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The Joy Compass

8 Ways to Find Lasting Happiness, Gratitude & Optimism in the Present Moment

Do you long for the ability to live fully in the moment? Do you wish that you could transcend everyday worries, dissolve discontent, and find true happiness? If so, The Joy Compass is your guide to finding and honoring your strengths and bringing them into your life.

Each chapter is packed with tools, tips and strategies for overriding the brain’s natural negativity bias so you can be more resilient each day.

This is a practical pocket guide that will teach you to recognize your negative moods as early as possible. Then, you’ll refocus your attention toward the people, pleasures, and thoughts that bring you the most joy.

The book outlines eight unique mindfulness pathways—laughter, gratitude, forgiveness, music, reflection and meditation, affirmations, the here and now, and love/social connections—that align your personal happiness compass and keep joy within arm’s reach, no matter the situation. These practical and effective tools you will help you reset your moods, release your laughter, and discover meaning and happiness in your life.


If you have this book in your hands you are about to make an exponential leap forward in your own personal evolution. Altman’s compassionate, sturdy voice gently guides you through seemingly disparate pieces of your internal landscape back to your center, from which self-reliance, self-worth, empathy, and a renewed sense of your innate natural joy can abound. This is a calming and inspirational manual for restructuring any faltering emotional system; an exploration of this book may result in effervescent joy and unbridled contentment.

Christopher Kennedy Lawford, author of Moments of Clarity and Symptoms of Withdrawal 

The most important discovery that human beings can make is the discovery that they can change their state of mind from negative to positive. We do not have to be victims of our minds and its moods. In this book Donald Altman describes eight simple ways (tested and proven by research) that we all can become more joyful and at ease in our lives. It’s just what the doctor prescribed—free happiness medicine! Why don’t you try it?

Jan Chozen Bays, MD and Zen roshi, author of How to Train a Wild Elephant: And Other Adventures in Mindfulness

The Joy Compass is a refreshingly user-friendly manual that nimbly demonstrates Donald Altman’s decades of expert experience teaching practical techniques of applied mindfulness. This potent little book provides extremely timely advice for a stressed-out society!

Jeffrey M. Schwartz, MD, coauthor of You Are Not Your Brain

The Joy Compass presents invaluable insights and exercises for training yourself to be more present, lucid, and filled with joy—even during life’s most ordinary moments. It is a must-read for anybody who is serious about developing present-moment awareness, simple happiness, and freedom from anxiety and depression. Use it just like a sailor uses a real compass—as a guide into the calm joy of sunny skies and quiet seas.

Tobin Blake, author of Everyday Meditation: 100 Daily Meditations for Health, Stress Relief, and Everyday Joy 

Don’t be fooled, The Joy Compass is not the latest ‘feel good’ book—though it certainly will point the way to living a life of mindfulness, purpose and fulfillment. Donald Altman’s ‘compass’ comes from his years of practicing in his own life what he teaches in this book and facilitates for his clients and students. He describes the various paths and practices it takes to live life as a creator, rather than a victim to all the forces in the world that conspire to steer us away from a life of choices and vitality. His simple—yet profound—writing rhythm offers ‘content, practice, and reflection.’ This is the ‘CPR’ our modern life needs for resuscitation!

David Emerald, author of The Power of TED 

Don’t be fooled, The Joy Compass is not the latest ‘feel good’ book—though it

Donald Altman’s books are always full of creativity, kindness and wisdom. This former Buddhist monk is a monastery onto himself, growing a virtual sangha of readers around the ancient meme of joy and presence. The Joy Compass is perhaps Altman’s most brilliant metaphor to date. Life is a pursuit of well-being, and learning to pay attention to this body/mind compass of joy within us is the ultimate skill of living. With engineering precision, Altman introduces the know-how of attention-training and intention-training and then walks you through a variety of life-applications. The result? A comprehensive map to well-being, with an effective built-in compass to guide your journey!

Pavel Somov, PhD, author of Eating the Moment, The Lotus Effect

What a refreshing guide to rejuvenation and self-discovery. Donald Altman’s new book, The Joy Compass, provides eight strategies that will open your mind to possibilities you may never have considered. This book is a must-read for all who are seeking mental enrichment in ways that are as fun to read as they are perceptive.

John Baldoni, author of Lead with Purpose and Grace