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The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a…
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The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the… (2009)

by Gretchen Rubin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,5321532,403 (3.62)72
A thoughtful and prescriptive work on happiness filled with practical advice, sharp insight, charm, and humor.
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English (152)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (153)
Showing 1-5 of 152 (next | show all)
I really took a lot away from this book. Hope I can stick with some of the ideas she had and start some new habits. ( )
  rlsova | Oct 29, 2019 |
Those who know me, know that I hate those cheesy cookie-cutter self-help books about telling yourself in the mirror "You're an champion". They feel to me like an exercise in egotism. They tell me how *others* believe I can be happy.

Fortunately, this book isn't that case.

Although it seems superficial at times, Rubin finds here some interesting ideas about happiness and one of the most important ones is that (the quest for) happiness doesn't look the same for everyone. We all have different problems and situations that make any DIY Happiness Kit impossible. Instead, Rubin takes us through her own ideas for *her* personal happiness, along with results.

Some might argue, and perhaps with good reason, that the book is vain just because it was written by a woman with a job, a stable and loving family, no particular undesirable situations like disease or war and no dramatic story. To me, that's completely missing the point of the book.

Instead she notes that even with all those things, happiness seems to be something else, unrelated to her status and position. Rather, it has to do with the way one acts, thinks and reacts to situations. Of course, it's impossible to account for everything and she emphasizes this repeatedly: there's no single way of achieving happiness, but we can learn some tricks and ideas from others and then adapt those to our own circumstances.

Her voyage serves as a starting point, rather than a map. A series of guidelines, rather than rules and ideas rather than orders. This is why, in a way, it reads better and more honest than the average crap. She says "This is what worked for me, perhaps some of it might work for you. Off you go!" and nothing more.

Give it a chance if you really have no idea where to start looking (and even if you have, chances are this might hold a surprise or two for you!) ( )
  andycyca | Aug 6, 2019 |
I had written a lengthy review, but decided to post a shorter version. Simply put, for a variety of reasons this book wasn't for me. This book reads more like a well organized daily diary or blog, with corresponding check-boxes. I prefer not to post negative comments but beginning with information the author chose to include in the 'Getting Started' chapter, the author sometimes came across as entitled and insincere.There are also discrepancies in the information presented. In the intro chapters the author stated she was starting off fairly high on the happiness scale (3.9 out of 5) before beginning her project and was not depressed. Later in the book she happens to slip in the fact she had gone through 2 instances of major depressive disorder in the past 4 years. Huh? At this point I had to question what her true motivation was for writing this book. As some other reviewers have pointed out there aren't any footnotes corresponding to the science behind the personal experimentation. Paragraphs begin with the general 'studies show' without adding any specific documentation.

During the past fifteen years, I have read quite a few books discussing the topic of happiness through the lens of psychology, philosophy, spiritualism, etc., so perhaps that is the primary reason I didn’t gain many new insights from The Happiness Project. Over time, I have shifted my perspective from trying to attain happiness, which I am not certain is even realistic, to seeking some form of overall contentment. In the future I’ll leave my exploration of self-improvement, human behavior, psychology and spirituality, in the hands of experts such as David Sapolsky, Elaine N. Aron, Rick Hanson, Marti Olsen Laney, Jon Kabat-Zinn and Emily Esfahani Smith.

For readers interested in a similar theme, without personal experimentation by the author, I’d suggest Paths to Happiness: 50 Ways to Add Joy to Your Life Every Day by Edward Hoffman. Although it does contain minimal commentary by the author, who is a psychologist, the goal of the book is to provide specific suggestions supported by scientific research to achieve greater joy and well-being. I should add that I am not really an avid proponent of the whole positive psychology movement but the book does make some straightforward and achievable suggestions. ( )
  This-n-That | Mar 23, 2019 |
While I won't say this book is useless, I can't, in all honesty, recommend it to anyone. ( )
  sgilbraith | Feb 8, 2019 |
This book was well researched. She is a good, concise writer, commanding the language skillfully. Otherwise . . . two stars. ( )
  DonaldPowell | Feb 5, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 152 (next | show all)
A fun, funny and wise book written by Gretchen Rubin, a regular HuffingtonPost.com contributor, it's a distillation of the wisdom of the ages on happiness. It provides eminently practical ways to amplify your happiness pretty much immediately (e.g. gossip less; exercise more; launch a pet project).

(Video review follows)
 
I had fun reading about Rubin's triumphs, insights, and failures. She's honest about her frustrating experiences, which are often more interesting that her successful ones.
 
If you are interested in clarifying your reasons to become uncluttered, are looking to be happier, or simply enjoy the genre of “a year in the life” style books, I recommend checking out The Happiness Project. It’s a great reminder for not letting the joys of life pass you by.
added by bongiovi | editUnclutterer Blog (Dec 29, 2009)
 

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gretchen Rubinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bernard, DaphnéTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Borda, JulietteCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cipriano, EllenDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferguson, ArchieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gittinger, AntoinetteÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kord, RussellCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lenth, LarsOvers.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van Bree, ChristineCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walendowska MonikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Samuel Johnson: "As the Spanish proverb says, 'He, who would bring home the wealth of the Indies, must carry the wealth of the Indies with him."
—James Boswell, The life of Samuel Johnson
There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.
—Robert Louis Stevenson
Dedication
For My Family
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A "happiness project" is an approach to changing your life. (A Note to the Reader)
I'd always vaguely expected to outgrow my limitations.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Contents:
January, Vitality: boost energy -- February, Marriage: remember love -- March, Work: aim higher -- April, Parenthood: lighten up -- May, Leisure: be serious about play -- June, Friendship: make time for friends -- July, Money: buy some happiness -- August, Eternity: contemplate the heavens -- September, Books: pursue a passion -- October, Mindfulness: pay attention -- November, Attitude: keep a contented heart -- December, Happiness: boot camp perfect -- Your happiness project -- Further reading.

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