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 really enjoyed this book. I listened to it - and then wanted the hardcover edition as well. I'm inspired to start my own happiness project. This book opened my eyes to ways that I can increase not only my happiness but also that of people around me. It made me happy!
This book was an awesome lucky find. I shy away from anything that sounds "self-helpish" but this book gives the gift that keeps on giving. In fact, I listened to it twice and then went out and purchased the book and will purchase more for family. This book is a great source of reality. We are responsible, in most part, for our own happiness. I guess we all just need an example to show us how to start. I love the web pages and the stories from others. Now if I could only find the Orange Blossom candle, I'd be set. This book has helped me recognize my truths and has made me actively count my blessings. The best line, "the days are long but the years are short."
I had great hopes for this audio book. Unfortunately I was disappointed. The author seems like a very nice person and writes in a very casual conversational style. The problem is this book reads more like a diary or blog of a person's journey to find happiness. Cool right? That's what the book is supposed to be about. The problem is that my listening of this book felt like I was on the author's journey towards happiness and she did not take me along for the ride.
I think in spending several hours listening to this audio book I didn't learn anything on how to personally become more happy even though I learned all about the author's life and her struggles toward happiness, criticism and relationships especially with her sister and husband. We learn all about the author being an attorney and a writer and her internal struggles.
I wanted this book to be good, but unfortunately I left disappointed. If you're looking for a book in this particular area I would highly recommend: Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom...Why the Meaningful Life is Closer Than You Think Audiobook which I would put in my list of the top 20 books best I ever read.
This book is set up in a way that the author is working on one principle of happiness each month and basically shares with you her experience. That's the problem the book is written in a nonjudgmental style toward what you should pursue while almost seeming self-righteous about how the author is pursuing happiness her own life. Unfortunately unlike most audio books which I feel a close connection with the author this one left me feeling uncomfortable.
Opinionated redhead who uses audiobooks to make L.A. traffic bearable.
I had high hopes for this book, but it just didn't live up to the hype. I might have had more appreciation for it if I had read the actual book rather than listening to the author's narration of it. I really disliked the narration. What disappointed me most was just how superficial it all seemed to me. I expected something deep and enlightening, but this wasn't it.
I'm a general happy person living with someone who is commonly negative or depressed. I originally bought it to see if there was something I could learn to help her. However... I loved the book and I am thinking of starting my own happiness project because of it.
There is one small frustration with the reading of the book... There are points in the book where what is being read are comments from blog readers or from some other source. From an audible book stand point, it is really hard to know when the comments / opinions being read are the authors or someone else. It is hard to know when the reader has switched back to reading book author material. minor issue, but frustrating.
Perhaps what I loved the most was the invitation to participate, in my very own way, into this fun journey of joy within the beautiful simplicity of my day to day life. I appreciated the very honest approach, and sharing, of the author's life experiences throughout her year of happiness.
Gretchen, of course, but I also loved listening about her relationships with her in-laws and her husband/daughters.
I do have a few months of her project that I found particularly inspiring and probably the ones I was able to connect the most with such as August, the month dedicated to contemplating the heavens; September, the month she dedicated to write a novel and spending more time with books as well as November when the concept of laughing out loud while lightening one's attitude came about.
There were plenty of moments, but the one that comes to mind right now, is when she realized that her bus ride to school in the mornings with her daughter was that magical moment of her every day that was never going to be there again. That moment when she realized this and it became such a happiness producer for her, reminded me of a similar situation I have gone through this year. Since last September, I have been driving my daughter to her first year of high school for her zero period class (which means that I have to be up at 5:00 a.m. every morning in order to make it on time.) At the beginning it was such a struggle for me until I realized, like Gretchen, that this is it: the magic is happening right now. And I have loved every minute of every early morning since then!
So looking forward to her new upcoming book, "Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life."
This book inspired me a lot. It was interesting to listen to and well narrated. It was so packed with details that I'm sure I missed half and will definitely listen to it again. I'm a great fan of the project.
Better content, a real actor. The voice of Gretchen is unbearable after 2min.
Never. I have read hundreds of books but I felt compelled to write this review as this book is completely superficial, doesn't provide any meaningful advice - except reading the classics.
Someone talented, or just anyone.
The part when she cleans her closet, all sections shall have been cut.
Worst book I have ever read.
My friend ended up getting divorced because of this book. Hmmmm... what could be so powerful that my friend could decide to end a 15 year marriage??
Gretchen Rubin does a great job of telling her story of trying to be happier by changing little things in her life - making a list of promises to herself. Things that she will work on. It is HER project and she is very clear that what works for her may not bring you happiness. But she also points out that we are all different and our happiness needs are different.
I was worried that I would not want to finish this book. But I did and I feel that I learned a lot about how I approach my own life. Gretchen Rubin and I may not have the same needs for happiness, but I appreciated her list and her self-awareness of her own behavior and how that might effect the happiness of the people around her and ultimately her own happiness.
I appreciate the premise and the attempt here. Well written and good for what it was. Many"flakes of gold" and even a few laugh out loud moments. It just became tedious, and too self absorbed for my tastes, and written to a very narrow audience. But kudos to you Gretchen for making the effort and by the sounds of it this book has definitely made a positive impact in many people's lives.
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