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Editor’s Note

“Attainable Happiness...”

Funny, moving, thoughtful, and highly relatable, this million-selling memoir details one woman's year-long journey to become happier.
Scribd Editor

“Wonderful. . . . Rubin shows how you can be happier, starting right now, with small, actionable steps accessible to everyone.” —Julie Morgenstern, New York Times bestselling author of Organizing from the Inside Out

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—now updated with new material by the author—Rubin 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. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference.

“An enlightening, laugh-aloud read.”—Christian Science Monitor

This updated edition includes:

·      A new extensive interview with the author

·      Secrets of Adulthood

·      An excerpt from Gretchen Rubin’s new book, Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits—to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life

Topics: United States of America, New York City, Episodic, Inspirational, Happiness, Family, Love, Marriage, Mindfulness, Spirituality , Productivity, Parenting, Career, Journeys, and Female Author

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061962066
List price: $10.99
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An enjoyable read peppered with interesting studies on happiness (which could have used some citations). To me, The Happiness Project read like a novel with the author and her family being the characters. I enjoyed getting to know all of them in addition to gaining insight into happiness. I will be buying this book so that I can highlight the points that really hit me. I am also looking forward to starting a happiness project of my own; I could really use one since my life has gotten into a slump ever since starting full time work after graduating from college several years ago. I will definitely do some things differently than Gretchen Rubin did. I found some of her resolutions were too vague and difficult to measure whether you've accomplished them, even though at the end of the book she gives the advice to have specific, measurable resolutions *shrugs* There also is not very much guidance on how to set up a happiness project of your own unless you want to go the route the author did and do research on happiness first and then put your project together from scratch. I'm not interested in doing months of research on happiness, so I will be visiting her web site where a happiness project toolbox is available. Hopefully that has a nice outline of all her research so it will be easy to customize it to my personality.
According to Gretchen Rubin, there are many things in my life that I have been doing/not doing that are working against my happiness. I gave this book 5 stars because it gave me the gift of hope, the hope that maybe I can make my life sparkly and fun again ;)
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Read from May 16 to June 01, 2011Happiness is defined a little differently by everyone. Reading a book and sitting in the sun makes me happy. Other people like to go to concerts and stand in a crowd (that stresses me out). While Rubin's happiness isn't mine, her book lays out a really nice guide for someone that might want to complete their own happiness project.more
I loved this book! It is thoughtful, funny, and inspiring. I find myself bringing it up in everyday conversation to friends, coworkers, and family members. I'm glad I own a copy -- I know I'll want to refer to it again and loan it to friends. Last night I started my one-sentence journal, and I suspect I'll be implementing more of Rubin's ideas.more
I'm really quite torn as to what I feel about this book. On one hand, I did mostly enjoy it and I took from it some helpful ideas. On the other hand....some of the negative reviews of this book make some very good points.

1.) I really am growing weary of the "stunt" genre of books. Do something for a year, write a book about it. It was interesting the first few go-rounds, but it's losing its appeal.

2.) The author really is not particularly likeable. Maybe she's nicer in person, but she casts herself as a bit of a shrew. As I was reading through the marriage chapter (chapter 2, perhaps?), all I could think was, "Good God, I'm glad I'm not married to her." She strikes me as nagging, unpleasant, and intent upon bringing everyone down to make herself feel better. I suppose she gets points for honestly, but not for much else. (And what's with her emailing her husband throughout the day, and then getting snippy because he doesn't respond? Is she his mother? Does he need to check in with her regularly? I found this especially bizarre.)

3.) She is without a doubt a woman of a certain privilege. I suspect she came from money and she certainly married into it. It's all well and good to tell me to take time for myself, take classes, exercise more, etc... I understand she's right about these things. But as a single, working mother, my life is vastly different from hers. Not everyone has the time, money, and other resources readily available to her. This is not to say that I gleaned nothing from this book, but I just can't imagine that many people would find her very relateable.

4.) She really doesn't say anything new. I think we all already know most of her "epiphanies": money may not buy happiness, but it certainly makes it easier; regular exercise makes you happier; hobbies, friends, and a social life will make you happier; etc... While her conscious effort to do all these things (in a year, natch) is perhaps unique, not much of the information contained herein is.

5.) I felt like a fairly big chunk of this book was devoted to quoting comments from her blog. I also feel like these quotes were not separated from her writing very clearly. Perhaps it was a problem unique to the Kindle version, but several times I found myself wondering, "Is this Gretchen or someone else?"

Over all, I wish I could give the book 2.5 stars. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great. It was ok. I can't say that I regret reading it, but I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it to a friend, either.more
This showed up on the Kindle bestsellers list and I was somewhat intrigued. I loved how many historic quotations she included but not the sections to which I could not relate--especially the pages and pages about raising kids and improving a marriage. But, other than that, I was really interested.

I've been trying to practice some of the tactics she mentions and I find myself noticing more things that I do--good and bad. I guess it's made me more mindful.

I've never read a book like this--I'm not sure if I'd categorize it as a "self-help" book. Rather, I guess it is a method journalism book, though it seems the author doesn't really enjoy being part of a trend. She spent a year researching happiness and trying all sorts of resolutions and, you know what, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about it!

After all was said and done, I had over 60 Kindle bookmarks throughout the text and tons of quotes to add to my collection:-)more
Well, I found this easier (and faster) reading than I expected. It was actually almost painless, as opposed to the chore I'd set myself up for. While the author's tone of bourgeois entitlement grated intermittently, there were enough nuggets (interesting, useful, or both) along the way to keep it worthwhile. What I liked best were the literary and "scientific" bases for her efforts that she kept throwing in. Even during the "money" and "spirituality" chapters (two hot-button topics for me), it moved along smoothly. It's this month's book group selection, and I think it provides plenty of fodder for a meaty discussion.more
Although this was another 'follow me for a year as I change myself by doing something special' themed book - I thought there were enough differences that made it unique. I was inspired to take notes about things I could do in my own life as a 'happiness project,' and I plan to go to the website that the author started while writing the book to get ideas and see what other people have experienced.more
I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunatly, it failed to live up to them. There were some chapters I really liked, for example, the first chapter which was about getting more sleep and being more organized - two things I need to work on. And there were chapters I skimmed through because they bored me, like the chapter on writing a novel (I read and publish books, but have no interest in writing them.) But what I disliked the most about the book was the tone. Rubin wrote as if she were researching a dissertation, not trying to improve her happiness. She questions the success of her hapiness project throughout the book, often asking other people if she "seems happier". If you have to ask, you're probably not......more
Some of the chapters were most intriguing, esp. the January and September. Personally, I think this is unrealistic to try to tackle so much in one year. Many of the girls in book club agreed with this assessment. We also felt that it would be interesting to give it to our daughters and have them read it and then compare our reactions. This book has many good ideas and I would like to tackle a few of them. I just think that overwhelming oneself can also bring unhappiness. We all agreed that everyone's happiness project will be different and the plan has to be tailored for each and every person.more
Most did not like this book....alot! Author was too preachy & not relatable to the general public. Not a recomended read.more
A systematic, research-driven plan to build a happier life. Totally matches my personality. And a pleasant read, to boot.more
This book sat on my "to read" shelf for months patiently waiting until I saw a one minute video sent through Rubin's email newsletter. I immediately went to my shelf, grabbed the book and started reading it. I kept a highlighter attached to the book because there was so much I wanted to remember. It isn't that I feel unhappy or unsatisfied in my life, but I was hoping that this would point me towards some sort of direction. THE HAPPINESS PROJECT would be an excellent book to read anytime, but especially as a way to start off the new year. If you are looking for a book to help you in setting your goals and resolutions for 2013, I suggest starting it soon so January 1st, you can start implementing your plan. Each chapter is broken up by months and focuses then on specific tasks to conquer for that month. By setting goals and then breaking them up into manageable tasks to accomplish each month you are able really get a handle on improving your attitude, your motivation, and your life.Rubin not only focuses on improving your life but those who are around you on a daily basis. That saying "If Mom isn't happy, then no one is happy" is so true. I know from experience, that if I start the day crabby, the whole house is crabby. This book really forces you to dig deep and by making new choices and improving your life, those in your circle (work, home, friends, family) will notice a difference. Some of my favorite passages from the book include:The days are long, but the years are shortEach member of a family picks up and reflects everyone else's emotions - but of course I could change no one actions but my own.One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.Give thanks: for the ordinary and the extraordinary.It takes at least 5 positive marital actions to offset one critical or destructive action. When one couple's interactions are usually loving and kind, it's much easier to disregard the occasional unpleasant exchange.I could have written many other passages, but these were my top 5. Each of them are so simple and yet so profound, at least to me.Rubin ends her book with ways to create your own Happiness Project along with pages of helpful tips for every facet of your life. There is also an excellent discussion guide at the end if you choose to read this with your book club. You can also sign up to receive daily emails from Rubin that include happiness quotes and tips for managing your life. These emails really boost my day.If you are looking for something to get you back in charge of your life, this book is most definitely for you. Rubin has also come out with her next book HAPPIER AT HOME. I have yet to pick this up, but it is on my list.more
This audio is inspiring and unique in that she is an ordinary person trying out happiness advice that she thoroughly researched. The format acts like a refresher on happiness for she talks about a theory and then what she will try and then how it worked out. It doesn’t always work but that is what makes this audio real. One definition I really liked was "You achieve a goal but keep a resolution."more
Interesting mix of both the scope of research on happiness and reflections on the author's personal quest for the same. Ms. Rubin makes clear that each person's journey must be his/her own, but provides plenty of examples from her own experience. I liked that she wasn't afraid to point out her own failings along the way.more
Although some of the advice is trite, for the most part the author understands that and offers to show how what she practices can really make a difference. Different parts have really been helpful for me and have come up. Do a nagging chore! Worth rereading again.more
The Happiness Project Book Review by Tyler BoeseI finished reading the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. This book is about the authors’ real life journey towards greater personal happiness. Although the challenge of becoming happy might sound easy, Rubin dives deep into the psychology of what makes humans happy. She cites many psychological research studies that are often at odds with conventional wisdom.To make the story more interesting Gretchen uses introspection, self-observation, by trying to put the science into action in her own life. Introspection was a study method used in the early days of psychology. Since happiness is completely subjective to personal experience Gretchen makes no attempt of claiming the keys to happiness. However, I believe that because I read this book I have a clearer understanding of how happiness works and behaviors I can take to improve my own happiness. The pieces of the book I found most interesting were the studies conducted by psychologists. These stories fit with what I have been learning in class, and are applicable in my own mini happiness project. A study found a positive correlation between happiness and amount of social interaction with women. Both men and women find relationships with women to be more intimate and enjoyable than those with men. Time spent with men did not make a difference (Rubin 52). This is probably because women are generally more nurturing.Recent research indicates half an individual’s total level of happiness is determined by genetics. External circumstances such as wealth, marital status, and health account for nearly twenty percent. The rest is determined by how someone thinks and acts (Rubin 6). I checked this on the internet. Psychological research case studies at the U of M also support the genetic view of happiness as well. They did this by measuring happiness in genetically identical twins from Minnesota. The study found that differences in circumstances neither decreased nor increased life satisfaction (Tellegen). Even marriage had a less than a one-percent impact on reported happiness between twins!One thing that psychologists have found that influences happiness is perception. In the United States overall wealth seems to be correlated with happiness. Half of all people making $100,000 reported being very happy (Rubin 166). Each step down the pay scale results in a lower level of reported happiness. Only24% of people earning less than $30,000 reported being very happy. It also might be the case that happiness’ causes financial success because happy people are more positive, creative, and welcoming to be around. Perceived relative wealth also matters. In a survey more people said they would like to earn $50,000 and work in an environment with others who earned $25,000, than earn $100,000 in an environment with others who earned $250,000 (Rubin 166). One study mentioned in the book found that an extra hour of sleep each night would do more for person’s daily happiness than getting a $60,000 raise (Rubin 18). I did some fact checking on the internet and found the psychologist cited was Norbert Schwarz, Ph.D. (Barnett). Myself, I would much rather have my college tuition paid off with seven hours of sleep instead of eight. It was also found that a bad night’s sleep was one of the top two factors that upset a person’s daily mood. I learned this at the same time our class was learning about sleep. After learning that poor sleep leads to weight gain, poor working memory, and a weakened immune system I have placed a higher priority on sleep in my daily life. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a general view on the assumptions of happiness. Although I do still have reservations about believing such surprising evidence studies; I am now more aware of the factors that influence happiness such as relative wealth, genetics, and time spent interacting with women. Three and a half stars out of five. Works CitedBarnett, Robert. Parenting. n.d. 29 February 2012 .Rubin, Gretchen. The Happiness Project. Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. New Yourk: Harper Collins, 2009.Tellegen, David Lykken and Auke. Psyc.umn. 1996. 29 March 2012 .more
I've been reading Gretchen Rubin's blog for so long that I feel like she's a personal friend. Unfortunately, I've also been reading it for so long that I didn't think the book would have much new to offer, but I was wrong about that. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I don't generally care for personal memoirs like this one. Whether I liked it so much because I have a lot of experience with the author or because we are similar souls (goal-oriented, driven by reward and acknowledgement, and tending toward argumentativeness), I can't honestly say, but I'm inclined to suggest that it was because the format of the book is very user-friendly and accessible and Rubin's voice is charming and frank. Plus, she really has done a remarkable amount of research in a number of different fields that she pulls together very nicely. In spite of a lot of information from studies and experts (and a lot of inspirational quotes) the flow of the book is exceptional. You never feel like you're being fed a research project. Instead it feels like a personal memoir by someone who just happens to be extremely well-informed. The worst thing I can say about it is that I bought it on the Kindle, and now I want to be able to loan it to people--so I'm going to have to buy a hard copy.more
I feel like I'm five staring so much this year, but... this book is really fantastic. Some of it didn't apply to me, but I didn't expect it to (Gretchen and I live such vastly different lives, on different coasts of the US). She's charming, and I think my favorite part of the entire book was her explaining how she put her resolutions with her husband into motion and how having a better relationship with him was helping her happiness.Even if you don't define yourself as "unhappy", this book can have some valuable insights, it provides a lot of food for thought that I don't think I would have heard of otherwise. The list at the back for further reading is also really valuable--I hope to delve into them soon.It's worth the read, and probably the purchase! Definitely adding it to the list of books I need to buy.more
A worthwhile addition to the admittedly overfilled category of 'stunt nonfiction' (as Ms Rubin herself labels it). The book serves up what seems like an enormous amount of research into the subject in an accessible and deceptively light handed way.more
The Happiness Project follows the yearlong attempt of Gretchen Rubin to be a happier person. Already well-off with a nice life, it might be easy to dismiss Rubin's attempts, but she acknowledges her privilege, and states her desire to simply appreciate what she has and fully embrace the happiness it can bring. The book can get a bit long-winded at times, especially when sharing comments readers left on her blog. But overall, each chapter, organized by months, provides some great insight into how to resolve to be happier, how it can improve your life, and all those around you. There are a lot of ideas to consider and research and quotations to back up her claims.more
I loved reading this book! I couldn't wait to pick it up and didn't want it to end. The author spent a year analyzing her happiness and state of mind and rating herself on a different theme every month. Some of her examples as a mom living in New York City didn't resonate with me but she did an excellent job of incorporating research studies and other authors' work into every facet of the experiment. I also liked how she included readers' comments from her blog who reflected on her writing. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone, especially around New Year's when people take stock of their life and goals. For me this book will be life changing.more
Started very strongly, before tapering off toward the end.The Happiness Project began by discussing how you can turn happiness studies (think 'Tumbling on Happiness') to your advantage with a year-long 'project' or simply by learning how these can be made into actionable resolutions.By detailing her year-long project, her findings, failings and feelings, Gretchen Rubin can help you figure out how to improve your well-being.Importantly, Rubin describes how this isn't a self-help book or a how-to for depressed people. This is simply a way of appreciating happiness and small, actionable improvement that can be taken.That's exactly why I liked (loved?) the first third of the book.Unfortunately, the latter two thirds went more toward the same old tired self-help bumpf and didn't recover.Recommended, if only if you read up to and including March/April in her project.more
A lot of food for thought - although I don't necessarily agree with what makes her happy. The idea of focusing on one area of your life, improving your happiness in that area, was interesting. Even more interesting was the idea that you have to weed out the things you *think* will make you happy, and focus on the things that, for better or worse, actually make you happy.more
I found this book very enjoyable in parts, very annoying in other parts. Overall, I enjoyed her honesty, and her gung-ho willingness to experiment on herself and her family. I too have a relentless urge to always be learning new things and experimenting by applying them to my life so that aspect made me laugh. There were parts of her approach that I do not think are conducive to happiness and really made me squirm--like forcing herself to give more to others than she wants to, making friends she isn't really interested in just to make new friends, and being super nice to her husband all the time. But some of her precepts are really smart I think--her "being Gretchen" precept and making time in her life to do things that are actually fun for her, not things that other people think are fun. I've tried and love many of her approaches, like clutter clearing and exercise. Overall, I think this is a fun book, if not super deep emotionally.more
I read this book for my book club. It is the memoir of the author's one-year project to increase her happiness. At first, I was skeptical, because this seemed like yet another of those "I did this dumb thing for one year" books, and it came across as gimmicky. But Rubin won me over. She breaks her project down into one theme per month, such as energy, money or marriage, and then sets severals goals for that theme that she tries to accomplish every day of the month. Some days, she doesn't quite make her goals, which she's honest about. But what I really liked is that she emphasizes that the goals will, and should, be different for everyone. Most self-help books proselytize a one-size-fits-all solution without acknowledging that we are all individuals, and no one thing works for everyone.Rubin throws out a lot of quotes, statistics and ideas for increasing one's day-t-day happiness. In accordance with the theme of finding what works for me, I was inspired by some of these ideas and mostly ignored the rest. I was most impressed that Rubin found the time to implement all of these changes (although she does admit that she discarded some if they didn't continue to increase her happiness). She did a whole lot of reading, too, and even write a novel in a month, which I thought was inspiring because she did it just for her own enjoyment, not to try to sell it. I seem to be stuck with the notion that I have to spend my time doing something productive or money-making, which is an impediment to my personal happiness; Rubin backs this notion up with some solid statistics, and it's a lesson that many of us can stand to learn, that not everything we do has to generate income. That insight alone, and the resolution I made to try to do more things for personal enrichment even if they don't seem particularly "useful," made reading this book worthwhile.more
This book is quite a departure for me, and I'm quite glad that I decided to branch out and try it (was it a library recommendation? I honestly can't remember what made me put it on my wishlist, other than wanting to trial the ebook reading experience!). Chatty and thoughtful without being mind-blowingly insightful, it's nevertheless been a good antidote to a slightly trying time in my working life these last few weeks, and it's enabled me to focus on the positive and remember to put myself in others' places, and just to resolve to be kinder and more thoughtful in general.more
Are you happy enough? This is the question author Gretchen Rubin poses to herself one typical April day as she rides a bus in New York City. She reflects on the fact she lives in her dream city, has a wonderful husband, two healthy daughters and a job she adores. But while there is much in her life to celebrate, Gretchen is bothered by her general lack of appreciation and tendency to focus on the negative. In an attempt to maximize her happiness, Gretchen begins The Happiness Project, a year-long commitment to twelve happiness resolutions she sets for herself. Among her resolutions are to “boost energy,” “lighten up,” and “ pursue a passion.” To carry out her resolutions, Gretchen tries everything from cleaning her closets to launching a blog to starting a collection. She follows age-old wisdom as well as new age fads. Her triumphs and failures are documented in her memoir, The Happiness Project, which provides a detailed account of each month of her project. Inspiring, comical, and completely relatable, Rubin’s book will encourage readers to use the tools she offers to start their own happiness projects.more
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Reviews

An enjoyable read peppered with interesting studies on happiness (which could have used some citations). To me, The Happiness Project read like a novel with the author and her family being the characters. I enjoyed getting to know all of them in addition to gaining insight into happiness. I will be buying this book so that I can highlight the points that really hit me. I am also looking forward to starting a happiness project of my own; I could really use one since my life has gotten into a slump ever since starting full time work after graduating from college several years ago. I will definitely do some things differently than Gretchen Rubin did. I found some of her resolutions were too vague and difficult to measure whether you've accomplished them, even though at the end of the book she gives the advice to have specific, measurable resolutions *shrugs* There also is not very much guidance on how to set up a happiness project of your own unless you want to go the route the author did and do research on happiness first and then put your project together from scratch. I'm not interested in doing months of research on happiness, so I will be visiting her web site where a happiness project toolbox is available. Hopefully that has a nice outline of all her research so it will be easy to customize it to my personality.
According to Gretchen Rubin, there are many things in my life that I have been doing/not doing that are working against my happiness. I gave this book 5 stars because it gave me the gift of hope, the hope that maybe I can make my life sparkly and fun again ;)
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Read from May 16 to June 01, 2011Happiness is defined a little differently by everyone. Reading a book and sitting in the sun makes me happy. Other people like to go to concerts and stand in a crowd (that stresses me out). While Rubin's happiness isn't mine, her book lays out a really nice guide for someone that might want to complete their own happiness project.more
I loved this book! It is thoughtful, funny, and inspiring. I find myself bringing it up in everyday conversation to friends, coworkers, and family members. I'm glad I own a copy -- I know I'll want to refer to it again and loan it to friends. Last night I started my one-sentence journal, and I suspect I'll be implementing more of Rubin's ideas.more
I'm really quite torn as to what I feel about this book. On one hand, I did mostly enjoy it and I took from it some helpful ideas. On the other hand....some of the negative reviews of this book make some very good points.

1.) I really am growing weary of the "stunt" genre of books. Do something for a year, write a book about it. It was interesting the first few go-rounds, but it's losing its appeal.

2.) The author really is not particularly likeable. Maybe she's nicer in person, but she casts herself as a bit of a shrew. As I was reading through the marriage chapter (chapter 2, perhaps?), all I could think was, "Good God, I'm glad I'm not married to her." She strikes me as nagging, unpleasant, and intent upon bringing everyone down to make herself feel better. I suppose she gets points for honestly, but not for much else. (And what's with her emailing her husband throughout the day, and then getting snippy because he doesn't respond? Is she his mother? Does he need to check in with her regularly? I found this especially bizarre.)

3.) She is without a doubt a woman of a certain privilege. I suspect she came from money and she certainly married into it. It's all well and good to tell me to take time for myself, take classes, exercise more, etc... I understand she's right about these things. But as a single, working mother, my life is vastly different from hers. Not everyone has the time, money, and other resources readily available to her. This is not to say that I gleaned nothing from this book, but I just can't imagine that many people would find her very relateable.

4.) She really doesn't say anything new. I think we all already know most of her "epiphanies": money may not buy happiness, but it certainly makes it easier; regular exercise makes you happier; hobbies, friends, and a social life will make you happier; etc... While her conscious effort to do all these things (in a year, natch) is perhaps unique, not much of the information contained herein is.

5.) I felt like a fairly big chunk of this book was devoted to quoting comments from her blog. I also feel like these quotes were not separated from her writing very clearly. Perhaps it was a problem unique to the Kindle version, but several times I found myself wondering, "Is this Gretchen or someone else?"

Over all, I wish I could give the book 2.5 stars. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great. It was ok. I can't say that I regret reading it, but I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it to a friend, either.more
This showed up on the Kindle bestsellers list and I was somewhat intrigued. I loved how many historic quotations she included but not the sections to which I could not relate--especially the pages and pages about raising kids and improving a marriage. But, other than that, I was really interested.

I've been trying to practice some of the tactics she mentions and I find myself noticing more things that I do--good and bad. I guess it's made me more mindful.

I've never read a book like this--I'm not sure if I'd categorize it as a "self-help" book. Rather, I guess it is a method journalism book, though it seems the author doesn't really enjoy being part of a trend. She spent a year researching happiness and trying all sorts of resolutions and, you know what, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about it!

After all was said and done, I had over 60 Kindle bookmarks throughout the text and tons of quotes to add to my collection:-)more
Well, I found this easier (and faster) reading than I expected. It was actually almost painless, as opposed to the chore I'd set myself up for. While the author's tone of bourgeois entitlement grated intermittently, there were enough nuggets (interesting, useful, or both) along the way to keep it worthwhile. What I liked best were the literary and "scientific" bases for her efforts that she kept throwing in. Even during the "money" and "spirituality" chapters (two hot-button topics for me), it moved along smoothly. It's this month's book group selection, and I think it provides plenty of fodder for a meaty discussion.more
Although this was another 'follow me for a year as I change myself by doing something special' themed book - I thought there were enough differences that made it unique. I was inspired to take notes about things I could do in my own life as a 'happiness project,' and I plan to go to the website that the author started while writing the book to get ideas and see what other people have experienced.more
I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunatly, it failed to live up to them. There were some chapters I really liked, for example, the first chapter which was about getting more sleep and being more organized - two things I need to work on. And there were chapters I skimmed through because they bored me, like the chapter on writing a novel (I read and publish books, but have no interest in writing them.) But what I disliked the most about the book was the tone. Rubin wrote as if she were researching a dissertation, not trying to improve her happiness. She questions the success of her hapiness project throughout the book, often asking other people if she "seems happier". If you have to ask, you're probably not......more
Some of the chapters were most intriguing, esp. the January and September. Personally, I think this is unrealistic to try to tackle so much in one year. Many of the girls in book club agreed with this assessment. We also felt that it would be interesting to give it to our daughters and have them read it and then compare our reactions. This book has many good ideas and I would like to tackle a few of them. I just think that overwhelming oneself can also bring unhappiness. We all agreed that everyone's happiness project will be different and the plan has to be tailored for each and every person.more
Most did not like this book....alot! Author was too preachy & not relatable to the general public. Not a recomended read.more
A systematic, research-driven plan to build a happier life. Totally matches my personality. And a pleasant read, to boot.more
This book sat on my "to read" shelf for months patiently waiting until I saw a one minute video sent through Rubin's email newsletter. I immediately went to my shelf, grabbed the book and started reading it. I kept a highlighter attached to the book because there was so much I wanted to remember. It isn't that I feel unhappy or unsatisfied in my life, but I was hoping that this would point me towards some sort of direction. THE HAPPINESS PROJECT would be an excellent book to read anytime, but especially as a way to start off the new year. If you are looking for a book to help you in setting your goals and resolutions for 2013, I suggest starting it soon so January 1st, you can start implementing your plan. Each chapter is broken up by months and focuses then on specific tasks to conquer for that month. By setting goals and then breaking them up into manageable tasks to accomplish each month you are able really get a handle on improving your attitude, your motivation, and your life.Rubin not only focuses on improving your life but those who are around you on a daily basis. That saying "If Mom isn't happy, then no one is happy" is so true. I know from experience, that if I start the day crabby, the whole house is crabby. This book really forces you to dig deep and by making new choices and improving your life, those in your circle (work, home, friends, family) will notice a difference. Some of my favorite passages from the book include:The days are long, but the years are shortEach member of a family picks up and reflects everyone else's emotions - but of course I could change no one actions but my own.One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.Give thanks: for the ordinary and the extraordinary.It takes at least 5 positive marital actions to offset one critical or destructive action. When one couple's interactions are usually loving and kind, it's much easier to disregard the occasional unpleasant exchange.I could have written many other passages, but these were my top 5. Each of them are so simple and yet so profound, at least to me.Rubin ends her book with ways to create your own Happiness Project along with pages of helpful tips for every facet of your life. There is also an excellent discussion guide at the end if you choose to read this with your book club. You can also sign up to receive daily emails from Rubin that include happiness quotes and tips for managing your life. These emails really boost my day.If you are looking for something to get you back in charge of your life, this book is most definitely for you. Rubin has also come out with her next book HAPPIER AT HOME. I have yet to pick this up, but it is on my list.more
This audio is inspiring and unique in that she is an ordinary person trying out happiness advice that she thoroughly researched. The format acts like a refresher on happiness for she talks about a theory and then what she will try and then how it worked out. It doesn’t always work but that is what makes this audio real. One definition I really liked was "You achieve a goal but keep a resolution."more
Interesting mix of both the scope of research on happiness and reflections on the author's personal quest for the same. Ms. Rubin makes clear that each person's journey must be his/her own, but provides plenty of examples from her own experience. I liked that she wasn't afraid to point out her own failings along the way.more
Although some of the advice is trite, for the most part the author understands that and offers to show how what she practices can really make a difference. Different parts have really been helpful for me and have come up. Do a nagging chore! Worth rereading again.more
The Happiness Project Book Review by Tyler BoeseI finished reading the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. This book is about the authors’ real life journey towards greater personal happiness. Although the challenge of becoming happy might sound easy, Rubin dives deep into the psychology of what makes humans happy. She cites many psychological research studies that are often at odds with conventional wisdom.To make the story more interesting Gretchen uses introspection, self-observation, by trying to put the science into action in her own life. Introspection was a study method used in the early days of psychology. Since happiness is completely subjective to personal experience Gretchen makes no attempt of claiming the keys to happiness. However, I believe that because I read this book I have a clearer understanding of how happiness works and behaviors I can take to improve my own happiness. The pieces of the book I found most interesting were the studies conducted by psychologists. These stories fit with what I have been learning in class, and are applicable in my own mini happiness project. A study found a positive correlation between happiness and amount of social interaction with women. Both men and women find relationships with women to be more intimate and enjoyable than those with men. Time spent with men did not make a difference (Rubin 52). This is probably because women are generally more nurturing.Recent research indicates half an individual’s total level of happiness is determined by genetics. External circumstances such as wealth, marital status, and health account for nearly twenty percent. The rest is determined by how someone thinks and acts (Rubin 6). I checked this on the internet. Psychological research case studies at the U of M also support the genetic view of happiness as well. They did this by measuring happiness in genetically identical twins from Minnesota. The study found that differences in circumstances neither decreased nor increased life satisfaction (Tellegen). Even marriage had a less than a one-percent impact on reported happiness between twins!One thing that psychologists have found that influences happiness is perception. In the United States overall wealth seems to be correlated with happiness. Half of all people making $100,000 reported being very happy (Rubin 166). Each step down the pay scale results in a lower level of reported happiness. Only24% of people earning less than $30,000 reported being very happy. It also might be the case that happiness’ causes financial success because happy people are more positive, creative, and welcoming to be around. Perceived relative wealth also matters. In a survey more people said they would like to earn $50,000 and work in an environment with others who earned $25,000, than earn $100,000 in an environment with others who earned $250,000 (Rubin 166). One study mentioned in the book found that an extra hour of sleep each night would do more for person’s daily happiness than getting a $60,000 raise (Rubin 18). I did some fact checking on the internet and found the psychologist cited was Norbert Schwarz, Ph.D. (Barnett). Myself, I would much rather have my college tuition paid off with seven hours of sleep instead of eight. It was also found that a bad night’s sleep was one of the top two factors that upset a person’s daily mood. I learned this at the same time our class was learning about sleep. After learning that poor sleep leads to weight gain, poor working memory, and a weakened immune system I have placed a higher priority on sleep in my daily life. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a general view on the assumptions of happiness. Although I do still have reservations about believing such surprising evidence studies; I am now more aware of the factors that influence happiness such as relative wealth, genetics, and time spent interacting with women. Three and a half stars out of five. Works CitedBarnett, Robert. Parenting. n.d. 29 February 2012 .Rubin, Gretchen. The Happiness Project. Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. New Yourk: Harper Collins, 2009.Tellegen, David Lykken and Auke. Psyc.umn. 1996. 29 March 2012 .more
I've been reading Gretchen Rubin's blog for so long that I feel like she's a personal friend. Unfortunately, I've also been reading it for so long that I didn't think the book would have much new to offer, but I was wrong about that. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I don't generally care for personal memoirs like this one. Whether I liked it so much because I have a lot of experience with the author or because we are similar souls (goal-oriented, driven by reward and acknowledgement, and tending toward argumentativeness), I can't honestly say, but I'm inclined to suggest that it was because the format of the book is very user-friendly and accessible and Rubin's voice is charming and frank. Plus, she really has done a remarkable amount of research in a number of different fields that she pulls together very nicely. In spite of a lot of information from studies and experts (and a lot of inspirational quotes) the flow of the book is exceptional. You never feel like you're being fed a research project. Instead it feels like a personal memoir by someone who just happens to be extremely well-informed. The worst thing I can say about it is that I bought it on the Kindle, and now I want to be able to loan it to people--so I'm going to have to buy a hard copy.more
I feel like I'm five staring so much this year, but... this book is really fantastic. Some of it didn't apply to me, but I didn't expect it to (Gretchen and I live such vastly different lives, on different coasts of the US). She's charming, and I think my favorite part of the entire book was her explaining how she put her resolutions with her husband into motion and how having a better relationship with him was helping her happiness.Even if you don't define yourself as "unhappy", this book can have some valuable insights, it provides a lot of food for thought that I don't think I would have heard of otherwise. The list at the back for further reading is also really valuable--I hope to delve into them soon.It's worth the read, and probably the purchase! Definitely adding it to the list of books I need to buy.more
A worthwhile addition to the admittedly overfilled category of 'stunt nonfiction' (as Ms Rubin herself labels it). The book serves up what seems like an enormous amount of research into the subject in an accessible and deceptively light handed way.more
The Happiness Project follows the yearlong attempt of Gretchen Rubin to be a happier person. Already well-off with a nice life, it might be easy to dismiss Rubin's attempts, but she acknowledges her privilege, and states her desire to simply appreciate what she has and fully embrace the happiness it can bring. The book can get a bit long-winded at times, especially when sharing comments readers left on her blog. But overall, each chapter, organized by months, provides some great insight into how to resolve to be happier, how it can improve your life, and all those around you. There are a lot of ideas to consider and research and quotations to back up her claims.more
I loved reading this book! I couldn't wait to pick it up and didn't want it to end. The author spent a year analyzing her happiness and state of mind and rating herself on a different theme every month. Some of her examples as a mom living in New York City didn't resonate with me but she did an excellent job of incorporating research studies and other authors' work into every facet of the experiment. I also liked how she included readers' comments from her blog who reflected on her writing. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone, especially around New Year's when people take stock of their life and goals. For me this book will be life changing.more
Started very strongly, before tapering off toward the end.The Happiness Project began by discussing how you can turn happiness studies (think 'Tumbling on Happiness') to your advantage with a year-long 'project' or simply by learning how these can be made into actionable resolutions.By detailing her year-long project, her findings, failings and feelings, Gretchen Rubin can help you figure out how to improve your well-being.Importantly, Rubin describes how this isn't a self-help book or a how-to for depressed people. This is simply a way of appreciating happiness and small, actionable improvement that can be taken.That's exactly why I liked (loved?) the first third of the book.Unfortunately, the latter two thirds went more toward the same old tired self-help bumpf and didn't recover.Recommended, if only if you read up to and including March/April in her project.more
A lot of food for thought - although I don't necessarily agree with what makes her happy. The idea of focusing on one area of your life, improving your happiness in that area, was interesting. Even more interesting was the idea that you have to weed out the things you *think* will make you happy, and focus on the things that, for better or worse, actually make you happy.more
I found this book very enjoyable in parts, very annoying in other parts. Overall, I enjoyed her honesty, and her gung-ho willingness to experiment on herself and her family. I too have a relentless urge to always be learning new things and experimenting by applying them to my life so that aspect made me laugh. There were parts of her approach that I do not think are conducive to happiness and really made me squirm--like forcing herself to give more to others than she wants to, making friends she isn't really interested in just to make new friends, and being super nice to her husband all the time. But some of her precepts are really smart I think--her "being Gretchen" precept and making time in her life to do things that are actually fun for her, not things that other people think are fun. I've tried and love many of her approaches, like clutter clearing and exercise. Overall, I think this is a fun book, if not super deep emotionally.more
I read this book for my book club. It is the memoir of the author's one-year project to increase her happiness. At first, I was skeptical, because this seemed like yet another of those "I did this dumb thing for one year" books, and it came across as gimmicky. But Rubin won me over. She breaks her project down into one theme per month, such as energy, money or marriage, and then sets severals goals for that theme that she tries to accomplish every day of the month. Some days, she doesn't quite make her goals, which she's honest about. But what I really liked is that she emphasizes that the goals will, and should, be different for everyone. Most self-help books proselytize a one-size-fits-all solution without acknowledging that we are all individuals, and no one thing works for everyone.Rubin throws out a lot of quotes, statistics and ideas for increasing one's day-t-day happiness. In accordance with the theme of finding what works for me, I was inspired by some of these ideas and mostly ignored the rest. I was most impressed that Rubin found the time to implement all of these changes (although she does admit that she discarded some if they didn't continue to increase her happiness). She did a whole lot of reading, too, and even write a novel in a month, which I thought was inspiring because she did it just for her own enjoyment, not to try to sell it. I seem to be stuck with the notion that I have to spend my time doing something productive or money-making, which is an impediment to my personal happiness; Rubin backs this notion up with some solid statistics, and it's a lesson that many of us can stand to learn, that not everything we do has to generate income. That insight alone, and the resolution I made to try to do more things for personal enrichment even if they don't seem particularly "useful," made reading this book worthwhile.more
This book is quite a departure for me, and I'm quite glad that I decided to branch out and try it (was it a library recommendation? I honestly can't remember what made me put it on my wishlist, other than wanting to trial the ebook reading experience!). Chatty and thoughtful without being mind-blowingly insightful, it's nevertheless been a good antidote to a slightly trying time in my working life these last few weeks, and it's enabled me to focus on the positive and remember to put myself in others' places, and just to resolve to be kinder and more thoughtful in general.more
Are you happy enough? This is the question author Gretchen Rubin poses to herself one typical April day as she rides a bus in New York City. She reflects on the fact she lives in her dream city, has a wonderful husband, two healthy daughters and a job she adores. But while there is much in her life to celebrate, Gretchen is bothered by her general lack of appreciation and tendency to focus on the negative. In an attempt to maximize her happiness, Gretchen begins The Happiness Project, a year-long commitment to twelve happiness resolutions she sets for herself. Among her resolutions are to “boost energy,” “lighten up,” and “ pursue a passion.” To carry out her resolutions, Gretchen tries everything from cleaning her closets to launching a blog to starting a collection. She follows age-old wisdom as well as new age fads. Her triumphs and failures are documented in her memoir, The Happiness Project, which provides a detailed account of each month of her project. Inspiring, comical, and completely relatable, Rubin’s book will encourage readers to use the tools she offers to start their own happiness projects.more
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