updated 05/01/2014 AT 6:00 PM ET
•originally published 05/01/2014 AT 7:20 PM ET
It’s already May – a good time to check the status on those New Year’s resolutions.
Whether it was eating better, exercising, spending more time with family, or even finally finding the love of your life – like George Clooney in this week’s issue – we all want to know how to improve.
Our staff’s reading books this week that examine how to be a better, happier and more successful you.
Share your thoughts on their choices – and let us know what you’re reading.
Her Pick: Advice for a Happy Life by Anne Friedman Glauber
I am reading a lovely little book by a friend of mine called Advice for a Happy Life: Lessons From My Mother. Anne Friedman Glauber had always wondered how her mother Pauly had managed to be so relentlessly positive despite an unremarkable life and a protracted struggle with cancer.
Cleaning out the house after Pauly died, Glauber discovered envelopes stuffed with inspirational quotes in all the drawers and she realized that her mom had worked at happiness – that it was a discipline that perhaps all of us could learn.
Her Pick: This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
I’ve been a fan of Ann Patchett’s fiction and non-fiction for several years. This collection of her essays is a fantastic way to delve into Ann the person.
In one essay, she writes of the trials of applying to the Los Angeles police academy as both covert story material and as a tribute to her father. She is honest about the failure of her first marriage, and she writes how she learned to hone her craft in order to be a self supporting writer, among so many other essay gems. She chronicles how she acquired her first dog as an adult and laughingly throws away a mental list of clever dog names she’d been gathering in anticipation of this moment, because her husband pronounces the dog’s name to be, simply, Rose.
Ann covers a spectrum of topics in these essays from her magazine writing days, and they are at turns a humorous, wry, self-deprecating, and honest look at life, love, and writing.
Her Pick: Thrive by Arianna Huffington
I was spending my one idle minute on Facebook when I came across a post about Arianna’s Book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom, and Wonder. It’s a walloping title that promises a lot, but I was intrigued. Who doesn’t want those things?
Arianna challenges the two metrics for success: money and power, and how we are driven to achieve while neglecting our own health and happiness. She suggests a third metric: thriving, and offers a plan for success based on self-nurturing and quality of life.
It sounds trite but this is Arianna Huffington, so it’s actually quite thoughtful – with more ah-ha moments than an episode of Oprah. And I’m learning that I shouldn’t be spending my one idle minute on Facebook.
Check back every Thursday for another round of staff picks, and see more book reviews each week in PEOPLE magazine, on newsstands now. Plus, check out last week’s behind-the-scenes books and more great book finds here.