott Ehrlich and Derek M. Isaacowitz


Happiness Books    Top    Happiness Papers


Happiness and Race


RELIGION, HEALTH, AND WELL-BEING AMONG AFRICAN AMERICANS by Christopher G. Ellison, Department of Sociology
University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712-1088

Happiness Books    Top    Happiness Papers


Misc. and Magazine Articles.


Gross National Happiness: an introductory editorial.

Happiness skills curriculum: not an article



Can money buy happiness? UC Berkeley researchers find surprising answers

Partisan Social Happiness by Rafael Di Tella, Harvard Business School
and Robert MacCulloch, Princeton University Macculloch.pdf


Happiness Books    Top    Happiness Papers