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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… (original 2009; edition 2011)

by Gretchen Rubin

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3,3231512,467 (3.63)69
Title: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
Authors:Gretchen Rubin
Info:Harper Perennial (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library

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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 by Gretchen Rubin (2009)


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Showing 1-5 of 150 (next | show all)
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 |
I wanted to love this book. I wanted to glean insights into a happier world, but instead found myself skimming regularly by the third chapter and crossing my eyes every time the author mentioned a study with no way for me to go and review it myself. ( )
  bonnyadventures | Feb 3, 2019 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 150 (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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