by Gretchen Rubin
My rating: 4/5 Ravens
Synopsis: 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 bestselling 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 twelve 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.
Written with charm and wit, The Happiness Project is illuminating yet entertaining, thought-provoking yet compulsively readable. Gretchen Rubin's passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading just a few chapters of this book will inspire you to start your own happiness project.
Review: I saw this book at the store the other day in passing and decided to
give it a try. I liked the way Ms. Ruben set up her book. The by-month
system worked well for me as a reader and I liked that I could
organize her thoughts.
I enjoyed the way Ms. Ruben always gave examples of what she was
up to and how she did or didn't accomplish her resolution. I did not
like the many many pages devoted to what her blog commenters had to
say about certain things. Don't get me wrong, I love to hear what
others have to say but not in your book that is about YOUR project. An
interjection with a commenter's thought or quote here and there would
have been sufficient, not in every chapter after she made her blog.
I loved getting to know Ms. Ruben's family. I have never met her,
her children, or her husband but I feel like I know them all and would
be thrilled to meet any of them. I liked how Ms. Ruben didn't place
herself on a pedistal or sell herself short. Her account of the
project seemed very accurate and I liked that she included her
triumphs and her failures.
I enjoyed this book very much and would love to read others like
it by Ms. Ruben. As far as setting up your own Happiness Project the
book gives a general outline on how to do it but I think in order to
attempt it myself I would need more help than just the book provided.
Also, she included a suggested reading section that rocked. My
favorite part of the book!
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