Aggressively Happy

A Realist's Guide to Believing in the Goodness of Life

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"A sumptuous feast."--HALEY STEWART, author of Jane Austen's Genius Guide to Life

"Her unflappable hope and sense of enchantment radiate through every page."--BOZE HERRINGTON, novelist

"Lyrical prose and delightful storytelling."--THE REV. DR. GLENN PACKIAM

Discover the Way Toward a Lighter, Braver, and Wiser Life

This old world can be exhausting, despairing, and cynical. But you don't have to be.

Instead, you can unlock the power to a happy life--an act of defiance that will make you more resilient in times of turmoil, pain, and chaos. Cultivating happiness takes grit, determination, and a good sense of humor. It's not always easy, but it's well worth it.

Beloved writer Joy Marie Clarkson leads the way, crafting an audacious case for happiness no matter what you're going through. With her signature humor and lyrical storytelling, Joy offers an irresistible invitation:

"If we accept that life will be full of difficulties and sorrows, we then have two options: to resign ourselves to life generally being a bummer, or to seek enjoyment, delight, and hope in the midst of (and in spite of!) life's up and downs. To put it bluntly: You could choose to cultivate happiness, or you could not. . . . I think we should go for it."

Go, therefore, and choose an aggressively happy life.


"Aggressively Happy: a book one searches for and is blessed to find, where the writer speaks your language. I love to read, but even more satisfying is when a book reads me. That's one of the ways I'm reassured I am not alone.

Clarkson: part poet, stirred by choice classics, powerful quotes, and Sacred Writ, which I find an irresistible combination in a writer's ink. Come, pour a cup of tea, and let's perk up with joy!"

Patsy Clairmont, author, artist, creativity coach

"Trouble will find you, but joy must be sought out. That's the premise of Joy Clarkson's honest and hopeful book. It is not a pep talk, not a denial of sorrow, and not a set of techniques to paper over the pain. Instead, with lyrical prose and delightful storytelling, she draws you in, like friends talking over a cup of tea, and imparts a wealth of insight from Scripture, theology, poetry, and the saints. This is a rich and holistic vision that will provide not only the fertilizer but also the practices and the tools for cultivating a sturdy kind of joy."

Rev. Dr. Glenn Packiam, associate senior pastor of New Life Church and author of The Resilient Pastor and Blessed Broken Given

"Joy Clarkson is the pen pal you need in your life. This intimate, welcoming book is full of unpretentious wisdom about our life in and with God. I read it and thought, For once! An enjoyable book that is edifying, and an edifying book that is actually enjoyable! Read this book with friends. Read this book with an embarrassingly large cup of hot chocolate or tea. Read this book under a blanket by a window while it rains outside. The main thing is to read Aggressively Happy!"

Michael Wear, author of Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America

"Joy Clarkson is a fearless and formidable advocate for delight in an age of rage and distraction. Her unflappable hope and sense of enchantment radiate through every page of Aggressively Happy, where she champions faith, defies the cynics, and even redeems one of literature's most misunderstood characters."

Boze Herrington, novelist

"This is not a book that feels like a chat over coffee with a chum. This is a book that feels like a sumptuous feast in a castle with your long-lost best friend. Savor this magical book and carry its wisdom with you as you face life's storms."

Haley Stewart, author of The Grace of Enough and Jane Austen's Genius Guide to Life

"In Aggressively Happy, Joy reminds us that happiness is not a saccharine sentiment; in a world drawn to despair, 'the joy of the Lord is our strength.' This book rings with beauty and truth and will help readers develop a practice of joy that can endure hardship and suffering."

Grace Olmstead, author of Uprooted: Recovering the Legacy of the Places We've Left Behind

"Is it possible to be thoroughly happy while also accepting the difficulties that life inevitably brings? Joy Clarkson answers a remarkable and resounding yes, an answer that includes such things as Pride and Prejudice, scones, Harry Potter, agonized doubts, Korean boy bands, and--most importantly--the Gospels."

Dr. Holly Ordway

The Author

  1. Joy Marie Clarkson

    Joy Marie Clarkson

    Joy Marie Clarkson ( is the author of Aggressively Happy and host of the Speaking with Joy podcast. She is a research associate in theology and literature at King's College London and the books editor for Plough Quarterly....

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