Joyful Book Summary - Joyful Book explained in key points
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Joyful summary

Ingrid Fetell Lee

The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness

4 (94 ratings)
23 mins

Brief summary

Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee is a guide to finding joy in everyday life. It explores the aesthetics of joy and how design, color, and light can create happy and uplifting environments that cultivate positivity and boost our well-being.

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    Color can make spaces more joyful if you follow some basic guidelines.

    In the fall of 2000, something seemingly odd began to take place in the run-down and crime-ridden city of Tirana, Albania. Painters began painting a nondescript building bright orange.

    The work was carried out at the order of the city’s mayor, Edi Rama, and it was the first building of many to be painted in bright colors. This bold project helped encourage the city’s population to take better care of their neighborhoods and also of their own lives. For his efforts in helping to regenerate the city, Rama received the 2004 World Mayor award.

    It just goes to show that even a little smudge of color can be a powerful thing.

    Specifically speaking, the power of color comes from its ability to make spaces more joyful.

    Now, joy is a difficult thing to define, but we all know it when we see it. Simply put, joy arises as a vigorous moment of positive emotion. And it can be triggered by color.

    One couple known to the author, Ingrid Fetell Lee, had just such a color-induced experience. They were sick of living in their monochromatic home, so they hired New York architecture firm Stamberg Aferiat and Associates to redesign their living environment.

    The architects fulfilled their brief by introducing elements of color into the couple’s home. And it wasn’t subtle: they began with a bright yellow front door. This decision altered the aesthetics of the whole space, since the yellow door also transformed the quality of light within the house itself, making the house more joyous.

    It is the interaction of color and light that leads to the creation of a certain atmosphere within a space. Therefore, the atmosphere in an environment can vary wildly depending upon its color.

    Look at it this way: dark colors reflect less light, and so result in darker, more somber rooms. On the other hand, brilliant, light colors reflect light, affecting the quality of the light in a room, and making spaces airier and more joyful.

    And there are some simple rules you can follow to get the most joy out of color.

    Start by clearing the large surfaces, such as walls and floors. These should be painted in light hues, either white or something sitting very close to it on the palette.

    You then need to introduce a few elements that bring in a burst of color. These could consist of a piece of bright, colorful furniture, a few decorative objects, or even a few stripes of color painted on a wall.

    Even these simple steps will make your space much more joyful.

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    What is Joyful about?

    Joyful (2018) embraces aspects of color, shape, playfulness and whimsy that surround us in everyday life. These blinks make a positive case for the role that design and architecture can play in making lives more happy and joyful.

    Joyful Review

    Joyful (2018) explores the science behind finding joy in everyday experiences and reveals how we can cultivate more happiness in our lives. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers concrete strategies for creating a joyful environment, from incorporating color and playful elements to embracing nature and cultivating a sense of awe.
    • The book emphasizes the power of small changes in our surroundings to have a big impact on our well-being, making it accessible and applicable to anyone.
    • With its fascinating research and inspiring anecdotes, the book challenges the notion that joy is elusive and reminds us that happiness is within reach.

    Best quote from Joyful

    Its learning to accept that things grow and try to find their own way. You have to allow plants to do their thing. – Piet Oudolf

    —Ingrid Fetell Lee
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    Who should read Joyful?

    • Designers 
    • DIY enthusiasts
    • New homeowners or renters

    About the Author

    Ingrid Fetell Lee is a designer who runs her own design blog, The Aesthetics of Joy. She has contributed articles to the New York Times, Psychology Today, and Wired, and given a widely viewed 2018 TED talk on design.

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    Joyful FAQs 

    What is the main message of Joyful?

    The main message of Joyful is that simple changes to our surroundings can create more joy and happiness in our lives.

    How long does it take to read Joyful?

    The reading time for Joyful varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Joyful a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Joyful is a delightful read that explores the connection between our environment and our happiness. It offers practical insights and inspiration for finding more joy in everyday life.

    Who is the author of Joyful?

    The author of Joyful is Ingrid Fetell Lee.

    What to read after Joyful?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Joyful, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Happy by Derren Brown
    • The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt
    • Switch by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
    • The Happy Mind by Kevin Horsley and Louis Fourie
    • Happy City by Charles Montgomery
    • Happy Ever After by Paul Dolan
    • Stress Resets by Jennifer L. Taitz
    • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
    • Mindset by Carol Dweck
    • Practical Optimism by Sue Varma