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The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a…

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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Showing 1-5 of 146 (next | show all)
I'm a loyal listener to the Happier podcast, so I figured it's time to read the book.

I liked some of her revelations, her commandments, and her Splendid Realizations. They are all enlightening. Definitely fills in some details of what they talk about in the podcast.

One thing that caught me. The four stages of happiness offsets the five stages of grief? Okay...

Sometimes, listening to someone else's struggles does help another. But If you're not in the frame of mind to take the advice given, even through anecdotes, then the book won't be a help. I've found this many times when trying to gather information from books that I just wasn't ready for. This book I wanted to learn from and that's why I could enjoy it.

This proved informative to me, even if all I take away are her Splendid Truths, her commandments, and a deeper commitment to her podcast. It also encouraged me to buy the book, rather than keep it as a borrow from the library. ( )
  gilroy | Dec 17, 2018 |
I'm so "done" with happiness. I think I'll seek out some books about finding curmudgeonliness next.
No, seriously, I'm afraid I won't be able to give this book a fair review, because I don't exactly remember what led me to obtain and read it, and I'm not really that interested in happiness anymore... I'm kind of there, not meaning I'm happy all the time, but I kinda know everything there is to know about my own happiness, now, after half a century.
So the book - it's fine. It's one woman's one-year project. (Yet another "My Year of...") At least she wasn't surreptitiously trying to come to terms with the death of a parent or anything like that.
She tries so many things, you're bound to come across a couple of good ideas to apply to your own life.
God, I felt bad for her husband, though. Is this what married-with-children life is like? The abyss was one scene where her two little girls were fighting, and she discovers her husband upstairs taking a nap. She wakes him up and says, "This is your problem! You need to fix this!" Kill me now, I can imagine him thinking.
She sprinkles in scenes like this where she is decidedly NOT happy, which always starts to feel like a nice, humanizing, relatable touch - but then they always end with a sappy, happy ending. You're missing the point of showing us your less-than-perfect side, Gretchen.
But hey! This is supposed to be a HAPPY book... why all of this, who woke who from a nap, and who failed to live down to my imperfect expectations.. I'm sorry, though, I'm failing to come up with one excellent life lesson that I can apply to my life going forward, except to really and truly this time STOP with the happiness books. ( )
  Tytania | Dec 12, 2018 |
This book sat on my nightstand for about 2 years - for some reason I kept having a reason not to read it, and there were plenty of other books to devour. Well, I finally read it, and I was pleasantly surprised. I quite liked many sections of this book, and think Ms. Rubin makes some excellent points in sharing her experience. It actually inspired me to declutter some paper piles that had been weighing on my for some time... ( )
  decaturmamaof2 | Nov 28, 2018 |
The content of the book was interesting but the writing style is not my cup of tea. This is the third book by Gretchen Rubin I've tried to read. A lot of my friends really enjoyed the book, so you'll have to judge it for yourself. ( )
  ladyoflorien | Nov 19, 2018 |
I enjoyed the book and would give it 3 out of 5 stars. I like the way the information was presented and Rubin included some lovely quotes sprinkled throughout the chapters. I thought she was funny, and I was able to relate to her in a lot of ways since we are both Type A personalities. However, there *were* a few times that I thought she was kind of whiny or bitchy, but you can't really expect for someone to be likable 100% of the time.

The book is separated into a chapter for each month and each month she focuses on a different topic. In the month's main topic, she sets a few goals/things to work on. The subjects she covers are:
Jan: Boost Energy
Feb: Improve Marriage
Mar: Work Harder at Job
Apr: Be a Better Mom
May: Spend Time on Play/Hobbies
Jun: Be a Better Friend
Jul: Use Money to Improve Happiness
Aug: Focus on Spirituality
Sep: Pursue a Passion (She chose books)
Oct: Mindfulness/Enjoy the Now
Nov: Good Attitude/Manners
Dec: She aimed for perfection in all of the previous month's topics

I particularly enjoyed reading the improving marriage, spending time on play, and spirituality sections. I felt like there was some good information/viewpoints to absorb from those chapters. I especially liked that her spirituality section was from more of an agnostic point of view focusing primarily on gratitude, so I felt that it could be beneficial to believers and non-believers alike.

However, I feel that her sections on work and money are not full of a lot of particularly good information for the large majority of people. Rubin leads an exceptionally blessed life in that she has plenty of money and that she works from home. Not that I begrudge her this, but I just feel that not a lot of people can relate. In the money section, she says that you should indulge in a modest splurge on something. She proceeds to "modestly splurge" on a LOT of things over the course of the book. Buying a brand new fancy book collection just for the hell of it is not an option for a lot of people. As for the work section, she mainly discusses how she starts a blog. Not helpful to most people. She also includes a weird letter she emailed to someone who gave her book a bad review. I feel like it would have been keeping more to her own goals to have accepted the bad criticism and moved on, rather than feeling the need to defend herself to some random reviewer she didn't know personally.

Anyway, as a whole, the book was enjoyable. It was a quick read and I would recommend it. Although at times, Rubin comes across as slightly disingenuous, she is very relatable, funny, and intelligent, and I would definitely read more from her. I would also read this book again, because overall, I found it to be encouraging and a good motivator to focus on your goals. ( )
  Borrows-N-Wants | Sep 22, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 146 (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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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
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.)
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Book description
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.

Happiness Project Tool Box
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On the outside, Gretchen Rubin had it all--a good marriage, healthy children and a successful career--but something was missing. Determined to end that nagging feeling, she set out on a year-long quest to learn how to better enjoy the life she already had. Each month, Gretchen pursued a different set of resolutions--go to sleep earlier, tackle a nagging task, bring people together, take time to be silly. She read everything from classical philosophy to cutting-edge scientific studies, from Winston Churchill to Oprah, developing her own definition of happiness and a plan for how to achieve it. She kept track of which resolutions worked and which didn't, sharing her stories and collecting those of others. Bit by bit, she began to appreciate and amplify the happiness in her life. With a wicked sense of humour and sharp insight, Gretchen's story will inspire readers to embrace the pleasure in their lives.--From publisher description.… (more)

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