have been studying happiness comprehensively since the early
1960s. In recent years lay individuals have increasingly
contributed to promoting greater personal and societal happiness
through various means such as books, clubs, businesses, television
and the internet.
psychologists' extensive happiness research provides us with a
wealth of very important and well-documented knowledge about
happiness, sometimes academics are less successful at promoting
practical applications of their findings. For example, of
the over 3,000 published happiness studies over the last four
decades, less than a dozen were designed as attempts to increase
Lay individuals, on
the other hand, are very focused on the final goal of happiness
research - helping people become happier. However, many
non-scientists ignore the extremely useful and important
scientific data on happiness, and thereby greatly limit their
influence on both the public and the media.
Top Happiness Researchers and Promoters
section is being presented to bridge the gap between these
two happiness increase vehicles. Hopefully social scientists
will increasingly understand that through the development and
promotion of practical implementations, their findings will have
far greater relevance and lay happiness promoters will
increasingly understand that their efforts to help make our world
happier gains influence when backed by solid
Michael Fordyce, founder of
the now hot field of Happiness-Increase Psychology, is, in my
opinion, the psychologist who best understands and has most
significantly influenced the field of happiness research.
In 1977, he published the world's first comprehensive happiness
increase study, and his understanding of the importance of
happiness to our world is unparalleled among his peers.
For this reason, on every page of my The Happiness Show website
there is a link to this description. He published his visionary work
Human Happiness; it's Nature and Attainment as well as
the three most advanced happiness increase studies yet conducted.
Dr. Fordyce recently granted me permission to produce "A Program
to Increase Personal Happiness" a 28 episode
cable television program from his 14 episode The Psychology of
Happiness video series. The program premiered in
White Plains, New York on September 16th, 2004.
Martin E. P.
Dr. Martin Seligman, past president of the
American Psychological Association and recently ranked the 31st
most influential psychologist of all time is doing
more to build a happier world than any other happiness
researcher. In addition to having raised over $30 million dollars
for the happiness-directed Positive Psychology field he created in
1998, Dr. Seligman is currently training hundreds of
happiness coaches that are destined to become a potent force
in bringing practical implementations of happiness increase
psychology to consumers throughout our world. While his theory of
happiness is in some ways seriously flawed, his happiness
increase applications are founded on empirical research, and are
therefore invaluable to the field. Happiness research is
meaningless without vehicles for its practical implementation, and
Dr. Seligman is the psychologist most directly increasing what he refers to as the "total tonnage of
happiness in the world."
Dr. Ruut Veenhoven, from The
Netherlands, is the field's leading authority on
"international" happiness, and one of Happiness Psychology's most
progressive thinkers. His World Database of Happiness is THE
internet source of professional information on happiness research.
I am very grateful to Dr. Veenhoven for having had the
wisdom to present on his site a list of the most important
professional books on happiness - a resource enormously helpful to
my research. Dr. Veenhoven is also the editor of
The Journal of happiness Studies,
first psychology journal entirely devoted to happiness research. His comprehensive ---- published in ---
presents extensive and detailed data on the happiness experienced
by many of the countries throughout the world.
Ed Diener is the world's leading happiness
researcher. He is a prolific researcher and writer who has
collaborated extensively with many other top researchers. Dr.
Diener's 1984 and 1999 reviews of happiness findings are considered the
most authoritative in the field. He co-edited Well-being;
The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology, the most
theoretically sophisticated book on happiness yet published..
Perplexingly although Dr. Diener has led the field for the last
thirty years, he has yet to publish a happiness-increase study,
somewhat diminishing his influence on the cutting edge and very
important Happiness-Increase Psychology field.
David Myers has written numerous papers on
happiness and is the author of The Pursuit of Happiness. While
now somewhat out of date, it is, in my opinion, the best review of
happiness research available in book form. He has also authored the most
popular college level introductory psychology textbook. Equally
importantly, Dr. Myers is a very kind man, as I have personally
Daniel Kahneman, a top
happiness researcher, was awarded the 2002 Nobel prize in
economics "for having integrated insights from
psychological research into economic science, especially
concerning human judgment and decision-making under
uncertainty." Dr. Kahneman co-edited Well-being;
The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology.
Our world suffered a great loss
in September of 2002 with the passing of Dr.
Michael Argyle of England. In 1989, Dr. Argyle wrote The
Psychology of Happiness, an
excellent book reviewing happiness research. Before leaving us
he updated this important work by publishing a 2001 second
edition. While this revision has already become somewhat dated in
the rapidly advancing field of Happiness Psychology, it is a must
read for anyone interested in the current state of the research.
Kennon Sheldon is reviving and expanding upon the
happiness-increase work Dr. Fordyce pioneered in the late 1970s. Last
year he was kind enough to send me two of his manuscripts that
compellingly encourage a new wave of happiness-increase
experimentation and practical
happiness-increase applications throughout society.
Dr. Sheldon's research is
demonstrating that happiness level gains can remain in effect
Lyubomirsky is a visionary among the new generation of happiness-increase
researchers. Dr. Lyubomirsky's work will hopefully find
applications within her native Russia, where happiness levels
are among the lowest in the world.
Building a happier world
requires both research and implementation. Dr. Douglas Ramm, a
Pennsylvania clinical psychologist and happiness researcher, has
conducted extensive research on what enables, and threatens our
happiness. His formula for happiness can be utilized in
the context of coaching, counseling and psychotherapy and as a
foundation for business ethics and organizational development.
Dr. Ramm's "Facts of Life Seminar" not only
increases happiness but also uses happiness to
motivate positive behavior. Mandated for the 800
juvenile offenders on probation in Westmoreland
County, Pennsylvania, the program has already
produced robust results.
Click here to
learn more about Dr. Ramm and his
valuable contributions to helping
build a happier world.
is referred to by Dr. Seligman as the "brains" behind the new
Positive Psychology movement that has as its goal the promotion of
Dr. Emmons, who has published
at least eighteen papers on happiness, has empirically demonstrated the
power of gratitude in increasing happiness.
Dr. Inglehart is
director of the University of Michigan based World Values Surveys, the most authoritative
happiness polling organization in the world. His organization's
latest 1999-2001 report (released in April, 2004) reveals that the
happiest countries in the world are Nigeria, Mexico, Venezuela, El
Salvador, and Puerto Rico.
Bruce Heady has been
researching happiness for decades and is co-author of the
influential Understanding Happiness published in 1992.
This work unfortunately advanced the now dated view that long
term increases in happiness are not possible because of the
limiting effects of adaptation level. Last year (2003), I
presented him with a research proposal designed to further
refute the mistaken predictions of adaptation theory, and he
expressed to me his sincere interest and appreciation.
essentially asked him to consider that since the average level
of happiness here in the USA is about 70 percent, the average
level for prisoners incarcerated for over ten years may range
between 60 and 70 percent, or lower, while the average level for
long-term incarcerated parolees free for over ten years may
range between 70 and 80 percent, or higher. If there turns out
to be a substantial enough average difference between prisoners
who have been incarcerated for over ten years, and similarly
incarcerated parolees who have been free for over ten
years, that finding would demonstrate that long-term happiness
is not static as adaptation level theory predicts. To my
delight, Dr. Headey wrote back to say that my proposal seemed
like a terrific idea.
David Lykken is a
researcher who in 1996
published results leading many people to mistakenly conclude that
because one's happiness level is at least 50 percent genetically
dependant, attempting to become happier was a futile pursuit. Dr. Lykken
(his name means happiness in his native Norway) was dismayed
with the misinterpretation of his results, and in 1999 he
published a book titled Happiness that presents
principles and techniques for becoming happier.