A lot of the literature on happiness and how to get there is very scientific and kind of dry. However, there is a good option for everyone who is interested in getting in touch with the science of happiness in a more entertaining and pleasant way: books by the French author François Lelord. His first novel, “Le voyage d'Hector ou la recherche du Bonheur” ("Hector's Voyage or the Search for Happiness") is about a psychiatrist who travels around the world, looking for what can make people happy.
There is a review of the book in The Independent.
The conclusions he comes to are pretty much consistent with what researchers have found out about happiness:
1. Making comparisons is a good means of spoiling one’s happiness.
2. Happiness often comes as a surprise.
3. Many people see their happiness only in their future.
4. Many people conceive of happiness to mean being richer or more powerful.
5. Sometimes happiness means not grasping something.
6. Happiness is hiking between beautiful unknown mountains.
7. It is a mistake to believe that happiness is the goal.
8. Happiness means being with the ones you love.
9. Happiness means the family is not lacking of anything.
10. Happiness means having an occupation one loves.
11. Happiness means having a house and a garden.
12. Achieving happiness is more difficult in a country that is governed by bad people.
13. Happiness means feeling that one is useful to others.
14. Happiness means being loved for what one is like.
15. Happiness means feeling truly alive.
16. Happiness means celebrating
17. Happiness means thinking of the happiness of those one loves.
18. Happiness would be being able to love several women.
19. The sun and the sea make everybody happy.
20. Happiness is a way of looking at things.
21. Rivalry is poisonous for happiness.
22. Women are more concerned with other people’s happiness than men.
23. Does happiness mean to care more for the others‘ happiness?