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)
I love the way this book is divided into the months of the year. It makes listening in chunks more enjoyable.
After listening to this book I've subscribed to Gretchen's podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, which I would also recommend.
Some of the topics really hit home for me and I was inspired to create my own list of commandments. Don't think I have Gretchen's discipline though, so sticking to it will be another thing.
Reading a self-help book like this one would have been my intent, however, because life happens, I would have never been able to finish it in any reasonable amount of time. Listening to this book on audible was my best option and I'm so glad I did. There were moments of listening that actually made a huge difference in the way I approached the day or circumstance, that at the time, seemed daunting. I enjoyed the stories of real people and the author sharing many of her own personal stories as well. I'm forever impacted by the "resolutions" ideal verses the "goals" definition. This will be a game changer for me as I go forward in my own resolve to be happier. And "Thank You, Gretchen" for helping me adopt and embrace the "Be Gretchen" approach to life. Except, of course, it will be "Be Kaye", whoever that is😉. I'm on a quest to figure it out and to be true to myself and not get caught in the rip-tide of being a people pleaser. The motivation to listen to this book was a quest to be happier right now, not later. I think I can and will do better now that I've listened to this book and have took some valuable tips from it to practice and adopt in my thinking and actions. Thanks Gretchen, for taking the time to write this book and sharing what you learned!
Living, learning and loving life every day!
I so enjoyed listening to the Happiness Project. I read this several years ago, but after hearing Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth Happiness podcast these past months, I wanted to "hear" Gretchen tell her story. She shares her journey to become happier, and inspired me to do the same. This was life changing for me, and is sure to do the same for anyone who is ready to answer the questions for themselves.
Great read. Very well researched. Explores a variety of ideas on happiness from a plentitude of sources, schools of thought and figures from history. Peppered with lots of applicable modern day examples and provides many ideas to explore as well as achievable ways to implement happiness in your own life. Author places a lot of emphasis on her own particular family and set of personal problems which lends to understandable and relatable analogies but becomes repetitive with the narrowed focus on motherhood.Narration by the author is very well presented and she provides a good clear reading with positive energy and expression.Highly recommended
I love reading/listening to books that promote personal growth. This book gave me a lot to think about. The Happiness Project provides a systematic approach to cultivating richer, fuller happiness in our lives. She shared relatable personal experiences and research that helped me see the importance in putting more thought into creating a plan for more happiness, not just expecting it.
Gretchen Rubin's struggles are not at all similar to my own. That really did not matter. Her candor helped me appreciate our individual humanness and that each person's project will be individual.
I want to find others willing to try this whole thing out so that I can measure my growth with others interested in these ideas. I think Gretchen Rubin's ideas are worthy of a movement in how we all could accomplish more meaningful and richer interactions with others as well as enriching our own lives. This is a thought-provoking, good use of time.
As Rubin prefaces her book, happiness looks different for all of us. So not every chapter of this book will be directly relevant to you or your life. Still, the principles of growth, mindfulness, and accountability outlined herein will make everyone happier.
I had read mixed reviews and almost did not purchase this book. I would have missed out on a terrific book. I miss Gretchen already and may listen to it again, especially because I could not take notes while driving. Even if you do not fit into Gretchen's demographic (as I think that some of the bad reviewers did not), anyone can gain insight from her project. she has a blog and other online forums that can enhance the experience if you want more. I have certainly become much more self aware and tried to employ some of Gretchen's suggestions.
Very thought-inspiring and genuine. Its the kind of book that you want to read periodically. It leads you to some "ah-hah" moments that inspire change in perspective.
Loved that Gretchen was the narrarator, seemed she was talking to just me! Improving life seems doable, no matter who you are.
I am in a point of transition in my life and Gretchen gave me a lot of enjoyable food for thought. Even though writing is not something I find enjoyable I could see how I could adapt my own happiness project. I really enjoyed the quotes from so varied authors. It encouraged me to broaden my reading list.
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