This is the fourth post in a summer series I’m calling “What Are You Reading? Wednesdays.” Every Wednesday in August, you’ll find a short review of thought-provoking books, articles, speeches and films about generosity, money, philanthropy and more. Enjoy!


Heart in Hands“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it! Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

What do George Lucas, Richard Gere and the Dalai Lama have in common?

They are all featured in an inspiring documentary I just watched called Project Happiness, produced by a Palo Alto-based nonprofit of the same name.

Project Happiness – the organization – empowers children, families and communities to create happier, more meaningful lives. CEO and “Chief Happiness Officer” Randy Taran founded the organization after her teenage daughter came to her with a serious concern: she was stressed out. Unhappy. And despite her best efforts to get happy, she didn’t know how to do it.

Taran, unsure about how to help her daughter, went on a mission to find out what creates happiness–not just fleeting, instant-gratification happy, but the real and lasting stuff. After extensive research, Taran started a movement giving young people the tools they need to first find happiness in their lives, and then to share that happiness with the world.

At the heart of Project Happiness is a simple message: through mindfulness and by focusing on one’s strengths and the power of positive thinking, we all can be happy. Beyond personal happiness, the organization has created programs called Social and Emotional Learning that has helped teens deal with problems such as absenteeism, bullying, teen stress and suicide. Project Happiness programs are now in thousands of schools in 48 states and 52 countries.

Check out the trailer here:

The organization also published the Project Happiness Handbook, a workbook-style book for students, parents, teachers–anyone, really, who wants to explore his or her own happiness.

And I think that just about covers all of us.

What tools do you use to get and stay happy? Keep me in the loop by sending comments. I promise to share the good ones.

Until next time… Happy Labor Day weekend!