I have read quite a few books about “how to be happy”, “what to do to be happy”, “where to go to find happiness”, so why not add another book to my happiness reading list?!
Title: The Happiness Project
Author: Gretchen Rubin
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. 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.”
There are a number of memoirs about “finding happiness”. Whether it’s “finding happiness” after a divorce and travelling the world or travelling the world to find which countries are the “happiest”, they all seem to revolve around the same concept of the author picking up everything and leaving their comfort zone for the search of a better well-being. While The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin copies the same “happiness” idea, it does stand out from its counterparts.
I enjoyed The Happiness Project due to the fact that Rubin didn’t uproot her life and move away to find her difference in mood. Instead, she stayed put in her New York dwelling with her husband and two daughters, and tried to make a difference in her life from her current location. She changed her habits, not her place and that gave her memoir its own uniqueness.
The different “resolutions” she made herself commit to each month ranged from ‘singing in the morning’ to ‘writing a novel in a month’. Her goals seemed realistic and they were simple things she could do among her normal daily duties. The fact that she sometimes faltered from her “resolutions” made her and her “project” all the more relatable.
While Gretchen Rubin showed the good side to her personality, she wasn’t shy to hide her bad side. From arguing with her husband to yelling at her daughter to ‘wait a minute’ when she was supposed to be “singing in the morning”, readers could connect with Rubin on a more personal level as both a parent and spouse.
Yes, Gretchen Rubin said at the end of her year-long “Happiness Project” that she was indeed “happier” and personally, I agree with her that she reached some level of being “happier”. However, I don’t feel that she changed her entire life with just a year of simple “resolutions”, I think that she just made her life “easier”.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Happiness Project. It made me think of what I could do to boost MY mood and make MY life a little more “easier”. Gretchen Rubin created a great template for everyone who is also looking to bring more happiness in their lives.
Purchase it at Amazon.com here: The Happiness Project
*Note: The review above is written by me. © Kalie Lyn 2011*