Books

40 Authors On How To Be Happy

Unless you're an animated sunshine or a clown, it's difficult to maintain a constant state of happiness. As the weather gets progressively worse and the world appears to be imploding, we have some rather well-timed advice from 40 classic authors on how to be happy or how to avoid unhappiness.

If you're smiling by the end of this then you're welcome...

(Images: Rex Features)

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy

    Mark Twain

    “Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.” 

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 1

    Leo Tolstoy

    "Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story"

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 2

    Ayn Rand

    “Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness.” 

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 3

    Chuck Palahniuk

    “The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.” 

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 4

    Charlotte Brontë

    "Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste"

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 5

    Hunter S Thompson

    "I don't see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.” 

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 6

    Oscar Wilde

    “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” 

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 7

    Haruki Murakami

    “But who can say what's best? That's why you need to grab whatever chance you have of happiness where you find it, and not worry about other people too much. My experience tells me that we get no more than two or three such chances in a life time, and if we let them go, we regret it for the rest of our lives.” 

    from Norwegian Wood

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 8

    Ernest Hemingway

    “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” 

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 9

    Kurt Vonnegut

    “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.” 

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 10

    Robert Louis Stevenson

    “There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.” 

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 11

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    “ If you can love me for what I am, we shall be the happier.”

    from Self-Reliance

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 12

    Fyodor Dostoevsky

    “Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn't calculate his happiness.” 

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 13

    Sylvia Plath

    “I have the choice of being constantly active and happy or introspectively passive and sad. Or I can go mad by ricocheting in between.” 

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 14

    Jane Austen

    “I must learn to be content with being happier than I deserve.” 

    from Pride and Prejudice

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 15

    Douglas Adams

    “I'd far rather be happy than right any day.” 

    from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 16

    Gillian Flynn

    “The face you give the world tells the world how to treat you.” 

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 17

    Charles Dickens

    “Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes.”

    from Nicholas Nickleby

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  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 18

    Victor Hugo

    "The supreme happiness of life consists in the conviction that one is loved; loved for one's own sake -- let us say rather, loved in spite of one's self."

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 19

    Stephen King

    "Happiness should remain unexamined for as long as possible"

    from The Tommyknockers

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 20

    Margaret Atwood

    "Happiness is a garden walled with glass: there's no way in or out"

    from The Blind Assassin

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 21

    Jack Kerouac

    “Happiness consists in realising it is all a great strange dream”

    from The Lonesome Traveller

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 22

    Aldous Huxley

    “Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn't nearly so spectacular as instability."

    from Brave New World

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 23

    Virginia Woolf

    “Nothing thicker than a knife's blade separates happiness from melancholy.” 

    from Orlando
     

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 24

    Paolo Coelho

    "If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man."

    from The Alchemist

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 25

    Edith Wharton

    "If you make up your mind not to be happy there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a fairly good time.”

    from The Last Asset

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 26

    Maya Angelou

    "If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love."
     

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 27

    Alexandre Dumas

    “I am not proud, but I am happy; and happiness blinds, I think, more than pride.” 

    from The Count of Monte Cristo

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 28

    Roald Dahl

    “If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” 
  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 29

    George Orwell

    “The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.” 

    from 1984

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 30

    Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

    "No medicine cures what happiness cannot"

    from Of Love and Other Demons

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 31

    Vladimir Nabokov

    “And yet I am happy. Yes, happy. I swear. I swear that I am happy...What does it matter that I am a bit cheap, a bit foul, and that no one appreciates all the remarkable things about me—my fantasy, my erudition, my literary gift…I am happy that I can gaze at myself, for any man is absorbing—yes, really absorbing! ... I am happy—yes, happy!”

    from The Eye

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 32

    Dennis Lehane

    “Happiness doesn't lie in conspicuous consumption and the relentless amassing of useless crap. Happiness lies in the person sitting beside you and your ability to talk to them. Happiness is clear-headed human interaction and empathy. Happiness is home. 

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 33

    Alice Walker

    "Don't wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you've got to make yourself."

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 34

    Thomas Hardy

    “Happiness is but a mere episode in the general drama of pain.” 

    from The Mayor of Casterbridge

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 35

    Evelyn Waugh

    “I should like to bury something precious in every place where I've been happy and then, when I'm old and ugly and miserable, I could come back and dig it up and remember.” 

    from Brideshead Revisited

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 36

    J.M. Barrie

    “The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does.” 

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 37

    Nick Hornby

    “Maybe we all live life at too high a pitch, those of us who absorb emotional things all day, and as mere consequence we can never feel merely content: we have to be unhappy, or ecstatically, head-over-heels happy, and those states are difficult to achieve within a stable, solid relationship.” 

    from High Fidelity

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 38

    Edgar Allan Poe

    “It is a happiness to wonder; -- it is a happiness to dream.” 

    from Morella

  • 40 Authors On How To Be Happy 39

    Cormac McCarthy

    "I think by the time you're grown you're as happy as you're goin to be. You'll have good times and bad times, but in the end you'll be about as happy as you was before. Or as unhappy. I've knowed people that just never did get the hang of it."

    from No Country for Old Men

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