2.02.2010

The Happiness Project

I've followed Gretchen Rubin for the past couple of years. She actually started her "Happiness Project" blog about four years ago, but I found out about it in 2008. I checked on her blog occasionally to see what she was writing about and enjoyed her approach. Her project was to study everything she could find about happiness and then apply it to her own life. After awhile she branched out and began to write about marriage, parenting, clutter, time management, goal setting. She always pointed out that success in those topics would eventually lead back to the achievement of happiness.

It was fun to learn that her blog had led her to a book deal...but, honestly, her blog lost some of its appeal to me when she began promoting her book. Now its all about the book. I'm happy for her that her book went to the top of the New York Times bestsellers list, but I wish for the old blog back - with lots of interesting suggestions, lists and tips. I haven't read it, and won't personally recommend it yet, but here's a little bit about the book:


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

Book Description:

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.

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.

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