Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Happiness Project

The Happiness ProjectThe Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read this book expecting entertainment, not self-help, so it was hard to change my mindset while reading this book. There were some things that I really enjoyed about this author - that she was very black and white, she needed some way to track her progress and she was honest about her flaws. I liked that she told stories that were relevant to what was going on her life, although sometimes I felt she went on and on (beating a dead horse) about something that was "Okay, yeah, I got it the first time you said it" material. Overall, this book didn't do much for me.

Synopsis: 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.

Recommended Reading:
The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha
Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert
Life is a Verb by Patti Digh
The Immortal Life of Henrietta... by Rebecca Skloot
Learning to Breathe by Priscilla Warner

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