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
"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)
The author of this book took the time to try out many theories on happiness. She researched and applied authoritative quotes and personal experiences in all the right places. The information given is presented in a way that gives readers the opportunity to form their own theories and apply them personally. When an author actually works hard, we all benefit! I think the best thing I can say is that this purchase was certainly worth my money.
I found it very easy to relate to, and used a lot of her project ideas in my own "H/P"
I love Gretchen, and she is easy to listen to, not annoying at all!
Overall, I thought it was an excellent book!
The concept for the book is interesting, but the fact that the author narrated book and sounded like one of the most joyless people completely killed the experience. Hard to believe Gretchen is happy at all from hearing her speak.
I had seen Gretchen Rubin on CBS Sunday Morning and immediately bought the book! And I'm so glad I did. I was constantly feeling uplifted and grateful for her Happiness Project and her candid journey through a year of her life. While I would have not had the patience or inclination to research the topic as thoroughly as she did, I appreciate the work she used to lay a sound foundation for her project. Her tenacity was amazing (I don't do flow sheets!).
I found this book to be uplifting and entertaining. It gave me a lot of food for thought and I came to appreciate more the things I do to bring happiness to my life. I've become an avid reader of her blog. The grass is greener in our own backyards, if we just know how to look at it. Her suggestions can be applied to just about any setting.
Highly recommended (and I'm going to get the print version, cuz underlining books makes me happy!)
I loved the book and I also love Gretchen's blog. Actually I was first hooked on the blog and only after that read the book. As happiness studies go it's the most down to earth and applicable that I've seen. I know for sure many of the things Gretchen mentions in her book actually work. for anybody interested in happiness or just in improving themselves, it is an excellent read.
If you are an introspective person who strives to improve yourself this book is for you. I didn't agree with Gretchen's approach to everything but I didn't need to. The whole purpose of a Happiness Project is to improve Yourself in a way that best suits Your life. I'm very excited about starting my own Happiness Project! Her website shows illustrations and has tools to get you started.
I was really looking forward to reading this book as I had heard so much hype. Boy was I disappointed, possible the worst book I have ever read on the topic.
The author (at least on the audio version) comes across a whiny and self absorbed. The way the book is filled with banal blog comments from her readers is also irritating. I have my own blog if I want to read what blog commentors think. Also, sometimes it was difficult to tell if she were still narrating the chapter or just reading a stream of filler comments that added nothing to the quality of the book.
If you want to read about how a wealthy woman tried to be less miserable (and often seemed to fail) and more grateful fro her life, then this is the book for you.
OTOH, there are so many books way, way better than this like Authentic Happiness, Stumbling on Happiness and The How in Happiness if you really want to get a grasp on the subject.
I have no idea how this book has become a best-seller!
Or maybe I do. Maybe it was brilliantly marketed and the cover looks very nice?
The book was an interesting and honest story and the science (or in some cases lack of science) behind Rubin's project to become happier. Rubin reads the book herself, which lends a personal touch, like you are getting to know her, not just her words. The writing is strong, the personal anecdotes great. I sometimes got a little annoyed at the over analyzing of every little nuance of every single little thing. That would make me a very unhappy person. However, Rubin clearly has a completely different personality than me. I did find some very helpful bits of info and insight that I will be using.
At first I found this book very irritating (like other listeners reviews), however I persevered through the first chapter and began to enjoy the story line and message. This book is full of great facts and little strategies that even the 'happiest' of people could benefit from. Really enjoyed it.
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