One of my favorite all-time topics as a reader is happiness. There are a lot of books out there that tickle around the edges of the subject like the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and the much bally-hoed pundits and mentors and gurus who discuss, in a sort of Chautauqua-style, financial fitness, health and wellness, spiritual well being, etc. But what I’m after is pure happiness-reading, ergo “that state of mind in which one feels contentment, satisfaction, pleasure, joy.” There are some amazing books and articles on the subject, all of which are exciting to read, and full of mind-blowing facts and paradigm-shifting misperceptions. Here’re a few:
The famous psychologist/sociologist/anthropologist (don’t you love people who defy definition), Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced Me High, Chicks Send Me High) whose seminal work, “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience,” shows that people are happiest when they are completely and totally absorbed in an activity for its own sake, like children at play. In a Wired magazine interview he describes this flow or happiness state as: “The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost.” He goes on to write about how shepherds in the Italian Alps have some of the highest scores ever recorded on the happiness meter!