I don’t usually do book reviews on their own, but “Joyful” by Ingrid Fetell Lee stands out among books (kind of like “You Are A Badass”) to me. My friend Casey gifted it to me for Christmas with a note that simply said “This has Kait Hanson written all over it.” A smile spread across my face a mile wide and I couldn’t wait to dig it. The front of the book reads “The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness”. I used it as a morning mindfulness and meditation read during the month of January and it has become a nightstand book — one that remains on my nightstand for easy reference for years to come. Today I’m sharing a full review and some of my favorite tidbits from “Joyful” by Ingrid Fetell Lee. If you’ve been considering the book or are simply looking to add a little bit of joy to your life, today’s post is for you.
Book Review: “Joyful” by Ingrid Fetell Lee
Joyful’s description reads: “Designer and TED star Ingrid Fetell Lee presents groundbreaking research to explain how making small changes to your surroundings can create extraordinary happiness in your life. Have you ever wondered why we stop to watch the orange glow that arrives before sunset, or why we flock to see cherry blossoms bloom in spring? Is there a reason that people — regardless of gender, age, culture, or ethnicity — are mesmerized by baby animals, and can’t help but smile when they see a burst of confetti or a cluster of colorful balloons.
We are often made to feel that the physical world has little or no impact on our inner joy. Increasingly, experts urge us to find balance and calm by looking inward — through mindfulness or meditation — and muting the outside world. But what if the natural vibrancy of our surroundings is actually our most renewable and easily accessible source of joy?
In Joyful, designer Ingrid Fetell Lee explores how the seemingly mundane spaces and objects we interact with every day have surprising and powerful effects on our mood. Drawing on insights from neuroscience and psychology, she explains why one setting makes us feel anxious or competitive, while another fosters acceptance and delight — and, most importantly, she reveals how we can harness the power of our surroundings to live fuller, healthier, and truly joyful lives.”
I loved this book, because it showed me that joy is not just something that we should want to covet, but rather it is necessary for productivity. Finding joy in what we do, what we see, and our surroundings is as important as it is easy.
Lee describes joy as an aesthetic and maps the ways you can find it in your daily life with a blueprint, of sorts.
Would I sit down and read this book all in one sitting? Maybe not (I would have loved a few bright, well-designed photos within the pages), but I truly looked forward to cracking it open every morning.
One of my favorite parts included this excerpt at the very beginning that really set the tone for finding joy in the everyday. You’ll notice it’s dogeared since I tend to revert back to it pretty frequently 🙂
Some of my favorite quotes from “Joyful”:
“The only requirement is what you already have: an openness to discovering the joy that surrounds you.”
“Burnout often has as much boredom in it as exhaustion.”
“Bright color operates like a stimulant, a shot of caffeine for the eyes. It stirs us out of complacency.”
Have you read “Joyful” by Ingrid Fetell Lee? I’d love to hear your thoughts!