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.
The Happiness Projectby Gretchen Rubin
The Happiness Project is the kind of book you need to read with a paper and pen close by. I found author Grethen Rubin relatable, smart and witty and I was constantly jotting notes down. Besides detailing her year-long experiment, Rubin's Happiness Project includes quotes from famous authors and philosophers, as well as research to back each of her monthly resolutions. While I found some months' aims more interesting than others, I quickly and easily made it through this uplifting memoir. Rubin's journey will inspire readers to reflect on their levels of personal satisfication and perhaps start a happiness project of their own.
Profanity/Language: 4 mild obscenities
Sex/Nudity: A few sexual references; mostly sayings like "sleep is the new sex".
Mature Subject Matter:
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Author comments on drinking at parties and her ultimate discussion to give up alcohol.
Reviewed By Rachel