“This book made me happy in the first five pages.” —AJ Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible
Award-winning author Gretchen Rubin is back with a bang, with The Happiness Project. The author of the bestselling 40 Ways to Look at Winston Churchill has produced a work that is “a cross between the Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love.” (Sonya Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want) In the vein of Julie and Julia, The Happiness Project describes one person’s year-long attempt to discover what leads to true contentment. Drawing at once on cutting-edge science, classical philosophy, and real-world applicability, Rubin has written an engaging, eminently relatable chronicle of transformation.
About the Author
I'm the author of the New York Times bestsellers "The Happiness Project," “Happier at Home” and “Better Than Before.” I write about my experiences as I test-drive the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about happiness, habits, and human nature. My next book will hit the shelves in summer 2017: “The Four Tendencies: The Surprising Truth about the Four Hidden Personality Types That Drive Everything We Do.”
Find out your Tendency—are you an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel?—when you take the free quiz at GretchenRubin.com.
Subscribe to my award-winning weekly podcast “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” (more than 1 million downloads each month) and hear my sister and I discuss strategies and tips for how to make your daily life happier. I also created an app to help people harness the power of the Four Tendencies. Learn more at BetterApp.us or search the app store for “Better Gretchen Rubin.”
My previous books include a bestselling biography of Winston Churchill, "Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill,” and one of John Kennedy, “Forty Ways to Look at JFK.” My first book, “Power Money Fame S..: A User's Guide,” is social criticism in the guise of a user's manual. I wrote “Profane Waste” in collaboration with artist Dana Hoey. I've also written three dreadful novels that are safely locked away in a drawer.
Before turning to writing, I had a career in law. A graduate of Yale and Yale Law School, I clerked for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. I live in New York City with my husband and two daughters.
Read an Excerpt
The Happiness ProjectOr, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun
By Gretchen Rubin
Harper PaperbacksCopyright © 2011 Gretchen Rubin
All right reserved.
Chapter OneLike 44 percent of Americans, I make
New Year's resolutionsand usually
don't keep them for long. How many times
had I resolved to exercise more, eat better, and
keep up with my e-mail in-box? This year,
though, I was making my resolutions in the
context of my happiness project, and I hoped
that would mean that I'd do a better job of
keeping them. To launch the new year and
my happiness project, I decided to focus on
boosting my energy. More vitality, I hoped,
would make it easier for me to stick to all
my happiness project resolutions in future
■ Go to sleep earlier.
■ Exercise better.
■ Toss, restore, organize.
■ Tackle a nagging task.
■ Act more energetic.
In a virtuous circle, research shows, being happy energizes you, and at the same time,
having more energy makes it easier for you to engage in activities
like socializing and exercisethat
boost happiness. Studies also show that when you feel energetic, your self
esteem rises. Feeling tired, on the other hand, makes everything seem
arduous. An activity that you'd ordinarily find fun, like putting up holiday
decorations, feels difficult, and a more demanding task, like learning a new
software program, feels overwhelming.
I know that when I feel energetic, I find it much easier to behave in
ways that make me happy. I take the time to e-mail the grandparents with
a report from the pediatrician's checkup. I don't scold when Eliza drops her
glass of milk on the rug just as we're leaving for school. I have the perseverance
to figure out why my computer screen is frozen. I take the time to put
my dishes in the dishwasher.
I decided to tackle both the physical and mental aspects of energy.
For my physical energy: I needed to make sure that I got enough
sleep and enough exercise. Although I'd already known that sleep and
exercise were important to good health, I'd been surprised to learn that
happiness which can seem like a complex, lofty, and intangible goalwas
quite influenced by these straightforward habits. For my mental energy: I
needed to tackle my apartment and office, which felt oppressively messy
and crowded. Outer order, I hoped, would bring inner peace. What's more,
I needed to clear away metaphorical clutter; I wanted to cross tasks off my
to do list. I added one last resolution that combined the mental and the
physical. Studies show that by acting as if you feel more energetic, you can
become more energetic. I was skeptical, but it seemed worth a try.
GO TO SLEEP EARLIER.
First: bodily energy.
A glamorous friend with a tendency to make sweeping pronouncements
had told me that "Sleep is the new sex," and I'd recently been at a
dinner party where each person at the table detailed the best nap he or she
had ever had, in lascivious detail, while everyone moaned in appreciation.
Millions of people fail to get the recommended seven to eight hours of
sleep a night, and one study revealed that along with tight work deadlines,
a bad night's sleep was one of the top two factors that upset people's daily
moods. Another study suggested that getting one extra hour of sleep each
night would do more for a person's daily happiness than getting a $60,000
raise. Nevertheless, the average adult sleeps only 6.9 hours during the
week, and 7.9 on the weekend20 percent less than in 1900. Although
people adjust to feeling sleepy, sleep deprivation impairs memory, weakens
the immune system, slows metabolism, and might, some studies suggest,
foster weight gain.
My new, not exactly startling resolution for getting more sleep was to
turn off the light. Too often I stayed up to read, answer e-mails, watch TV,
pay bills, or whatever, instead of going to bed.
Nevertheless, just a few days into the happiness project, although I
practically fell asleep on Eliza's purple sheets as I was tucking her in, I
wavered for a moment when Jamie proposed watching our latest Netflix
DVD, The Conversation. I love movies; I wanted to spend time with Jamie;
9:30 P.M. seemed a ridiculously early hour to go to bed; and I knew from
experience that if I started watching, I'd perk up. On the other hand, I felt
Why does it often seem more tiring to go to bed than to stay up?
Inertia, I suppose. Plus there's the pre-bed work of taking out my contact
lenses, brushing my teeth, and washing my face. But I'd made my resolution,
so resolutely I headed to bed. I slept eight solid hours and woke up
an hour early, at 5:30 A.M., so in addition to getting a good night's sleep,
I had the chance to do a peaceful block of work while my family was still
I'm a real know-it-all, so I was pleased when my sister called and
complained of insomnia. Elizabeth is five years younger than I am, but usually
I'm the one asking her for advice.
"I'm not getting any sleep," she said. "I've already given up caffeine.
What else can I do?"
"Lots of things," I said, prepared to rattle off the tips that I'd
uncovered in my research. "Near your bedtime, don't do any work that
requires alert thinking. Keep your bedroom slightly chilly. Do a few pre-bed
stretches. Alsothis is importantbecause light confuses the body's
circadian clock, keep the lights low around bedtime, say, if you go to the
bathroom. Also, make sure your room is very dark when the lights are out.
Like a hotel room."
"Do you really think it can make a difference?" she asked.
"All the studies say that it does."
I'd tried all these steps myself, and I'd found the last onekeeping
our bedroom darksurprisingly difficult to accomplish.
"What are you doing?" Jamie had asked one night when he caught me
rearranging various devices throughout our room.
"I'm trying to block the light from all these gizmos," I answered. "I
read that even a tiny light from a digital alarm clock can disrupt a sleep
cycle, and it's like a mad scientist's lab in here. Our Blackberrys, the
computer, the cable boxeverything blinks or glows bright green."
"Huh" was all he said, but he did help me move some things on the
nightstand to block the light coming from our alarm clock.
These changes did seem to make falling asleep easier. But I often lost
sleep for another reason: I'd wake up in the middle of the night
curiously, usually at 3:18 A.M.and be unable to go back to sleep. For those
nights, I developed another set of tricks. I breathed deeply and slowly until
I couldn't stand it anymore. When my mind was racing with a to do list,
I wrote everything down. There's evidence that too little blood flow to
the extremities can keep you awake, so if my feet were cold, I put on wool
sockswhich, though it made me feel frumpish, did seem to help.
Two of my most useful getting to sleep strategies were my own invention.
First, I tried to get ready for bed well before bedtime. Sometimes
I stayed up late because I was too tired to take out my contactsplus,
putting on my glasses had an effect like putting the cover on the parrot's
cage. Also, if I woke up in the night, I'd tell myself, "I have to get up in
two minutes." I'd imagine that I'd just hit the snooze alarm and in two
minutes, I'd have to march through my morning routine. Often this was
an exhausting enough prospect to make me fall asleep.
And sometimes I gave up and took an Ambien.
After a week or so of more sleep, I began to feel a real difference. I felt
more energetic and cheerful with my children in the morning. I didn't feel
a painful, never fulfilled urge to take a nap in the afternoon. Getting out
of bed in the morning was no longer torture; it's so much nicer to wake up
naturally instead of being jerked out of sleep by a buzzing alarm.
Nevertheless, despite all the benefits, I still struggled to put myself
to bed as soon as I felt sleepy. Those last few hours of the day were
preciouswhen the workday was finished, Jamie was home, my daughters
were asleep, and I had some free time. Only the daily reminder on my
Resolutions Chart kept me from staying up until midnight most nights.
There's a staggering amount of evidence to show that exercise is good for
you. Among other benefits, people who exercise are healthier, think more
clearly, sleep better, and have delayed onset of dementia. Regular exercise
boosts energy levels; although some people assume that working out is
tiring, in fact, it boosts energy, especially in sedentary peopleof whom
there are many. A recent study showed that 25 percent of Americans don't
get any exercise at all. Just by exercising twenty minutes a day three days a
week for six weeks, persistently tired people boosted their energy.
Even knowing all these benefits, though, you can find it difficult to change
from a couch potato into a gym enthusiast. Many years ago, I'd managed to
turn myself into a regular exerciser, but it hadn't been easy. My idea of fun
has always been to lie in bed reading. Preferably while eating a snack.
When I was in high school, I wanted to redecorate my bedroom to
replace the stylized flowered wallpaper that I thought wasn't sufficiently
sophisticated for a freshman, and I wrote a long proposal laying out my
argument to my parents. My father considered the proposal and said, "All
right, we'll redecorate your room. But in return, you have to do something
four times a week for twenty minutes."
"What do I have to do?" I asked, suspicious.
"You have to take it or leave it. It's twenty minutes. How bad can
"Okay, I'll take the deal," I decided. "What do I have to do?"
His answer: "Go for a run."
My father, himself a dedicated runner, never told me how far I had to
run or how fast; he didn't even keep track of whether I went for twenty
minutes. All he asked was that I put on my running shoes and shut the
door behind me. My father's deal got me to commit to a routine, and once
I started running, I found that I didn't mind exercising, I just didn't like
My father's approach might well have backfired. With extrinsic
motivation, people act to win external rewards or avoid external punishments;
with intrinsic motivation, people act for their own satisfaction. Studies
show that if you reward people for doing an activity, they often stop
doing it for fun; being paid turns it into "work." Parents, for example,
are warned not to reward children for readingthey're teaching kids to
read for a reward, not for pleasure. By giving me an extrinsic motivation,
my father risked sapping my inclination to exercise on my own. As
it happened, in my case, he provided an extrinsic motivation that
unleashed my intrinsic motivation.
Ever since that room redecoration, I've been exercising regularly. I never
push myself hard, but I get myself out the door several times a week. For
a long time, however, I'd been thinking that I really should start strength
training. Lifting weights increases muscle mass, strengthens bones, firms
the core, andI admit, most important to meimproves shape. People
who work out with weights maintain more muscle and gain less fat as they
age. A few times over the years, I'd halfheartedly tried lifting weights, but
I'd never stuck to it; now, with my resolution to "Exercise better," it was
time to start.
There's a Buddhist saying that I've found to be uncannily true: "When
the student is ready, the teacher appears." Just a few days after I committed
to my resolution to "exercise better," I met a friend for coffee, and she
mentioned that she'd started a great weight training program at a gym in
"I don't like the idea of working out with a trainer," I objected. "I'd feel
self conscious, and it's expensive. I want to do it on my own."
"Try it," my friend urged. "I promise, you'll love it. It's a super efficient
way to exercise. The whole workout takes only twenty minutes. Plus"she
paused dramatically"you don't sweat. You work out without having to
This was a major selling point. I dislike taking showers. "But," I asked
doubtfully, "how can a good workout take only twenty minutes if you're
not even sweating?"
"You lift weights at the very outer limit of your strength. You don't do
many repetitions, and you do only one set. Believe me, it works. I love it."
In Daniel Gilbert's book 'Stumbling on Happiness", he argues that the
most effective way to judge whether a particular course of action will make
you happy in the future is to ask people who are following that course of
action right now if they're happy and assume that you'll feel the same way.
According to his theory, the fact that my friend raved about this fitness
routine was a pretty good indicator that I'd be enthusiastic, too. Also, I
reminded myself, one of my Secrets of Adulthood was "Most decisions don't
require extensive research."
Excerpted from The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin Copyright © 2011 by Gretchen Rubin. Excerpted by permission of Harper Paperbacks. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
A Note to the Reader xvii
Getting Started 1
1 January: Boost Energy 17
2 February: Remember Love 38
3 March: Aim Higher 69
4 April: Lighten Up 90
5 May: Be Serious About Play 112
6 June: Make Time for Friends 141
7 July: Buy Some Happiness 165
8 August: Contemplate the Heavens 194
9 September: Pursue a Passion 221
10 October: Pay Attention 235
11 November: Keep a Contented Heart 258
12 December: Boot Camp Perfect 277
Your Happiness Project 295
Reading Group Guide 309
Suggestions for Further Readings 311
What People are Saying About This
“For those who generally loathe the self-help genre, Rubin’s book is a breath of peppermint-scented air. Well-researched and sharply written. . . . Rubin takes an orderly, methodical approach to forging her own path to a happier state of mind.”
“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.”
“An enlightening, laugh-aloud read. . . . Filled with open, honest glimpses into [Rubin’s] real life, woven together with constant doses of humor.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Anyone who knows me well knows that I love a great self-help book. There are a plethora of these titles in any bookstore, and unfortunately, many of them are just too abstract for the everyday person. What makes "The Happiness Project" so wonderful is that anyone can relate. Who doesn't want to be happy? One year, Gretchen Rubin decides to forego the specific New Year's resolutions that so many of us break by January 3rd. Eat right, exercise more, watch less TV, blah, blah, blah. Instead, she decides that she wants to become happier. To accomplish this, she decides on 12 specific areas where she would like to become happier in her life, and then sets mini-goals for herself each month. For example, the area to be happier in May is "Leisure". Rubin's goals in May are find more fun, take time to be silly, go off the path, and start a collection. I found myself laughing, nodding my head with understanding, and "Ah-hah-ing" at almost every page. I found the month about contemplating the heavens to be most profound. To be happier, read memoirs of catastrophe?? Yes, if you want to be happy with and appreciate what you have, read the diaries of people who have just been diagnosed with cancer or survived a plane crash. Maybe the little things in life (Why isn't he going the speed limit?) won't bother you as much. Journal writing is way too overwhelming for me to do each day. Rubin suggests a one-sentence journal, where you write one thing that happened that day that you never want to forget. It's the little things like these that make this book joyous to read and makes you think about starting your own happiness project. Don't worry, be _____. MY RATING - 5/5 To see my rating scale and other book reviews, please check out my blog: www.1776books.blogspot.com.
What a wonderful book to start the new year with, especially after a year like 2009, and no surprise that it's been chosen by Oprah's book club. Rubin's project can easily become your own as it's filled with practical tips, without being preachy, that anyone could do. This is much more than self-help; it's a compulsively readable narrative, thanks to Gretchen's funny and insightful anecdotes (which also examine her shortcomings and failures alongside the happier successes) and thoughtful research ranging from Aristotle and Tolstoy to Ben Franklin and Samuel Johnson. I highly recommend checking out the happiness toolbox on Rubin's blog at happinessprojecttoolbox.com
I read this book for a book club I recently joined. It was really hard to get into because I felt like the author made it seem way too hard to be happy. The amount of research she did (and mentioned constantly) made me feel like I was reading a textbook at times. Near the middle of book, I began to like the author for being candid and honest. I realized that her happiness project worked for her and I saw how others could be inspired by her. Personally, I wrote down 3 things I wanted to do in the next year to make myself happier-organize my house, be nicer to my husband, and enjoy the time I do get to myself. So overall, I got her message. I did not love the book, but I can see why others who need a little inspiration would.
Why do we only think about our own happiness when we are in the face of some traumatic event or some overwhelming depression? Regardless of how happy you might be, there is always the possibility of finding more happiness and this book is about one woman's attempt at finding simple ways of creating more. Without making major changes, like moving or changing jobs, she instead makes simple resolutions, such as singing in the morning and walking more. This is a book which is almost guaranteed to bring more joy and appreciation into your life.
While it might be easy to dismiss Gretchen as someone who already has it all, "what's she got to be unhappy about?" I've learned from her that happiness isn't in what you have or don't have, it's all in the approach. During a miserable 12 months where a number of stressful, bad things happened to me and my family, advice and information from The Happiness Project blog lifted me up. I actually feel happier now than I did before my misfortunes began. I am NOT a fan of self-help programs, never done one, but The Happiness Project has seeped its way into my attitude and my behaviors everyday. I can't wait to read this book and I know a number of people I'm going to share it with.
I picked this up in my local bookstore and was really delighted by something on almost every page. it's filled with helpful information, great stories of someone who made a commitment to happiness in their life and chronicles how they kept it. if you have really serious issues, then achieving happiness might require more than singing in the morning and cleaning closets but even so this will put you in the right mindset to tackle whatever those larger problems are. i'm not a fan of self help generally and picked this up because i loved the cover but i was hugely impressive with the lightness of touch and the quality of her research. i highly recommend.
The fundamental premise of this book is your basic: "you can't choose what happens, you can only choose how you react." Happiness is a choice. A simple but very profound principle and one that is much easier to "believe" than it is to "employ". Rubin lists a series of philosophers and other thinkers and researchers who have studied "happiness" from a variety of perspectives and historical periods, and she references some of their discoveries/conclusions, but her researches are background, not foreground. Instead of attempting some kind of summary or new perspective on existing "knowledge" she undertakes something equally if not more interesting, which is to systematically apply what she has learned and evaluate results in real life, her life. The fact that she uses her own life as the test case seems to infuriate some people. I think they're missing a couple of points. First, happiness is clearly relative and contextual. To engage in "my unhappiness is legitimate but yours isn't" is a kind of chauvinism. It also illustrates the sort of mindset that Rubin has the courage to actually explore and face, rather than rationalize and hide from. Second, ourselves is all we have to work with - while we can influence others, in the end, they have the power to do, be, feel whatever they choose. The only person we have the power to change is our self. So Rubin evaluates her life and hones in on attitudes, beliefs and behaviors OF HER OWN that contribute to a lack of happiness in her life. She realizes that when her mood is bad it affects her husband and children as well as herself. She realizes that simply exercising restraint, thoughtfulness, patience, etc. makes her happier AND makes her loved ones happier. On the surface most of her realizations seem obvious enough, but that's like saying you can lose weight by exercising more and eating less. Simple, but very hard to put into practice. Rubin makes the point that "happiness" is subjective and that each of us needs to decide what it means to us. Having done that, her message is that we can engage in concrete activities and behaviors that will increase the happiness in our lives. She moves happiness from the passive state to the active - we can go after it rather than sitting around waiting for it to hopefully arrive. The unstated corollary to "taking responsibility for your own happiness" is that unhappiness is your responsibility as well. This is the other sore spot that many people are sensitive to. If happiness is a choice, then so is unhappiness. If unhappiness is a choice, well, what are the implications of that? That's where the hard work really starts. How people feel about their lives is typically the result of a network of surface and unexplored beliefs, developed and inherited (ie. again, unexplored) attitudes, experiences, etc. The notion that you can actually take a close look at what makes up your worldview and, perhaps, change it for the better, is alien to most, and resisted by many. This book serves as a starting point for the explorers who are willing to step up and take a stab at living purposefully and with their eyes open to their own contribution to their experience of life. Meanwhile, those who respond with hostility should really ask themselves what beliefs are being threatened. It would be illuminating and might just start them down an interesting path.
I find it very hard to relate to Rubin when she tells the reader right in the beginning she's already happy and that she and her family live in New York's Upper East Side.
Having recently read Eat, pray, Love, I was primed for another book about improving one's life. Having become used to Elizabeth Gilbert's often playful, self-deprecating tongue-in-cheek style, I found the terse and to-the-point tone of this narrative hard to get into at first. But I was quickly won over by Rubin's brilliance and the sheer simplicity of the project. There is no trekking through Indonesia or any other grandiose schemes that are likely not possible for a lot of us given our obligations with work and family. Nor is there any specific catastrophe like illness or divorce to prompt her: she resolves one day to try to be happier person, realizing that life is passing by quickly, and that her appreciation for it is not always where it should be. She chooses a mini project per month to focus on- small and practical little things we can all do to improve our attitude, change destructive behaviors, etc. Each month's topic is subdivided into different aspects of the monthly topic. Laugh more, be grateful, "spend out" (my favorite) are some of the mini-resolutions. The impressively detailed analysis of how to go about achieving them, why each approach worked or didn't work and what to do about it keep this book from becoming preachy and alienating. What makes this book a must-read is how thoroughly Rubin examines her own flaws and neuroses that sometimes contribute to her dissatisfaction; tendencies that many of us ambitious, work-stressed, perfectionist souls can relate to. She also draws on a vast array of ideas from great philosophers in each analysis to support her observations. Rubin keeps her progress and failures charted, siting increased accountability, and blogs about her project. Further, she discloses excerpts from bloggers commenting on the monthly topic at hand, and then reflects on patterns that clearly demonstrate what tendencies are inherent in modern American culture. Again, no grandiosity here- no chanting Buddhist prayers in a Indian shrine while fasting. If this book does not inspire you to start changing your life, you will at the very least feel comforted by the kindred spirit in Rubin.
This book is wonderful. I brought several copies for Christmas gifts. I also want to thank whoever recommended "When God Stopped Keeping Score." That book has changed my life for the better. I suggest you buy a copy of that too. It is a welcomed companion to the Happiness Project.
Ms. Rubin's account of how her Happiness Project is interesting but I found most of it not really original. She tends to reiterate everything she has read on the subject and how she attempts to try these methods to her own life which already seems pretty happy. Has she ever really experienced any difficulties in her life? Any tragedies? This is not to say one has to - to understand happiness but it gives some perspective to it. Whereas to understand tragedy - she had to read about it. From what she describes she has a rather "perfect" life so it is hard to take her to seriously. If she didn't feel "happy" with her life then I think she perhaps needs to look more at her psyche. She seems to have no real struggles like most of us - money issues, family issues, work issues etc. Ms. Rubin is obviously an extremely intelligent person with a wonderful family, a great job, great education, wonderful parents and in-laws - I think Ms. Rubin is probably inspiring many of her readers - so I guess that is a good thing!
3.5 Stars Gretchen Rubin realizes that she is focuses more on the busy daily tasks, but not the important things in life. She decides to sit down and plan a new way of life for the following year. Her path to happiness begins on January 1st and focuses on different aspects each month. This book chronicles her journey throughout the entire year. I recommend reading this book in small doses. Pick a topic that you want to learn about and read just that chapter. I tried to read it straight through, but it became tiresome and defeated the main purpose. The author leads a decent life beforehand, and is happy, but this journey focuses on how everyone can be happier, more appreciative and less stressed. Notes: This book was read as part of the #ForgottenBookChallenge. This review was originally posted on the Ariesgrl Book Reviews website.
This book was so inspiring. I feel like Gretchen was writing to me specifically, she writes like she's talking to a girlfriend. Even though I wasn't interested in trying everything she was willing to do, I was fascinated how it played out for her. I think everyone can read this and take something positive to incorporate in their everyday. I truly believe making positive choices in everyday life can transform you and the people around you. I feel like she did all the research I've been wanting to do about being happy. She also has a great website in conjunction with book
I really wanted to like this book but it just didn't grab me.
I read this for my book club; it wasn't great for conversation, however everyone enjoyed reading it and thinking about how to apply some of her principles to their life. I was especially interested in the book for my daughter who has been going through a difficult time. Would recommend to someone who needs help in finding new direction.
I read "Eat Love Pray" and hated it because I found the author to be nauseatingly self indulgent...I got to skipping through the book and threw it out thinking, "Who CARES?!" So, when this book came out, I was a little unsure about buying it, wondering if it would be written in a similar fashion. Initially, I only downloaded a sample...and then I fell in love with it. I have been reading "The Happiness Project" slowly, really taking my time and I am enjoying it immensely. Instead of coming off as being completely self indulgent like the other book, Ms. Rubin is the real deal. She shares so much of herself and her life with the reader and is genuine in her desire to understand herself better and reach her goals; she is able to pick herself apart and be honest about her shortcomings and where she needs to focus in order to reach her goals. Ms. Rubin's story about her research has inspired me to focus more on living in the moment and being happy - making a choice to be happy. I've also visited her website, www.happiness-project.com and have read through her blog and other posters. The response has been amazing. Worth buying and keeping.
Like Gretchen I have a great husband great chidren and incredible grandchildren. I live in a nice house, I have enough money, I have an incredible extended family, BUT I'm not Happy. My husband claims all he wants is for me to be Happy. I just finished the book, and had many AH HA moments. My Happiness Project is different from the author's. I started it before I read the book, after reading about the book in a magazine. I recognize myself in almost everey chapter. I am resolved to continue my Happiness Project, and to make changes in my life that will enable me to say "I'm Happy"
This book was a rarity. It was able to inspire and inform in the best way possible. One page I would be crying and the next laughing harder than I had laughed all day, but the best part was that this book got me thinking. It made me look at my own life and take notice of the little ways that I prevent my own happiness, and showed simple and pain-free ways to make little changes that result in greater happiness. This book didn't push anyone to do exactly as the author did, and never was too preachy. After reading this I am inspired to look at what I want in life and take the chance to be my happiness. Hopefully I can complete my own variation of this incredible journey. This was truly a great read and I recommend it to anyone and everyone.
Down-to-earth and insightful. I kept thinking, "Why haven't I ever thought of things that way before?" and now I'm glad that I do. Based on other reviews, I think you'll like this book if you're in a place in your life where you want to. I don't have much in common with the author (not married, no kids etc.) but was able to really relate to the simple truths in this book because I was looking for them. It seems like many who read it as a book club disliked it because they weren't personally looking for what the book has to offer.
I fell in love with this book. It is full of ideas and quotes. I also ordered several more of her books.
Our Book Club reviewed this book last night. It was generally well received. I was especially thankful the author made the differentiation between depression and being unhappy. I suffer from bipolar disease and taking medication allows me to be "happy" and "unhappy".....If I am depressed, none of these ideas to be HAPPY mean much. I am one of the lucky ones....that can feel happy. Medications work for me. It was good to be reminded to find joy in the small parts of our lives. I do!
Now I remember why I long ago quit reading self-help books. LLL
It's all about working towards happiness. It presents an inspiring example of how one woman changed took steps to fill her life with happiness. It's simple, straight-forward, and inspiring. It empowers the individual to define their own happiness and pursue it in their own way, while also suggesting a structure. It's great as a reference tool, but also simple an uplifting read.
I really love this book for one or a million reasons, mostly because if you are having an urge to read about one purticular aspect, Gretchen covers it all. Also, I understand where the negative reveiws are coming from, but just a reminder, that is your opinion. Other people have different opinions, so it's nice to include that that is your opinion, good creative wording in your insults though. Great book. (In my opinion. ;))
Gretchen really gives you things to think about and focus on in life. It's true, her life is not exactly as all others, but she displays a layout to get you started on your own Happiness Project, which I plan on doing so myself. Being alive and truly living are definitely two different things, I've always known that I was going through the motions and not focusing on the little things that could potentially expand my happiness.