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The Happiness Project | [Gretchen Rubin]

The Happiness Project

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.
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Publisher's Summary

Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

In this lively and compelling account of that year, Rubin carves out her place alongside the authors of best-selling memoirs such as Julie and Julia, The Year of Living Biblically, and Eat, Pray, Love. With humor and insight, she chronicles her adventures during the 12 months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier.

Rubin didn't have the option to uproot herself, nor did she really want to; instead she focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions: give proofs of love, ask for help, find more fun, keep a gratitude notebook, forget about results. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to Martin Seligman to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her - and what didn't. Her conclusions are sometimes surprising - she finds that money can buy happiness, when spent wisely; that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that "treating" yourself can make you feel worse; that venting bad feelings doesn't relieve them; that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference - and they range from the practical to the profound.

©2009 Gretchen Rubin; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

"Packed with fascinating facts about the science of happiness and rich examples of how she improves her life through changes small and big. The Happiness Project made me happier by just reading it." (Bookpage.com)

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3.9 (1042 )
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Performance
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  •  
    02-14-10
    02-14-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The gift that keeps on giving..."

    This book was an awesome lucky find. I shy away from anything that sounds "self-helpish" but this book gives the gift that keeps on giving. In fact, I listened to it twice and then went out and purchased the book and will purchase more for family. This book is a great source of reality. We are responsible, in most part, for our own happiness. I guess we all just need an example to show us how to start. I love the web pages and the stories from others. Now if I could only find the Orange Blossom candle, I'd be set. This book has helped me recognize my truths and has made me actively count my blessings. The best line, "the days are long but the years are short."

    25 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carole A. Cornell Collierville, TN USA 02-01-10
    Carole A. Cornell Collierville, TN USA 02-01-10 Listener Since 2004
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    "The Happiness Project"

    I really enjoyed this book. I listened to it - and then wanted the hardcover edition as well. I'm inspired to start my own happiness project. This book opened my eyes to ways that I can increase not only my happiness but also that of people around me. It made me happy!

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Brookfield, WI, United States 03-14-11
    Brian Brookfield, WI, United States 03-14-11 Member Since 2006
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    "Disappointed"

    I had great hopes for this audio book. Unfortunately I was disappointed. The author seems like a very nice person and writes in a very casual conversational style. The problem is this book reads more like a diary or blog of a person's journey to find happiness. Cool right? That's what the book is supposed to be about. The problem is that my listening of this book felt like I was on the author's journey towards happiness and she did not take me along for the ride.

    I think in spending several hours listening to this audio book I didn't learn anything on how to personally become more happy even though I learned all about the author's life and her struggles toward happiness, criticism and relationships especially with her sister and husband. We learn all about the author being an attorney and a writer and her internal struggles.

    I wanted this book to be good, but unfortunately I left disappointed. If you're looking for a book in this particular area I would highly recommend: Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom...Why the Meaningful Life is Closer Than You Think Audiobook which I would put in my list of the top 20 books best I ever read.

    This book is set up in a way that the author is working on one principle of happiness each month and basically shares with you her experience. That's the problem the book is written in a nonjudgmental style toward what you should pursue while almost seeming self-righteous about how the author is pursuing happiness her own life. Unfortunately unlike most audio books which I feel a close connection with the author this one left me feeling uncomfortable.

    28 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken Saint Charles, MO, United States 07-30-12
    Ken Saint Charles, MO, United States 07-30-12 Member Since 2006
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    "Great Book and Story"
    What made the experience of listening to The Happiness Project the most enjoyable?

    I'm a general happy person living with someone who is commonly negative or depressed. I originally bought it to see if there was something I could learn to help her. However... I loved the book and I am thinking of starting my own happiness project because of it.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    There is one small frustration with the reading of the book... There are points in the book where what is being read are comments from blog readers or from some other source. From an audible book stand point, it is really hard to know when the comments / opinions being read are the authors or someone else. It is hard to know when the reader has switched back to reading book author material. minor issue, but frustrating.


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martina ParosGreece 02-26-10
    Martina ParosGreece 02-26-10
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    "Made me happy"

    This book inspired me a lot. It was interesting to listen to and well narrated. It was so packed with details that I'm sure I missed half and will definitely listen to it again. I'm a great fan of the project.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gina M. Danner Kansas City, MO 02-08-10
    Gina M. Danner Kansas City, MO 02-08-10 Member Since 2006
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    "A good reminder of what's important"

    Gretchen Rubin did a good job of reminding us that happiness, as is everything in life, is about decisions & process. Following her year long journey gave me a framework to guide my ongoing evolution.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maria G. Hammon California, USA 04-12-12
    Maria G. Hammon California, USA 04-12-12 Member Since 2012

    Maria

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    "Fantastic project!"
    What did you love best about The Happiness Project?

    Perhaps what I loved the most was the invitation to participate, in my very own way, into this fun journey of joy within the beautiful simplicity of my day to day life. I appreciated the very honest approach, and sharing, of the author's life experiences throughout her year of happiness.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Gretchen, of course, but I also loved listening about her relationships with her in-laws and her husband/daughters.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I do have a few months of her project that I found particularly inspiring and probably the ones I was able to connect the most with such as August, the month dedicated to contemplating the heavens; September, the month she dedicated to write a novel and spending more time with books as well as November when the concept of laughing out loud while lightening one's attitude came about.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were plenty of moments, but the one that comes to mind right now, is when she realized that her bus ride to school in the mornings with her daughter was that magical moment of her every day that was never going to be there again. That moment when she realized this and it became such a happiness producer for her, reminded me of a similar situation I have gone through this year. Since last September, I have been driving my daughter to her first year of high school for her zero period class (which means that I have to be up at 5:00 a.m. every morning in order to make it on time.) At the beginning it was such a struggle for me until I realized, like Gretchen, that this is it: the magic is happening right now. And I have loved every minute of every early morning since then!


    Any additional comments?

    So looking forward to her new upcoming book, "Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life."

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Strauss 06-07-11
    R. Strauss 06-07-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Happiness project made me happy!"

    What a cool book! I really enjoyed how it felt like the author was talking to me as opposed to lecturing me. I have already applied some of the little things she talks about that I never thought of and am enjoying them. :-)

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christie Bronxville, NY, United States 10-01-12
    Christie Bronxville, NY, United States 10-01-12 Member Since 2009

    Atticus

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Happy to have read it."

    My friend ended up getting divorced because of this book. Hmmmm... what could be so powerful that my friend could decide to end a 15 year marriage??
    Gretchen Rubin does a great job of telling her story of trying to be happier by changing little things in her life - making a list of promises to herself. Things that she will work on. It is HER project and she is very clear that what works for her may not bring you happiness. But she also points out that we are all different and our happiness needs are different.
    I was worried that I would not want to finish this book. But I did and I feel that I learned a lot about how I approach my own life. Gretchen Rubin and I may not have the same needs for happiness, but I appreciated her list and her self-awareness of her own behavior and how that might effect the happiness of the people around her and ultimately her own happiness.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy North Kingstown, RI, United States 04-01-10
    Judy North Kingstown, RI, United States 04-01-10
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    "FULL of herself!"

    Yup, the writer of this book is over-the-top full of Gretchen! Even with that rather annoying aspect, I have listened to this fully about 3 times. I actually bought the book. I really had to get over Gretchen in order to benefit from what are rather good messages and strategies for becoming more awake and aware, of living in a state that supports happiness. I'm grateful to Gretchen even though she subjected me to things like writing a novel while she worked out a exercise program while she was extra nice to her husband while she planned a birthday party par excellence for her mother-in-law while she created family archives, and on and on, almost all simultaneously. She breaks it up into months, but the activity is so frenetic and so intense and constant that it can be exhausting. The best part is perhaps Gretchen's honesty although even that is excessive.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 85 results PREVIOUS129NEXT
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  • Gustav
    London, United Kingdom
    8/19/12
    Overall
    "Well researched self-help book."

    I love the idea of self-help books. I love thinking about ways to make my life better and happier. Who doesn't? So I've read many of these kind of books and most of the times I am greatly disappointed as few of these kind of books have any real research backing them up. This book is a wonderful exception.

    Gretchen isn't a scientist, but she has approached her happiness project in the same spirit of a scientist, and she has read a lot about the topic. This reading and her personal experience is the basis of this book, and although there are a few things I won't be trying, I still think this is a great example of what more self-help books should be like.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    Harlow, United Kingdom
    4/6/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Absolutely loved it."
    What made the experience of listening to The Happiness Project the most enjoyable?

    Well read, and an inspiring journey. I loved the way it was broken down into each month and would highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking about making some changes to be happier without destroying what they already have :)


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lila
    Dublin, Ireland
    11/4/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Helpful tips on finding happiness"
    What made the experience of listening to The Happiness Project the most enjoyable?

    This is a wonderful book for anyone who is looking to explore ways of improving the quality of their life without actually having to change their lives much at all. Also easily digestible for those of us who normally find self help books boring, tedious and patronising. Thank you Gretchen for the energy and ideas you have given me! Why wait. I'll try it now. I'm not unhappy, in fact, I think I'm quite happy already,
    but having listened to this I think I can be even happier, with a little mindfulness and a tiny bit of effort.


    Any additional comments?

    Only thing that didn't resonate with me was a lot of talk about the authors children since I don't have any myself. Minor detail however. I quite enjoyed this book and would like more Gretchen Rubin books on audible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • sarah
    Great Cornard, United Kingdom
    7/8/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Really Useable"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. This offered practical insights of things one can do in every day life.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    This is not relevent as it is a self help book.


    Have you listened to any of Gretchen Rubin’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    I have not listened to any other 'performances'


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    Enjoyable and already put some things into practice. I especially liked that she uses examples from her own life which helps you see examples in your own.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Julia
    Oxford, United Kingdom
    7/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "enjoyable"
    If you could sum up The Happiness Project in three words, what would they be?

    thought-provoking, entertaining, focused


    What other book might you compare The Happiness Project to, and why?

    Drop-dead healthy by AJ Jacobs. Both authors spent one year testing theories in their own lifes. Both look at the most convincing research in their respective fields. They also both live in New York and write about their marriage, family life etc.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Read by the author Gretchen Rubin. It's obviously not of the same quality as books read by professional actors, but (contrary to others) I didn't mind her voice. It made the audiobook more authentic.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I didn't find it emotionally involving, but it did make me think about me own life and choices.


    Any additional comments?

    I would recommend this audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kirsten
    Monmouth, Monmouthshire, United Kingdom
    9/29/10
    Overall
    "Unhappy listening"

    If you are curious about this title, buy the book instead. I have tried listening several times but just can't get past the author's voice. Unfortunately it has put me off enough that I can't absorb the content. No longer part of my happiness project: listening to this audio book.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs. P. Killingsworth
    Home
    12/24/12
    Overall
    "Happiness Project"

    Not sure about this title as the author's voice has really irritated me. Her accent took my concentration away from the actual content of the book. I didn't realise it would affect me so!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-7 of 7 results

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