The New World Book of Happiness (EN)



The New World Book of Happiness

The virus, the war, climate change, inflation, poverty, and loneliness are disrupting lives. In these turbulent times, people are more determined than ever to focus on what really matters in life: happiness, hope, and love.

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Leo Bormans: World Book of Happiness


The New World Book of Happiness is a fascinating compilation of brief essays by 100 of the world’s foremost experts in positive psychology from 50 different countries. Drawing on their respective expertise, the contributors present the basics of happiness and how to achieve it, in a readable, enjoyable form. They share their research, their ‘insight’ and ‘the essence of happiness and well-being’ as well as actionable advice for leading happier and more fulfilling lives as individuals, and members of society.

In 2010, Leo Bormans published his first book, The World Book of Happiness, which became an international bestseller. Fifteen years ago he started research and now returns to the topic, inviting 100 world-leading experts in positive psychology from five continents to share their core insights on happiness, well-being, and quality of life for The New World Book of Happiness – The Essence.

Each of them has 1000 words to capture ‘the essence’ of happiness and to provide up to 6 actionable steps to improve our lives on both the individual and social levels. This challenging task prompts us to expand our intercultural knowledge and turn ‘reflection’ into ‘action’. What have we learned and how can we move forward? New priorities for a drastic shift.

The award-winning participants of this worldwide project have produced over 10,000 academic papers, sold over 25,000,000 popular books, and generated over 200,000,000 inspiring views on Ted X. Now, brought together in one volume, we can relish all of this wisdom and knowledge, including the essence of how five world religions view happiness.

With special contributions from the world-renowned experts Richard Easterlin, Martin Seligman, Richard Layard, Barbara Fredrickson, Ruut Veenhoven, Meike Bartels, James Pawelski, Joe Sirgy, Richard Ryan, Marc Schulz, Robert Waldinger, Louise Lambert, Robert Biswas-Diener, and 90 other experts from over 50 countries.

Former European President Herman Van Rompuy sent copies of the first edition of The World Book of Happiness (2010) to all 200 world leaders of the day with the goal of putting happiness and well-being on the international political agenda. We are honoured that he shares a special message to the world in his contribution to The New World Book of Happiness.

Nobel Prize winner and former Chair of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, and Leo Bormans met and together addressed 800 students from all over the world. Mr Anan wrote the encouraging chapter to The World Book of Hope (2015).


Leo Bormans, living in Belgium, is a researcher and editor-in-chief of The World Book of Happiness (first published in 2010), The World Book of Love and The World Book of Hope. He is a Distinguished Lecturer in Happiness Economics Research at Erasmus University in Rotterdam (the Netherlands). In co-operation with the Leuven University (Belgium), he conducted extensive academic research measuring the effects of positive interventions in the everyday lives of over 7,000 people.

He is a highly appreciated keynote speaker at numerous conferences and carried out his research into happiness, well-being and quality of life in all parts of the world including the Kingdom of Bhutan (founding fathers of Gross National Happiness and The International Day of Happiness) and the Masai people in the Serengeti (Tanzania). He is an Ambassador for the international NGO Trias (‘Turning dreams into opportunities’ for people in Latin America, Asia and Africa).

Leo Bormans is the author of the highly appreciated novel Qadir’s Last Marbles about the life of an Afghan refugee he happened to meet when a refugee camp opened in his village. Afghanistan is the lowest-ranking nation in the World Happiness Report. It is the ‘unhappiest’ country in the world. Leo Bormans and Qadir Nadery are keynote speakers at the 21st Annual International Conference of Quality of Life Studies in Rotterdam, in August 2023.


‘Het New World Book of Happiness staat symbool voor de enorme vooruitgang die de afgelopen decennia is geboekt in de wetenschappelijke studie naar geluk. Ik ben blij eraan mee te mogen werken omdat het een aantal van de belangrijkste bevindingen op dit gebied voor het grote publiek toegankelijk maakt. Ik hoop van harte dat het voor veel lezers zal bijdragen aan een beter leven.’

Richard Easterlin
grondlegger van het geluksonderzoek in de economie, en is vooral bekend van de economische theorie die naar hem genoemd is: de Easterlin-paradox.


‘Our work on happiness is now at an inflexion point and this volume will help make this inflexion even more beneficial for research and practice.’

Professor Martin Seligman
founding father of positive psychology, USA


‘The New World Book of Happiness is a great and timely idea. For all of us, there is a huge task ahead: to get well-being into the centre of every debate and every decision.’

Professor Sir Richard Layard


Each of the 100 contributions has the same structure. First, the expert explains the most important ‘insight’ he or she has gained in the past few years and summarises ‘the essence’ of happiness in one sentence. He or she explains his or her view in 1000 words, concluding with six actionable pieces of advice: two for individuals, two for the peer group, and two for policymakers and society.


EXTRA: Happiness & Religion. The view on happiness among five most eminent world religions, as explained by experts in the field: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism.


The printed version of the book will contain a selection of 100 contributions from 50 countries. More will be included in the e-book and some contributions will appear in the free and regularly updated part of the website: HAPPINESS UPDATE.


August 22, 2023: Preview at the 21st Annual Conference of the International Society for Quality of Life Studies – Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Leo Bormans and his friend, the Afghan refugee Qadir Nadery (from Qadir’s Last Marbles) will give a keynote. (details follow)

October 24, 2023: Release Conference – KUL University, Leuven, Belgium (details follow)

October 26, 2023: Release Conference – Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Netherlands (details follow)


27-06-23 Invited guests at the ISQOLS conference in Rotterdam (NL) in August 2023

Qadir Nadery is an Afghan refugee, who arrived with his family in Belgium in 2015, on the run from the Taliban. In the Belgian village where he ended up in a refugee camp, he happened to meet Leo Bormans, editor-in-chief of ‘The New World Book of Happiness’. They became friends and co-authored the eye-opening novel ‘Qadir’s Last Marbles’, based on Qadir’s life story. Afghanistan has the lowest ranking in the happiness index of the World Happiness Report, published annually by the United Nations. They both are invited keynote speakers at the 21st International Conference of ISQOLS (International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies), this year August 21-25 in Rotterdam (the Netherlands).


23-06-23 Welcome Richard Easterlin

Richard Easterlin (°1926) has celebrated his 97th birthday. He is the founding father of Happiness Research in Economics, best known for the economic theory named after him: The Easterlin Paradox. He is glad to share his knowledge and wisdom in The New World Book of Happiness.

He writes: ‘ The New World Book of Happiness is symbolic of the enormous progress in recent decades made in the scientific study of happiness. I am happy to take part in it because it brings to the public a number of the leading findings in the field. I hope very much that it will contribute to better lives for many of its readers.’


20-06-23 The most popular TED X talk in 1 sentence

Robert Waldinger and Marc Schultz join The New World Book of Happiness. They are the directors of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, the longest scientific study of happiness ever conducted and authors of the New York Times bestseller The Good Life based on this study. Dr Waldinger’s TED talk has been viewed more than 42 million times and is one of the ten most-watched TED talks ever. For The New World Book of Happiness, in 1 sentence and 1000 words, they summarise ‘the essence’ of their ongoing research, following multiple generations of families for the past 70 years.


The printed version of the book will contain a selection of 100 contributions from 50 countries. More will be included in the e-book and some contributions will appear in this free and regularly updated part of the website: EXTRA UPDATES.

(coming soon)


In this section, Leo Bormans, editor-in-chief of The New World Book of Happiness will regularly upload a blog post sharing his view on happiness in the small and big world surrounding us. (coming soon)


For more information contact Lannoo at

For more information on the content or inquiries for lectures or keynotes, please contact Leo Bormans,

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