Oprah's Latest Book Is All About Getting Happier

According to her latest book, happiness isn't the end goal, the journey to "happier-ness" is.

Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money off these affiliate links. Learn more.
December 04, 2023

Related To:

Photo by: Harpo, Inc./Huy Doan

Harpo, Inc./Huy Doan

We've all read plenty of self-help books on how to get happy, but what if happiness isn't the most realistic or best goal? In Oprah Winfrey's latest book co-authored with Harvard professor Arthur C. Brooks, Build the Life You Want, happiness isn't the objective — the journey to feeling happier is.

In Build the Life You Want, the journey to "happier-ness," as Oprah and Brooks refer to it, can be broken down into four components: family, friendship, meaningful work and faith. But the first step to finding it is recognizing our own emotions. "To know what happiness feels like, it means you have also endured other emotions to understand the difference," says Oprah.

The very first section of Build the Life You Want is dedicated to understanding what happiness is and what it is not, learning to appreciate all emotions (positive and negative) and understanding how to manage reactions to our emotions. This sets the foundation for the rest of the book, which offers practical and simple advice on how to find a happier way of being — something we could all use more of.

Not sure where to start? Brooks has a few simple happiness habits we could all incorporate into our lives as a starting point. "I have four happiness habits that I follow each day: I practice my faith, I spend time with my family, I talk to at least one real friend and I try to serve somebody who needs me with my work," he says.

For a deeper dive into the book's lessons, tune in to Super Soul Companion Podcasts where Oprah talks with Brooks about the book and tackles reader questions about happiness.

We also talked to Oprah and Brooks about their experiences writing this book and here were some of our top takeaways.

Oprah: I had always felt that some of the principles [Brooks] speaks about in terms of being happier are ways in which I’ve led my life, but knowing now the science and research behind why they make you happier has been so fulfilling. I felt that keeping up with my gratitude journals made me happier, and now I know why. So my hope is that others can hear the research from Arthur, who teaches Happiness at Harvard, and apply it to their daily lives with a more intentional approach in self-care and well-being. 

Brooks: The biggest single error we make about happiness is thinking that it is a destination. But it isn’t — you can’t be completely happy (this side of Heaven, at least). ... The right attitude starts with the realization that happiness is a direction, not a destination, and the goal isn’t happiness, it’s “happier-ness.”

Oprah: Everyone has the choice and opportunity to be happier. And it’s not a destination. “Happier-ness” as we call it, is an active process. Everyone will experience challenges and setbacks in their life, some far more devastating than others, and that is also part of the process.

Next Up

The Best Gifts From Oprah's Favorite Things 2023

It's that time of year again when Oprah reveals her Favorite Things, including gifts for foodies, travelers, kids and more.

Oprah's Next Book Club Pick Is at the Top of Our Summer Reading List

Get the scoop on the new novel that just earned Oprah's stamp of approval.

25 Essential Cleaning Products HGTV Editors Swear By

Make tackling messes a little easier with our favorite tried-and-true cleaning tools.

The Best Products on Amazon to Organize Your Garage, Shed and Basement

We rounded up the best organizers to tackle the worst parts of the home to clean.

20 Wedding Favors You Can Buy in Bulk on Amazon

Take a little stress out of wedding planning, and shop our top picks for creative, budget-friendly favor ideas you can buy in bulk online.

12 Fun Portable Barware Finds for Celebrations On the Go

Bring the bar wherever you are, from picnics to vacations, with our favorite portable beer, wine and cocktail tools.

The Best Gas Grills for Every Budget

Grilling season is coming in hot! Find out which gas grill is the best fit for your space, and discover important details to look for before buying.

The Best Zero-Waste Gifts for Any Occasion

Help everyone in your life reduce their plastic consumption and trash creation with these thoughtful zero-waste gift ideas at every price point.

15 Beautiful Blanket Ladders We Love Right Now

Because blankets are cozier (and cleaner) when you choose not to leave them in a pile on the floor.

The Best Blankets, Reviewed by HGTV Editors

These are the blankets we curl up with at the end of the day.

Go Shopping

Refresh your home with stylish products handpicked by HGTV editors.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.