Books I’ve Read: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin


Hello again! I have lapsed once more in posting, but alas, I have finally finished another book. Since probably around the time I posted last (January… ahem), I’ve been working on The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It’s not a particularly long book, the font is fairly large in size, and it’s quite a casual read. I just have been cramming all kinds of things in and was reading slowly. Like one chapter a week on average slowly. Which is very slow for me.

The Happiness ProjectSome of you may recall that I’ve also been listening to podcasts which include Ms. Rubin’s Happier. So when I walked into work and saw The Happiness Project on our communal bookshelf, it was a no-brainer; I had to pick it up.

Happiness is such a buzzword lately, and there are so many different strategies to get there. Some say to focus on gratefulness, others say to drop all but your passion, and some say to just hang out with people more and invest in experiences. And Gretchen Rubin tried all of them. Over the course of a year, she charted myriad resolutions she pinpointed– through an unfathomable amount of research– that were supposed to make a person happier. She established rules, discovered secrets and truths, and found out a great deal about herself as she worked her way through this very disciplined endeavor. It was awe-inspiring.

It was also a bit daunting. The discipline required to do what she did has felt so far out of my reach since I graduated high school. The only thing I do on a daily basis is make myself a cup of coffee before work. And maybe (definitely) spend way too much time scrolling through Facebook. Endeavoring on a project with charts and gold stars and things just… so far out of my capabilities.

The nice thing is that none of the things she was working on were very big at all. She did not take a year off to travel the world, she didn’t quit her high-paying elite job to chase a passion into an uncertain future (she actually did… but not during this whole project). Instead, her happiness project consisted of small things like not nagging, clearing clutter, and embracing silliness. All of these things have been shown to increase happiness.

This all may seem too good to be true, but I can attest to the strategy behind it all, which is really “cultivating an atmosphere of growth.” As I mentioned in a previous post— and likely as demonstrated through the books I’ve been blogging about– I’ve really been focusing on improvement in a variety of areas. From health and wellness to professional development, I’ve been learning and expanding my experience. And I have to say that I really do feel happier than I have in quite some time.

Perhaps my favorite part is all the references Ms. Rubin provides. From classical poetry through to modern scientific studies, the resources for happiness theories seems endless and encouraging. The variety implies that there truly is a way for anyone to be happier, and that makes the concept all the more powerful. And not only does she provide all of her research, she’s also established her own resources like the podcast, a website with an example happiness chart, and even app, which I most definitely did not ( totally did– https://www.betterapp.us/share/1vV2QpTIckPnJBk-) download.

So of course, the question is would I recommend this book? My answer to that is that I’m going to be returning it to our communal bookshelf to pick up another of her books on the four personality tendencies (she talks about these in The Happiness Project; the next one is aptly titled The Four Tendencies, so keep an eye out for a blog on that in the near future).

Get happy, my friends.

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