Book Review: Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly

Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly

“God wants you to be happy even more than you want it yourself.”

Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly is perhaps the most powerful thing I have ever read. Powerful as in it truly struck a chord. I’ve read plenty of books that are supposed to help you get your act together, find happiness, be successful, etc. But none like this.

Resisting Happiness

By Matthew Kelly

Beacon Publishing, 2016

242 pages (paperback), $10.61 (as of May 15, 2017) on Amazon
192 pages (hardcover), $16.84 (as of May 15, 2017) on Amazon

“This is the paradox that surrounds our quest for happiness: we know the things that will make us happy, but we don’t always do them,” writes best-selling author, Matthew Kelly in his book, Resisting Happiness.


Easy to understand, and thoughtfully written. Not once did I feel bored with the content or manner in which it was presented. There are a whopping 37 chapters. However, not to worry, with only 242 pages in the book that leaves each chapter averaging around 6.5 pages long.

Each chapter is ended with a “Key Point” and “Action Step.” These are what help set this book apart from others. In short, each chapter is summarized by a sentence or two with the key point and then in another sentence or two you are given a task or assignment. Whether you attempt the action step is your choice. But they are so simple that I found myself tempted to immediately try to work it into my day.

On that note, I limited myself to reading only a few chapters a day to prevent me from loosing sight of each chapter’s significance. Kelly’s style of writing is inviting. You feel as if you are having a conversation with him. Much of the book is written off of his personal experience. I found his testimony inspiring and easy to relate to in certain aspects.


The theme Kelly regularly brings you back to is resistance. While reading this, almost immediately, I began recognizing resistance. As I mentioned in this week’s Facts About Me post, I pray the rosary every day on my way to work. Many mornings, I’m already grabbing for my rosary before I can even pull out of the driveway.

On the other hand, there are those mornings, I try to convince myself I’ll say it once I get halfway to work or even on the way home. Before, I would often give in. Usually I would end up saying it on my way home, but not always. Now, when I get similar thoughts, all I can do is look down and smile because I am recognizing this resistance in my life and at that moment it is up to only me to slay that resistance. So then I’m sitting in the car, beginning the sign of the cross and breathing in the start of the day.

Things do not have to be complicated in order for them to be profound. This book is a wonderful example of that.

“We live in a culture that says the meaning of life is to get what we want, and that when we get what we want we will be happy.”

Thankfully, my parish, Our Lady of Grace in La Coste, Texas, gave each of the families a copy of this book. To be honest, I’m not sure I would have ever read this if we didn’t get it. I had read The Rhythm of Life by Matthew Kelly last year and liked it but wasn’t left awe-struck. And with my reading list being what it is, I’m not sure I would have seen the need to push it up the queue. But one evening, I took Resisting Happiness with me to bed and began reading.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I’m not sure there is a book out there that has made me feel the need to promote it so strongly. Just last week, I found myself in the kitchen at my work speaking with a co-worker about what we were reading. Finding fellow book lovers is always the most lovely thing. Anyhow, knowing she was Catholic, I asked if she had read this book. She said she hadn’t, but that it was on her list. Immediately I encouraged her to move it toward the top of her list.

To my delight, she told me she started reading it the day after we talked. Again, there are not that many books that I feel the need to talk about other than on my Hot Reads posts. I love reading and I will always give recommendations when asked by someone, but when I think of Resisting Happiness, I’m filled with joy.

For More Info:

Another great review of Resisting Happiness, and a way more professional one, can be found here on the National Catholic Register. Be sure to visit for more information on Resisting Happiness and other books written by Matthew Kelly.

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