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Publisher's Summary

Best-selling author Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project and Happier at Home) explores habits - the invisible architecture of everyday life - and how they can make us more likely to be happy, healthy, productive, and creative. When we change our habits, we change our lives.

Gretchen Rubin, author of the blockbuster New York Times best sellers The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, has helped millions of readers get happier. Now she tackles the critical question: How can we make good habits and break bad ones? In a book that's crammed with big, provocative ideas, Rubin shows readers how to create the habits that will transform their lives, even if they've failed before. The secret, Rubin explains, is to pinpoint the specific strategies that will work for us.

From finding the right time to begin a new habit to setting up a counterintuitive system of reward to using the pleasure of treats to strengthen our good habits, Rubin identifies the 21 strategies that will allow every reader to find an effective, individual fit. Along the way Rubin uses herself as a guinea pig, tests her theories on family and friends, and answers readers' 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? How can I get myself to stick to a new habit?
  • I want to help someone else make a change. But how?
  • Why can I make time for everyone else but can't make time for myself?

Whether readers want to get more sleep, make and maintain a weight loss, stop checking their phone, or finish a project, habits make change possible. Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life.

Reading just a few chapters of Better Than Before will start readers working on their own habits - even before they've finished the book.

©2015 Gretchen Rubin (P)2015 John Murray Press

Critic Reviews

"Do you have a bad habit you're trying to shake, or a good one you wish you could cultivate? Gretchen Rubin is one of the most charming and erudite authors of her generation. Here, she uses her gifts to help you eat right, sleep well, stop procrastinating and start enjoying all that life has to offer." (Susan Cain, best-selling author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
"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 best-selling author of Thrive)
"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, bestselling author of The Power of Habit)
"Gretchen Rubin is a writer after my own heart - seriously brilliant, very warm, and funny. I think she's amazing." (Anne Lamott)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Excellent book..!!

Where does Better Than Before rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It is the very good book, best part about listening this is book is treat to listen Gretchen for 9 hours.. Good thing happened to be was, I started listening to her podcast much before I bought this book. so I was quite familiar with her voice and listening this book in her own voice was hell lot interesting . Book gave me good insight about knowing self .

What did you like best about this story?

Parts about different kinds of people. I found out that I'm an obliger.

What does Gretchen Rubin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Her voice :-)

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  • Em
  • New Zealand
  • 12-11-15

It's personal

I find Gretchen's thoughts and life philosophies interesting and relevant. I thought this book was much more of her own unscientific and unproven thoughts and ideas comparing it to "The Happiness Project" which was more about testing popular science recommendations. Still she sees things in a useful and thought provoking way and I enjoyed hearing her theories (I am a questioner)

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Useful, but flawed

What did you like best about Better Than Before? What did you like least?

Best parts where the actual useful classifications and concepts.<br/>The main issue I had was the way the concepts were elaborated upon.

Did Better Than Before inspire you to do anything?

Yes. It got me going with a habit or two I've wanted to start for a while, but couldn't bring myself to start due to previous failures.

Any additional comments?

Insightful and smart, but written for a different audience to myself.<br/>The author managed to pick up the intricacies of habit formation, but the way they're explained made me grind my teeth sometimes. I understand the thinking of trying to explain concepts using personal experience and anecdotes, but it gets tiring when it's done constantly and in such a "holier than though" manner. I really wanted to rate this better, since I did learn quite a bit and it definitely made me think, but ultimately it is a book, so spending a fair few hours rolling your eyes and clenching your jaw does gets very tiring.

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  • liz
  • 05-03-15

Rehash of First Book

I enjoyed the first book, however this is more of the same, less objective delivered with a big dollop of smugness. Disappointed.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Demetri
  • 06-13-15

Excellent, well worth listening to

Very practical advice on building effective habits. Found the insights in the book very useful indeed, especially the insight about what type of person you are: upholder, questioner, obliger or rebel.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Kat
  • 05-14-16

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

I loved this book. The book was insightful and offered alternative views to much of this genre. The ability to be liberated from decision by deciding once and just continuing that as a habit is a mantra I'm very happily living by. With personal references from differing personalities and perspectives there were real life examples that I've included in my own life. The research topic was broad and considered differing approaches for different personalities, differing motivational factors and different methods to sustain a habit. Highly recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Alid7600
  • 03-02-16

Brilliant!

I absolutely loved this book. I had bought it a while ago but hadn't got round to reading it. I wish I'd picked it up sooner. Made me completely rethink how to approach things in the future and I would actually like to read this book again, something I have never done before.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Connie
  • 01-25-16

Super helpful

Great tips and an easy read! I will listen again it was so good. This will probably help you in some way, loved it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Alexander
  • 10-14-15

Just perfect!

Why should I write mandatory 20 words review for an optional review here? :) I'm a 'questioner' btw. Read the book and you'll find out what I mean.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • andyjlockley
  • 10-20-17

Excellent booj

Anyone trying to improve themselves, their daily lives, their routines or just wanting to maximise their time should really check this book out.

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  • richard edwards
  • 08-12-17

Life changing

I'm about to re-listen to Better than Before. There was so much good stuff that I'll need a second pass. I enjoyed Gretchen's personable approach. and obvious enthusiasm for the subject. By being able to identify myself as an Obliger I have been able to make some decisions that will help me to succeed in areas where I have repeatedly failed previously. Thank you Gretchen.

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  • S. Armstrong
  • 06-15-16

Great reflection on what life can offer

Gretchen helps us take time to reelect on our lives and potentials with true stories and honest critique
A non pressured full hearted review to help us find what matters.

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  • Suzanne
  • 10-14-15

Inspiring

I found this book inspiring! Really useful for helping to shape your day for the better. It's already helped me to understand myself better and how to make changes that work for me.

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  • VP
  • 12-13-15

Too much fluff; too much!

A long book is a consequence of a long and masterful process of writing, or an attempt to fill up pages and turn a few ideas into sellable format.

Unfortunately, this book is the second.

Save your money and most importantly your time (being a long talk) and choose something else.

She uses the outdated technique of holding on to the main ideas and trying to build up anticipation.

I don't like leaving negative reviews, but I truly want to save the next person in search of truth some of their limited time.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Samaseena
  • 03-29-15

Loved this book

Loved it. Have just finished and am clicking play to listen to it all over again! Great ideas and lots of take aways.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • P M CODY
  • 10-05-16

One of the most useful books I've read this year!

I'm not the effusive type, so when I write a 5-star review it really does mean I've found the book to be enormously helpful, well-written, and engaging. The "four tendencies" framework makes sense to me and is a really useful filter for understanding why I do things, and, just as importantly, why I don't do things, and why motivational strategies that work for others don't often work well for me. I highly recommend this book! As an audiobook, I also loved the fact that Gretchen narrated it herself. Her voice is expressive, her diction clear, and she is very easy to listen to. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will undoubtedly listen again!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Matt
  • 04-15-16

Poor book well and truly in the Self help category

Struggled to finish - it's just a list of her thoughts collected into a sensible structure. No evidence, just her random thoughts. Very disappointing book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Christine
  • 06-23-15

Love this book and author so much

Gretchen Rubin has changed the way I look at the world. She speaks so honestly and defines habits in understandable terms. I highly recommend this book. I'm so happy I found it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Genevieve Walden
  • 11-06-17

Brilliant.

My friend had recommended I read this two years ago. Don't wait that long - I recommend reading it now. There was information on habits presented in a way I had never heard before, that are making a massive difference for me. Hope you enjoy!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-12-17

A life changer for me

The ideas in this book won't be for everyone, but they spoke to me and have been life-changing. Loved this book and how it's helping me shape a happier life's

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  • Ann
  • 05-08-16

Fabulous - a must have book.

What did you like most about Better Than Before?

I love the differentiation of this book it is not a one size fits all and it gives recommendations for different types of person e.g. larks or nightingales! Which makes perfect sense as we all have different strengths and weaknesses, likes, dislikes etc. This book helps you with the what and how of making change happen. It is so inspirational and motivating. Thank you Gretchen.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-11-16

Great advice and easy to follow

Really enjoyed listening & working out what would work for me. Couldn't wait for my next Gretchen Rubin fix. I have her previous books (e-book and actual) and this is the first one I have finished.

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  • Brett
  • 03-03-16

Very useful information.

I've learned some things that will help me a lot with my habits. Feels like I'm Better than Before!