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The well-being canon

Following the success of our Life Canon project, which looked at the 10 essential books for flourishing in the modern world, we will be producing a series of Canon lists examining the best books in specific topic areas - from history to philosophy. The first one in this series is the well-being canon - 10 essential books to help you develop your well-being.

As before, the list is not meant to be a presentation of the great cultural works of our time, but a set of accessible and interesting books that provide perspective, ideas and inspiration.

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The well-being canon

1. Man's Search For Meaning: The classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust - Viktor Frankl
A highly influential book in which Frankl explores his imprisonment in Auschwitz and other concentration camps, and his attempts during this time to find reasons to live.

2. Flourish: A New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being - and How To Achieve Them - Martin Seligman
One of the world's foremost academic psychologists and founder of the Positive Psychology movement offers a new theory on what makes people flourish and how to truly get the most out of life.

3. The Happiness Hypothesis: Putting Ancient Wisdom to the Test of Modern Science - Jonathan Haidt
A "self-help" book for people who don't read self-help books, with much more evidence, weight and credibility than you might have expected from this type of publication.

4. Resilience: How your inner strength can set you free from the past - Boris Cyrulnik
A book arguing that suffering can be the making of somebody rather than their destruction.

5. Nature and Selected Essays (Penguin Classics) - Ralph Waldo Emerson
In his writing Emerson discussed a range of topics relating to well-being, and this book pulls together a selection of his essays.

6. Walden: Or, Life in the Woods (Dover Thrift) – Henry David Thoreau
The classic and inspiring story of one man's escape from the encroachment of industrialisation to a cabin in the woods by a pond.

7. Penguin's Poems for Life (Penguin Classics)
This anthology brings together the best-loved poems in English to inspire, comfort and please readers. It contains a poem for most moments in life.

8. Waterlog: A Swimmer's Journey Through Britain - Roger Deakin
Deakin's account of his swim across Britain, which is a personal and informative exploration of nature and the environment.

9. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey
A highly influential book showing how we can change the way we look at ourselves and the world around us in order to live more fulfilling lives.

10. Well-Being: The Five Essential Elements - Tom Rath and Jim Harter
This book provides a research-based approach to improving well-being in all aspects of your life.

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