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We tend to think of happiness as something that comes and goes. (Got a new puppy? Off the charts. Rough day at work? Not so much.) But more and more, we’re realizing it’s something that can be cultivated, and lucky for us, plenty of writers have delved deep into the subject to find out what exactly makes us happy. These titles won’t turn you into an optimist overnight, but we bet they'll have you feeling a little sunnier by the last page.

RELATED: 8 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in November

The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Cover: Avery/Background: ivanastar/getty images

The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Who better to advise on the subject of joy than two spiritual leaders (and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates) who have dedicated their lives to doing good? Written over a week spent together for the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday, the two old friends—who both experienced significant hardship, for the record—share their wisdom about what it means build a happier world, starting with ourselves.

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Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
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Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

You already know the TV hitmaker is brilliant (we’re counting the days until her new Netflix series come out), but this memoir gives a glimpse into her personal life—insecurities, panic attacks and all—and how it changed after she spent a year saying yes to everything that scared her.

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The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
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The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

Weiner, a longtime NPR foreign correspondent and self-described “grump,” spent a year traveling in search of the world’s happiest places. His findings reveal some interesting truths—for one, that money isn’t as important as you think—and will make you want to jump on a plane, stat.

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Gmorning  Gnight  by Lin Manuel Miranda
Cover: Random House/Background: ivanastar/getty images

Gmorning, Gnight! by Lin-Manuel Miranda

For years, Hamilton creator and model human Lin-Manuel Miranda has bookended his daily tweets with sweet, poetic affirmations that read like a note from an old friend. Now he’s compiled them into one big collection (with charming illustrations by fellow Twitter sensation Jonny Sun) that promises to soothe our souls before or after a tough day.

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The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Cover: Harper/Background: ivanastar/getty images

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Rubin is something of a happiness expert: She hosts a podcast about it and created a personality test that helps us understand our roadblocks to achieving it. Her first book on the subject chronicles a year acting as her own guinea pig, putting various practices—both science-backed and anecdotal—to the test. (The one-minute rule is a game-changer.)

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RELATED: 9 Real Women on the Book That Changed Their Life

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