For those wanting to learn more about well-being research, here are some good starting points: books and articles that give an overview of the field, or some part of it. For the most part, readings focus on psychology and philosophy, as these fields have substantial and well-defined bodies of literature covering many aspects of the subject. We have also included titles from behavioral economics and other fields about irrationality and other sources of mistakes, which are central concerns for well-being research.

Note that this is just a small sampling of the literature; there are many other excellent sources. Most are written for academic audiences, but some are very accessible. All articles can be downloaded for free.


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The Oxford Handbook of Happiness

Edited by Ilona Boniwell, Susan A. David, and Amanda Conley Ayers


Handbook of Well-Being

Edited by Ed Diener, Shigehiro Oishi, and Louis Tay

Open access

Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies


The Morality of Happiness

Julia Annas

A definitive work on Ancient Greek views of eudaimonia


Ben Bradley

Happiness: Classic and Contemporary Readings in Philosophy

Edited by Steven M. Cahn and Christine Vitrano

Happiness: A History

Darrin M. McMahon


Theories of Happiness: An Anthology

Edited by Jennifer Wilson Mulnix and M.J. Mulnix


Happy Lives, Good Lives: A Philosophical Examination

Jennifer Wilson Mulnix and M.J. Mulnix

An introductory textbook on the philosophy of happiness

Positive Psychology

The Science of Subjective Well-Being

Edited by Michael Eid and Randy J. Larsen

Well-Being: Foundations of Hedonic Psychology

Edited by Daniel Kahneman, Ed Diener, and Norbert Schwarz

The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology (2 ed.)

Edited by Shane J. Lopez and C.R. Snyder

Handbook of Eudaimonic Well-Being

Edited by Joar Vittersø

Behavioral Economics

Stumbling on Happiness

Daniel Gilbert

A guide to mistakes in predicting what will make us happy

The Pursuit of Unhappiness: The Elusive Psychology of Well-Being

Daniel M. Haybron

A philosophical exploration of happiness and well-being that includes a broad survey of the literature on irrationality and other mistakes

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman

A guide to the automatic psychological processes that explain many mistakes

Well-Being Policy

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The Oxford Handbook of Well-Being and Public Policy

Edited by Matthew D. Adler and Marc Fleurbaey

Well-Being for Public Policy

Ed Diener, Richard Lucas, Ulrich Schimmack, and John Helliwell

Practical Advice

There are too many excellent books grounded in the science for us to list here, but below you will find a selection of titles by our advisory board members and grant winners.