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)
First of all, this is a great book. It's very inspirational. For those haters, what did you think it would be about? She's describing her one year experience! But there are many splendid truths that you can apply to yourself. I just loved it and will be buying copies for friends and helping them clean their closets.
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.
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.
Uplifting. Inspiring. Refreshing.
A lot of research went into this, but I didn't feel like any of it was ground breaking. For example, any good upbringing will tell you that you feel good when you do good things for other people. All the same, it was a refreshing "feel good book."
I enjoyed this book and could relate to so many of Gretchen's experiences. The book provides lots of practical ideas on how to move forward with my own happiness project. Definitely worth the time. I will probably go back and read again to decide what things I want to consider trying for myself
I recommend this book for anyone that wants to do something to actively change their life for better or need ideas to get out of a negative funk. Gretchen has great insights and quotes that will lift you up and her systematic approach is easy to replicate in different types of life style.
My favorite part about this book is how down to earth it is. There's nothing to high-minded or overly cerebral, just a whole long list of really simple ways to improve your happiness! I've already started applying many of the tips and tools she suggests!
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