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4 Books That Will Make You Happy And Successful

3 minute read
Barker is the author of Barking Up The Wrong Tree

What is the good life?

That’s the primary question I’m trying to answer with this blog.

Shortcuts and lifehacks are great. Surprising trivia is nice. But how can we really live great lives? I don’t have time for much less.

And I don’t like corny fluff. I want answers backed by research, expertise or deep insight.

Here are four books that really helped me. And I think they’ll help you too.


Find Direction In Life

What is it?

Clayton Christensen’s How Will You Measure Your Life?

What did I learn from it?

Harvard professor Clayton Christensen combines personal experience and MBA principles to provide a path for good life choices.

Confused about a rational but ethical way to find your life’s purpose? What your five year goals are? This is the book for you.


(Short on time? Just watch from 7:50-11:34 mins.)

Check it out here.


Be Happier

What is it?

Sonja Lyubomirsky’s The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want.

What did I learn from it?

5 hugs a day makes you a happier person. We often pick the easy, lazy choice but it’s the challenges in life that bring joy.

These and many other great insights you can use every day to increase your smile-to-frown ratio.


This one is a very thorough overview of happiness research. Settle in to cover all the big points. Need a quicker version? Read this.

Check it out here.


Be A Good Person Who Succeeds

What is it?

Wharton professor Adam Grant‘s Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success.

What did I learn from it?

People who give to others often get exploited and end up at the bottom of the heap. Not surprising.

But givers also come out at the top of the heap: happier, more successful and loved.

Adam Grant’s well-researched book provides a strategy for being the latter: a good person who succeeds due to their kindness.


(Short on time? Watch from 42 seconds in to 4:02.)

Check it out here.


Have A Happy Family

What is it?

Bruce Feiler’s The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More

What did I learn from it?

Feiler does an excellent job of rounding up the latest research on what makes loving families thrive.

He gives surprising insights (kids should decide their own punishments), supports things we know in our hearts (grandmothers make a huge difference) and provides strategies you never would have thought of (the project management system used at the office can also help at home.)


(Short on time? Watch from 5:38 to 8:28.)

Check it out here.


Sum Up

Again, they are:

  • How Will You Measure Your Life?
  • The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want
  • Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success
  • The Secrets of Happy Families
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    This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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