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 real life practicality and the excitement to try this ourselves. We have since started our own happiness group to hold each other accountable and we love it!
This book comprised a budding new author's personal journey into her happiness project. Please don't buy this book if you're looking for a social science study on happiness. It's very low on research and low on examples that are not part of Gretchen's personal application. Gretchen applied those areas of Happiness that she happened to come across in her research and that she liked the sound of. Gretchen is not a Happiness expert. If you want to read books for the experts, try Audible's The Happiness Advantage (very good). I found Gretchen to be far too long winded, and was bored by many of the personal details she shared - sorry.
Gretchen's family and friends
What a wonderful way to spend my commute to and from work. I finished the audiobook and have started it already from the beginning again.
Her journey and way of articulating it was wonderfully written, and the fact that it is her reading her own book always allows you to identify more.
I highly recommend this audiobook!
Read with emotion
There were tidbits on interesting things to try.
Gretchen has a very dry monotone voice. She also has some personality quirks that are not something I would be proud of. I believe she needed a happiness project from where she started. I myself didn't uncover more than a couple interesting statistics.
This was right up my alley as I am always trying to find ways to simplify our lives and make our time more joyful and less stressful. It made me want to embark on a happiness project of my own. The author did a wonderful job reading her awesome book.
I enjoyed her tellings of both her successes and her failures along the way. I could relate to many of her foibles.
I have not.
If only there was time yes! I will probably go back to listen to some chapters again.
I am ready to read her follow up to this book!
I love how she focused on different parts of happiness each month.
I was inspired to start some of my own happiness projects.
Though somewhat systematic and task oriented I enjoyed the book immensely. It seemed to show whatever energy you put into a project is what you get out of it.
Easy read and I would recommend this book to everyone!! Gretchen is analytical about happiness and creating a better life filled with more joy. She accomplishes this through organization, taking better care of her body, attending to her relationships, and many other aspects. I love that she doesn’t treat happiness as an isolated feeling to fix, but from a holistic view. I think the focus on anti-depressants and trying to normalize is some senses takes away from finding true joy and happiness. I understand medication is needed, but no one should settle for feeling ok. Gretchen’s experiment and journey are eloquently described and have encouraged me to be a better person to others, tackle tasks that seem to grand, and to try be honest with myself.
This book was similar to “The Courage to Start” by John “The Penguin” Bingham and to “My Stoke of Insight” by Jill Bolte Taylor because I was inspired by all, and given new perspectives that forced growth in my life. However, The Happiness Project was different in the fact that the author addresses all areas of life for growth.
She is able to portray the feelings and difficulty of situations through her reading that while stated, one might not get the full impact. You can also better appreciate her ability to laugh at herself and situations in her life. Her excitement and confidence in her findings or truths, is contagious. While a similar experience may be derived from reading the book, her narration is highly recommended.
I have laughed out loud at some of the situational stories in the book, especially when about conversations with her husband.
I am not a big fan of self help books, but I really enjoyed Gretchen's journey to being a better person. I was able to identify with her on many levels and realized that the changes to a more fulfilled life need to come from within and not from others.
The "concept" in this book is good and still interests me, but my true interest quickly deteriorated for a number of reasons. Gretchen Rubin should not be narrating her books! Though she works hard to read with inflection, she continually sounds like an amateur who is trying way too hard to sound like a professional. I never was able to move past this. Putting the narration aside, the book ended up being an iteration of Gretchen's projects around the house and with her kids and extended family. Really?
As someone who is attracted to books about self-improvement and spiritual growth, I will end by saying that unequivocally, The Happiness Project falls short in all areas. I could not bear to finish listening to this book!
I don't really go for the self-help kind of books, but this was ok. I don't plan on starting a happiness project of my own. I do not feel like I need to go on a quest to find happiness as I already have what I consider a very happy and fulfilling life. I have often wanted to take the time to find out my passion. As far as career goes, I have a job that I like, but it's just a job. No opportunities for advancement, it isn't particularly helpful to people, and in the grand scheme of things the work I do doesn't really matter that much. So for many years I have wanted to take time to find out my passion and explore career options that lean in the direction of my passion. I just don't know what that is. Until I figure it out, I'll keep going to my job every day, and be happy with the rest of my life.
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