Sustainable Happiness (Paperback)

Live Simply, Live Well, Make a Difference

By Sarah Van Gelder (Editor), The staff of YES! Magazine (Editor)

Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 9781626563292, 168pp.

Publication Date: January 1, 2015

List Price: 16.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


We’re bombarded by messages telling us that bigger and better things are the keys to happiness—but after we pile up the stuff and pile on the work hours, we end up exhausted and broke on a planet full of trash. Sarah van Gelder and her colleagues at YES! Magazine have been exploring the meaning of real happiness for eighteen years. Here they offer fascinating research, in-depth essays, and compelling personal stories by visionaries such as Annie Leonard, Matthieu Ricard, and Vandana Shiva, showing us that real well-being is found in supportive relationships and thriving communities, opportunities to make a contribution, and the renewal we receive from a thriving natural world. In the pages of this book, you’ll find creative and practical ways to cultivate a happiness that is nurturing, enduring, and life affirming.

About the Author

Sarah van Gelder is the cofounder and editor in chief of YES! Magazine and, both dedicated to building a more just, sustainable, and compassionate world. Sarah frequently speaks and is interviewed on radio and television on leading-edge innovations that show that not only is another world possible, it is being created.

Praise For Sustainable Happiness: Live Simply, Live Well, Make a Difference

The staff at Yes! magazine, and its cofounder van Gelder take issue with the belief that more stuff equals greater happiness and here propose a model that nurtures community, a sense of gratitude, and the environment. After making their case, the authors present ways of promoting well-being that include sharing expensive tools, taking a break from technology, and being a good neighbor. They also focus on improving oneself with such behaviors as being mindful of the present, kicking addictions, spending time with loved ones, and simply saying "hello" to people normally taken for granted. VERDICT Akin to Conari Press's Random Acts of Kindness, this work offers more depth as to why the gentler, simple way is better for everyone.
(Library Journal Booksmack!)

“I love this beautiful compilation of voices reminding us that happiness isn’t something we ‘find.’ It’s what we become as we align our lives with a thriving community and life-giving earth.”
—Frances Moore Lappé, cofounder of the Small Planet Institute and author of eighteen books

“What makes Sustainable Happiness such an important collection is the book’s practicality. It helps readers understand ways they can make things better for themselves and their communities starting this very minute.”
—David Brancaccio, Host, American Public Media’s Marketplace Morning Report, and Co–Executive Producer, Fixing the Future

“Somehow a working planet, a thriving society, and a satisfying personal life are hitched together—and this fine volume offers some powerful clues on the search for those connections!”
—Bill McKibben, cofounder of and author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

“I read this book with both sadness and gladness. Sadness to realize how far astray global culture has led us from the true sources of happiness, and gladness that there are so many wise and practical voices gathered in one book to guide us back to lives of real fulfillment.”
—Margaret J. Wheatley, author of Leadership and the New Science

“A thoroughly enjoyable and thought-provoking collection of ideas. The vital ingredients have been captured and articulated soulfully—beginning from the ‘ground’ (the right view to find happiness) to the ‘path’ (the right actions to find happiness) so that you may get the ‘fruit’ (the result: happiness). Recommended reading for everyone.”
—Karma Tshiteem, Secretary, Gross National Happiness Commission of Bhutan

“These stories of enjoyable forms of supportive local cooperation stimulated by wider individual frames of reference make concrete what ‘sustainable happiness’ means. Try it. It’s easier than you may think.”
—Ralph Nader, author and public interest advocate

“Everyone’s life is a balancing act in the often-difficult world. This enlightening anthology offers a trove of helpful reflection on what it really means to have and to be, reminding us that joy is there to be found.”
—Mollie Katzen, chef and author of the Moosewood Cookbook

Sustainable Happiness is a fine selection of thoughtful articles. You’ll come away with a deeper understanding of how we can improve the quality of all of our lives while passing on a verdant planet to our descendants. I heartily recommend this book!”
—John de Graaf, author and cofounder of the Happiness Alliance

“The Sustainable Happiness volume delivers inspiration for your personal journey of joy and well-being as you navigate ‘the pursuit of happiness’ in a deeply troubled world. Read this book for the wisdom it contains. It will nourish your soul.”
—Parker J. Palmer, educator and author of Let Your Life Speak and A Hidden Wholeness

“Finally, a book on ‘the pursuit of happiness’ that is not self-referential and small minded! Instead, it is honest, challenging, and invitational to a larger world beyond the small self. What a magnificent collection of writers and ideas!”
—Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation

“What the happiness movement needs now is actionable examples pointing the way for our future that are rooted in the ‘us,’ not just the ‘me.’ Sustainable Happiness is the first book to answer that call.”
—Laura Musikanski, author and Executive Director, Happiness Alliance

Sustainable Happiness offers a gentle tap on the shoulder; an invitation to return to our deeper humanity, to a place that isn't so bogged down in daily chores, minute-to-minute texts, and a brain full of clutter. I loved it!
—Dee Williams, author and tiny house builder (cofounder of Portland Alternative Dwellings)

“In Sustainable Happiness, YES! has offered us a rich buffet of facts that surprise, ideas that inspire, stories that touch our hearts, and much food for thought. And really, who doesn’t want to be happy?”
—Lama Tsomo, author of the forthcoming book Why Is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling?

“The wealth of Sustainable Happiness grows out of the wisdom that has guided the beautiful growth of YES! initiatives—invariably, a celebration of ordinary people setting daily examples of courageous commoning, step-by-step, with infinite patience yet a necessary sense of urgency.”
—Madhu Suri Prakash, writer and educator

Sustainable Happiness blazes a trail into the brave new world of transforming extremely materialistic development models into ones that create true prosperity and happiness and of changing consciousness. A great book!”
—John Perkins, bestselling author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

“Modern society is a network of lures intended to create emotional dependencies: seduce and reduce ‘humans’’ to ‘consumers.’ Dig into Sustainable Happiness. Join the revolution of perception. Your happiness depends on it.”
—Makana, musician, composer, and activist