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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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Lisa Eaton 04-22-12
    Lisa Eaton 04-22-12 Member Since 2011
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    "This has stayed with me...."
    Any additional comments?

    I listened to this book a couple of times as I was painting the walls on the first floor of our house a couple of years ago. Some sections I listened to more than once. I think that this was interesting as a story of one person's life, but not really anything ground breaking. I did, however, get some golden nuggets out of this book. My two favorites are 1) If it will take me less than one minute to take care of something that needs to be done, I will do it when first I notice it needs doing, and 2) When I am getting increasingly frustrated because my computer isn't working right, if I turn it off and then turn it back on again, 99% of the time, the problem is gone with the ReStart. While I am now tired of the genre of blogs into books, I did learn some things that I can honestly say have made me happier since I read this book.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gina M. Danner Kansas City, MO 02-08-10
    Gina M. Danner Kansas City, MO 02-08-10 Listener 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 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hayley ProvidencialesTurks And Caicos Islands 06-12-10
    Hayley ProvidencialesTurks And Caicos Islands 06-12-10
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    "Dull"

    This book and the narration are very dull. For a subject such as happiness, a little intonation and a sense of fun might have been a good approch to reading this.
    The book itself is so incredibly trite, I could not believe it has even been published.
    If you are looking for a book about happiness, check out The Happiness Hypothesis it is fantastic and fun.

    11 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mathieu Cognac 03-02-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Superficial"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Better content, a real actor. The voice of Gretchen is unbearable after 2min.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Gretchen Rubin again?

    Never. I have read hundreds of books but I felt compelled to write this review as this book is completely superficial, doesn't provide any meaningful advice - except reading the classics.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Gretchen Rubin?

    Someone talented, or just anyone.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Happiness Project?

    The part when she cleans her closet, all sections shall have been cut.


    Any additional comments?

    Worst book I have ever read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Glenn Richmond Hill, ON, Canada 10-08-12
    Glenn Richmond Hill, ON, Canada 10-08-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Her honest experiences with trying the theories"

    This audio is inspiring and unique in that she is an ordinary person trying out happiness advice that she thoroughly researched. The format acts like a refresher on happiness for she talks about a theory and then what she will try and then how it worked out. It doesn’t always work but that is what makes this audio real. One definition I really liked was "You achieve a goal but keep a resolution."

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa 10-03-12
    Lisa 10-03-12
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    "Great, great, great! Certainly worth your time"

    Rubin is a professional journalist/research/writer with a good life with husband and children. But she had feeling that she should be appreciating her life more, should be happier about the general goodness of it all. So for one year, one month at a time, she research old wisdom and new research on activities and mindsets that promote happiness. January--clean out your closets and organize your space. Reading her journey was fun and insightful.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Midwest Lady Indiana 10-01-12
    Midwest Lady Indiana 10-01-12 Member Since 2015

    Reader. Painter. Newspaper columnist. Nurse. Humane Society. Lake life. Walker. Happily remarried - was a widow.

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    "Wasn't expecting much. Surprise - It was GREAT!"
    Any additional comments?

    Not another "self help" book. Those turn me off. I bought it because it was greatly recommended by a friend and he was right. To me, this is about the first book of its kind that was 1) easy 2) useful 3) "normal" 4) realistically helpful. Anyone can benefit from this book. It's easy to be happier and author shows you how. You don't have to revolutionize your life to use the tips. Take a chance on being a bit happier and read it. Not a Pollyanna book but left me feeling encouraged and uplifted. In today's enormously busy and complex life, this book shows one way how to do what needs done in one's career, family, personal life and keep the priorities right. I found it so downright USEFUL. I tried a few of the simple tips right away and am working on a few more. Nothing big deal, just some sensible changes. I do believe it has made me feel happier, and I was happy before I read the book! For some reason, the author understands what will improve life in the current day pace and don't worry, nothing is complex or over the top. Simple normal things. Useful to men and women equally. Younger and older equally. In fact, the busier you are, the more useful this will be. Seriously, if you hate self help books this one is for you. It DOES what the self help books are supposed to do. You won't be sorry.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicholas Castaneda 02-17-10 Member Since 2014
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    "nahhh"

    This is a valiant if not vain attempt at trying to look into happiness. There is a bit of science mixed in with information but mostly self serving stories about someone trying to get attention for being happy. Unfortunately I didn't find this uplifting and although pedantic I didn't learn much. Regretful purchase.

    9 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TL 09-01-15
    TL 09-01-15 Member Since 2013
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    "A must read for every woman"

    Gretchen was on to something & I'm glad she was brave enough to write a book on her personal ah-ha moment. I think many of us (especially women) are trying to navigate between the many hats we wear, and get worried when we start feeling like we're losing ourselves and our personal purpose. Gretchen has mastered the navigation blueprint of doing it all (& in some cases, that means letting some things go). This is a definite re-read several times. AND, I would suggest this to young women entering into college to read this. Get things figured out before a husband & babies get involved. You'll be better equipped to enjoy that incredibly valuable & precious time more fully.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terrilyn DeCoster CUMBERLAND FORESIDE, ME, US 08-31-15
    Terrilyn DeCoster CUMBERLAND FORESIDE, ME, US 08-31-15 Member Since 2010
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    "Authentic, inspiring, and practical!"

    I had heard of the Happiness Project but had not made the time to read it. When I finally did, I was pleasantly surprised by how much good information was in there, practical yet inspiring! A tough mix. A personal account woven with real-life studies and anecdotes. A worthy read that will inspire you to look at your own life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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