Saturday, March 26, 2011

Review: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

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 FunThe Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Release Date: March 1, 2011
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 336

Source: Purchased
Interest: Self Help / Memoir
Buy the Book: Amazon

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.
I picked up this book while shopping one day - I was drawn to it as I had been feeling very negative the last few months - especially with work and sometimes with my loved ones. I was not happy being so negative, but I didn't even know where to start and deal with this problem. Then this book appeared as if by magic to say PICK ME - I CAN HELP. And help it did.

The writing style was free and easy to read - not your typical self help style book. It was written into sections which helped to keep it from becoming boring. I loved that she broke down her project by month and concentrated on one topic for that month. This makes it seem so much more attainable when you see that it takes time to develop the changes you want to see in your own life.

The idea of changing ones life for the better without really changing ones life at all was very intriguing. Pretty much - Ms. Rubin guides you through the tiny adjustments made to her life throughout the course of the year that would allow for her to appreciate the happiness in her life. Many people take for granted the wonderful things happening in their lives.

I think one of the key factors in this book was doing things for yourself. Learning what you do and do not like. Keeping yourself in good health both physically and mentally makes a huge difference in our outlook on everyday life. It seems that it takes a lot more energy to be negative all the time versus just being happy every day regardless of how hard things are.

I also learned that different things make different people happy - not everyone would love to keep a book review blog like I do, but it honestly makes me happy to be able to read amazing books and post reviews about them to share with my fellow book lovers. 

Pretty much she believes that happier people are much more productive, more generous, more caring and thoughtful - she even has the data and research to back up her statements.

It's interesting to note that while reading this book I noticed a difference in how I thought about things and how I felt. I was much more positive than I was a few weeks ago. I was more aware of negative surroundings and ways to change them to positives. I also noticed that doing things for myself that made me happy made me a much more productive and loving person. This has in inspired me to start my own happiness journey over at The Kaleidoscope Chrystal.

You can check out Gretchen's blog - The Happiness Project for more inspiration and to start your own happiness journey.


  1. I've had this book for months now, but still haven't read it! I love the cover. It makes me happy just to look at the bright yellow writing :) Thanks for the inspiration to finally pick it up and READ it! If you're looking for more books that just make you feel good about life, try SARK. She is the best :)

  2. Katie - I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I'm working on my own Happiness plan right now. :)

  3. I listened to the audio version of the sequel, Happier at Home and really enjoyed that one. Going to read this one next :-)

    1. I really enjoyed this one and have to get reading Happier At Home... it's just sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. ;)


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