If you were on a deserted island and could only have 3 books on happiness, which ones would you choose?
In this weeks Facebook Live broadcast, I chose 3 very different books which span the range from neuroscience to self-reflection and creativity, to advice for hard times. It’s good to have a variety of perspectives on happiness.
Especially if I was alone on an island…
Altered Traits: the latest research on meditation
My first book, Altered Traits∗ by Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson is about the latest scientific research on meditation and how it affects your brain.
It starts with a brief history of Daniel and Richie’s early work in contemplative science, a relatively new area of neuroscience. Richie was a pioneer in this field and it’s interesting to hear how he began his work by studying Buddhist monks.
But more important for a deserted-island book is the research on happiness. More and more science is supporting that meditation has a definite effect on the brain.
In the chapter “Primed for Love,” Daniel and Richie discuss how loving-kindness/compassion meditation practices activate the circuits in the brain that prime people not just for empathizing with someone else, but also for taking action to relieve their suffering.
So if you want to become kinder (one of the attributes of happiness), there are practices that can help you.
Good news for the birds and fish on your deserted island!
The Artist Way: a course for recovering your creative self
The Artist’s Way∗ by Julia Cameron is a classic book about discovering your creative self.
Julia believes that all people are creative but sometimes, that creativity gets stuck. You forget how innately creative you are or believe that creativity is for someone else.
This book is the antidote. It’s a course in self-reflection which helps uncover and reveal parts of your self you have forgotten.
But what does creativity have to do with happiness?
I can’t imagine one without the other.
Creativity is more than just making art or music. Creativity is an expression of beauty and curiosity and life force.
We are all creative beings just by living.
This book is a step-by-step course in discovering (or re-discovering) this quality. When you do the exercises, you consider your relationship with creativity in new ways.
On a deserted island, this book would remind you that there is more to life than survival mode–when you gather your coconuts, you’d remember to do it with pizzazz.
When Things Fall Apart: advice for the hard times
When Things Fall Apart∗ by Pema Chodron is the final one of my three books on happiness–but this one is about what to do when you’re not happy.
You don’t have to be stranded on a deserted island to know that sometimes, life is hard.
Illness, loss, financial issues, stress…
Life will always bring challenges that make you feel like you’re at your limit.
This book contains gentle advice for facing those times. Pema reminds you that hard times are normal and that by being present with them, by allowing them to be as they are, you can get through them.
I love opening this book to random pages and reading whatever I find. Pema’s advice is wise and kind. Her perspective is always helpful.
What books on happiness would you take with you to survive the doldrums of a deserted island?
Comment on Facebook about your must-have list.
∗This post contains affiliate links. If you click on them and buy from Amazon, I will receive a small commission. This will not affect the price you pay.