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Publisher's Summary

The author of the blockbuster New York Times best sellers The Happiness Project and Happier at Home tackles the critical question: How do we change?

Gretchen Rubin's answer: through habits. Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. It takes work to make a habit, but once that habit is set, we can harness the energy of habits to build happier, stronger, more productive lives.

So if habits are a key to change, then what we really need to know is: How do we change our habits?

Better Than Before answers that question. It presents a practical, concrete framework to allow listeners to understand their habits - and to change them for good. Infused with Rubin's compelling voice, rigorous research, and easy humor, and packed with vivid stories of lives transformed, Better Than Before explains the (sometimes counterintuitive) core principles of habit formation.

Along the way Rubin uses herself as guinea pig, tests her theories on family and friends, and answers listeners' most pressing questions - oddly, questions that other writers and researchers tend to ignore:

  • Why do I find it tough to create a habit for something I love to do?
  • Sometimes I can change a habit overnight, and sometimes I can't change a habit no matter how hard I try. Why?
  • How quickly can I change a habit?
  • What can I do to make sure I stick to a new habit?
  • How can I help someone else change a habit?
  • Why can I keep habits that benefit others but can't make habits that are just for me?

Whether listeners want to get more sleep, stop checking their devices, maintain a healthy weight, or finish an important project, habits make change possible. Listening to just a few chapters of Better Than Before will make listeners eager to start work on their own habits - even before they've finished the audiobook.

Bonus feature: includes a full episode from the author's podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin in which she discusses how to build happier habits into everyday life.

©2015 Gretchen Rubin (P)2015 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Here, she [Gretchen Rubin] uses her gifts to help you eat right, sleep well, stop procrastinating, and start enjoying all that life has to offer." (Susan Cain, New York Times best-selling author of Quiet)
"Gretchen Rubin combines deep research and observations from her own life to explain how habits emerge and - more important - how they can change. It's indispensable for anyone hoping to overhaul how they (almost unthinkingly) behave." (Charles Duhigg, New York Times best-selling author of The Power of Habit)
"Filled with insights about our patterns of behavior, Better Than Before addresses one of life's big and timeless questions: how can we transform ourselves? In a way that’s thought-provoking, surprising, and often funny, Gretchen Rubin provides us with the tools to build a life that truly reflects our goals and values." (Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post and New York Times best-selling author of Thrive)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Life changing

Game changer even for someone who has had relative habit success in the past. Loved that the narrator was the author herself.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Works on Absolutes, but Worthy Ideas

This is a good little book about habits. I found it interesting, but her categories are so absolute that I found my own tendencies bouncing between the presented extremes quite a bit. I suspect it's like that for many people. Application of her ideas in my own life will require some amalgamation of contradictory suggestions. Even so, the ideas presented here are worthy of consideration.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Debra
  • Grant, FL, United States
  • 04-02-15

Loved this book!

I approached the new year realizing that if I wanted to have time for some things, I had to give up time on others. I realized I needed new habits- not just new habits but a plan for creating them and sticking with them. Gretchen has a plan snd as always her simple yet wise words can be a help to many!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic!

loved this book! It was easy to follow along with like listening to my best friend talk story with me. started implementing the suggestions she makes in the book & have had huge success with my new habits!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Don't Waste Your Money

What disappointed you about Better Than Before?

The title is very misleading! Instead, this is a personal story of her low carb diet, her sister, her husband, her dad ..... I was expecting some practical and useful direction, instead I now feel like I know everything about HER life and her immediate family! I was under the assumption (from the title) that this book would deliver something MUCH different! Ugh!!

Would you ever listen to anything by Gretchen Rubin again?

This was my first ... it will be a high hill to climb to make me want to purchase anything from her.

What didn’t you like about Gretchen Rubin’s performance?

Lack of direction for the people buying the book and personally ... didn't like her preaching about a low carb diet. May work for some, but any diet that restricts fruits and vegetables raises a red flag with me!

What character would you cut from Better Than Before?

All of them!

Any additional comments?

Buy " The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business ", by Charles Duhigg. THIS book is helpful and what one expects to learn about habits!!

35 of 43 people found this review helpful

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Help for a rebel!

Gretchen breaks down habit forming into 4 personality types. I've read dozens of books on habit and will power and this one contained some real ah-ha moments. I am a Rebel. I do what I want to and resist against expectations (even my own).

As an Upholder, Gretchen is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum and so I think us Rebels must be the hardest group for her to relate to and provide advice. Even though the book addressed Rebels less than the more common types, the information was useful and I gained a better understanding of why so many techniques were not working for me. I am looking forward to making some new habits that will set my life on autopilot and give me more energy to devote to creative pursuits. The book was informative and written with a show not tell style that will make it enjoyable for almost anyone. Loved it!

17 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Okay

Pretty basic research on habits, personally I've liked other books in the subject more. I think the author should let a professional voice artist read the book, she has a fine voice but professional narration adds something that this lacked.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Best Self-Help book I've ever read

Of all the self-help books I've ever read this one is the most transformative probably, it's up there with the Myers-Briggs books and others for sure.

It's not just a series of suggestions or incentive to help you have the life you want. It is a psychological and social logical breakdown of why people do what they do and what motivates them. I found it extremely helpful. Not only an understanding myself but an understanding other people and how to help motivate them also.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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At first I didn't like it.

The author is a good reader and writer and is self deprecating in an endearing way. However she invents these 4 constructs/categories of people called obligers, upholders, rebels, and questioners. These are a theme throughout the book, but I want to yell at her she can't just make up categories based on anecdotal information and without a lot of data. She is smart enough to know this, but apparently she doesn't care. The book is great despite this. It is great because you get a window into the way an organized mind works. I sort of think it is unintentionally great (my apologies to the author). For example anybody that would make up these categories and start putting people into them has a certain way of thinking that may be a hint to staying organized (compartmentalizing a lot of things, if it works for you go with it). The content itself is also very good. She has great insights into how important it is to not let others dictate ones own likes and dislikes. She has great insight into adulthood, which I get the feeling might be her next book. It can be annoying to listen to one with an obviously high level of executive functioning tell people with likely less levels of executive functioning what to do, but you'll get over it, because the book is very helpful, and very well written and read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Kind of Interesting; Didn't Learn Much

The information presented was not as enlightening as I thought it would be. Her insights into using your personality type to help you establish positive habits seems useful--but there is no really exciting, new information in this book. In addition, the author comes across as a kind of goody-two-shoes, the hero of her own tale, which I found distracting. If you are interested in habits and how and why we form them, I think there are probably better books out there.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful