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 "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.
When I started listening to this, I couldn't resist thinking of a New York based Yuppie with tons of extra money. I almost gave up before the first chapter ended, but I persisted. She proceeded in a huge story about increasing her happiness. I though it was a good idea to listen, but after listening, I felt like the book was almost pointless. She used so many references to "me" and "i" that if the book were typeset, the publisher would have run out of I's:-) I think if she weren't to self-centered, she would not need a happiness project. The one positive thing about it was her section on spiritual happiness, and not actually practicing religion.
Yes, I am listening to it again. I listened once all the way through, now I am listening to each month and doing some of the things she suggests.
I actually have quite a bit in common with the author, but even the dissimilarities were interesting to listen to and learn from her learning process.
These are her experiences & she really puts a lot of feeling into her discoveries. You can visualize the conversations between her and her husband & others.
This is one of the best, most meaningful books I have ever read/listened to.
Enjoyed listening to this book and was inspired to start some of the plans.
Will need to re-listen again and make notes as I didn't the first time through!
After listening through I was so eager to start my own Happiness Project. I am relistening now, it is just that good.
There are so many ideas that I never thought of relating to happiness before (clean closets, empty shelves.) I am a parent, and so is the author. A large part of the book related directly to children and to marriage. I think there's still a lot to be found for anyone who has a close relationship and/or nieces or nephews/children in their lives. I never really thought about how my every day actions could add up or detract from my happiness. I'm very glad Gretchen wrote this book - despite her critics. Her website is also a great compliment to this book.
Gretchen's "Happiness at Home" is read by another performer. I might have to read that as a hard copy instead of the audio book. I became spoiled listening to Gretchen read this book because It just felt more authentic to hear her discussing her personal life changes.
Just do it!
The Dalai Lama's book on happiness. It was a religious experience for both authors. :)
Her candidness. What worked and didn't work for her, that failures were ok, but don't give up.
Be all you can be - happily
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