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.
As an added bonus, this recording includes a sampling of Gretchen's podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin. In this episode, "Choose the Bigger Life", Gretchen and her sister, Elizabeth Craft, discuss happiness, good habits, and whether Gretchen is going to get a dog.
©2009 Gretchen Rubin (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
"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)
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.
Better content, a real actor. The voice of Gretchen is unbearable after 2min.
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.
Someone talented, or just anyone.
The part when she cleans her closet, all sections shall have been cut.
Worst book I have ever read.
Probably not. She is terribly boring and too monotone to be narrating. I don't actually think she was successful in her happiness project.
She shouldn't narrate. Also, to be frank, she sounds like an UNHAPPY person, still, even though she supposedly went through this year of attempting happiness. Honestly, I feel like she missed the whole point. The book may have been more enjoyable read by a more lively person but, I just think it's a bad self-help book too because it's totally subjective to her life and doesn't make me feel motivated to take any of the same steps she took.
She was a terrible story teller, boring, monotone, and clearly just an achievement focused person who's view of happiness is, in my opinion, very skewed. It was also very difficult to tell the difference between when she was talking from first person or as someone else.
Maybe...only because perhaps it would be better portrayed by other actors.
As a therapist, I feel the need to advise people NOT to follow this woman's advice or even look to this book as a guide to happiness. It seems that, what may come off as funny if read directly from the book, is actually Gretchen's attempt to make light of times when she is actually quite unhappy....WHICH IS HEALTHY AND NORMAL TO BE. She puts a lot of blame on her husband for petty things and plays it off as "loving his quirks" when clearly, you can tell throughout that she is still pissed at him and seeking his approval through the project. Maybe I haven't gotten to it yet, but she rarely talks about how happiness simply comes from being in whatever state you're in, instead of trying to plan happiness. She rarely talks positively about her family, she admits she's motivated by "gold stars" and its obvious throughout that she is just seeking another big golden star by writing and selling this. If you want to listen to a woman's struggle with bringing her boring life somewhat more color, then you might like this. Besides some statistics, which I think are irrelevant to happiness anyway, this is not a useful book.
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.
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.
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.
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.
First the positive. I really did find some interesting ideas and the author mentions several books about people I had not heard of that I plan to read in the future. I am grateful for that. So I got a few good things from the book.... But I almost stopped reading the book several times. Annoying, grating, self-absorbed... I felt like I was listening to her complain about a lot of petty things. Seems like the world must be at her beck and call. I applaud her for trying to improve herself, but....anyway I will just say the book rubbed me the wrong way and leave it at that. I do not recommend the book. It did more to irritate than to help....at least for me personally. I know many will love it and that's good. It just wasn't for me.....
Author had a couple of common sense ideas-nothing you've never heard before. Book overall showed the author's emotional immaturity as an adult, needing regular recognition for any effort and lack of control of angry outbursts with her children.
Also when did the trend of 'listing' in books become 'writing'? This is not the first book I have listened to where the author lists things...BORING.
Yes. This offered practical insights of things one can do in every day life.
This is not relevent as it is a self help book.
I have not listened to any other 'performances'
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.
thought-provoking, entertaining, focused
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.
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.
I didn't find it emotionally involving, but it did make me think about me own life and choices.
I would recommend this audiobook.
"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.
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.
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!
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