The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Title: 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
Author- Gretchen Rubin
Stand Alone
Publisher- HarperCollinsPublishers
Published- December 29th, 2009
Pages- 301
Source- Own

One day Gretchen Rubin had a moment of clarity. Her life was passing her by and she didn't know what to do. She decided that she needed to be happier. She started to think about what makes her happy and what she can change to make her and others around her happier as well. This all prompted her year long Happiness Project testing philosophies and different ways to impact portions of her life that were main causes of stress or importance.

Two years ago I originally got and started reading this book. There was a point where I put it down because of some conflicts I'd been feeling reading about a woman who was wealthier than most discussing happiness. Rubin even said that she was worried that her book and story will not be well received because she faced no adversity. It took me two years but I really have been anticipating reading this book again. I guess I got over the fact that she was well-to-do. I mean I don't have any major health problems, I've never been divorced, or had a kid young. There are people out there that haven't had to face anything so grand as that so I decided that "You know what? I'm going to read this book." I enjoyed it most of the way through before. It's just when I found out that she was in a better position than most that I felt weird about reading her story. It ended up paying off. I just wished I would have read it sooner.

I don't know if it's weird... well I think so a little. Not many 17 year olds or now 19 year olds would pick up this book. In the first chapter she mentioned a couple of things that struck a chord with me. "I was in danger of wasting my life" and "Is this really it?" I found myself wondering and answering "Yep this is it." At around 12 I had this same moment where I cried and told my mother that I felt like I wasting my life. 12 years old. I can't believe myself. I guess some people are more worried about that sort of thing. I couldn't imagine myself as one of these people who day in and day out does the same thing and doesn't question anything. Unfortunately I'm kind of going that route but I don't think I can ever stay there because of the way I am always thinking about that sort of thing. I'm amazed that it took her this long to realize that she wasn't as happy as she could be. Aren't we all in risk of not being as happy as we could be? It's kind of sad but the story wasn't there for that. It was very uplifting. It's telling you to rise up and clean your closet, go to a class, go make some friends, or go on an adventure. Simple things can make you happy. Rubin was out to find a way where she could do her project and do it right at home. She is saying that you don't need a major move or major change in your life to be you.

At the start of January she set up to do one thing with a few things that will help her achieve it. Then she would add on each new months goals. For example: January was the month to Boost Energy. That month she would do things like go to sleep earlier, exercise better, and tackle a nagging task. She is admittedly a perfectionist and researched a whole lot to figure out how to do these things. She also had a lot of quotes which kept popping up everywhere and I couldn't believe how many she knew! She quotes the greats and her new favorites. She studies them as well. She commented about Thoreau who even though I've never read any of his books kind of inspires me. He's that nature guy you quote. I'm mentioning him because when you are reading her book you think about ways you want to improve your life. There are a couple of nagging tasks I want to complete but really don't want to deal with. My storage is a mess. I would love to be friendly all the time and make new friends whenever I wanted.  I would love to be more productive with my upcoming studying time. So Thoreau made me think of a part of myself I want to be. She has this saying: "You can choose what you do; you can't choose what you like to do." Two years ago I couldn't say I like doing nature activities because I've never done any of them before. If I didn't like hiking or biking or rowing when I tried them that would be a big letdown because that's a part of who I want to be. But, going to Georgia made me realize that yes! I can do this because I want to and actually like to do those things. This is something that I would like to pursue. Something that made me happy. This would be a perfect thing to start thinking of and acting upon because of this book which I think was the whole point Rubin had when sharing this book - to inspire people.

There was some things that she wanted to improve on herself. She snapped on her family a lot when she was angry or nagged her husband to do something she wanted to do. It takes guts to admit things like that because I wouldn't want someone to think bad about me. Her story felt more real this way because she was leaving it out there. I just couldn't understand how she could not be as grateful as she wanted to be with her family. I know I'm not there with my life but I think I would always have the thought with my kids how I've always wanted you and you're here! This is the greatest life I could have hoped for. Also, with a husband who absolutely loves you. I would love to have someone to talk to as much as she was able to talk about almost anything with her husband. Of course I don't have any experience so her experience really got me thinking how I need to be grateful when I have that and what I have now. My life could have so many problems with it but it doesn't and I never really think about that. She doesn't say this in a pushy way. None of the things she does. Although I was uneasy about her two years ago now I commend her to what she's accomplished and what she has helped others to realize or start thinking about.

She wrote about eternity and it was funny to me. Here's this nonreligious person who finds a mentor in a saint. I'm not really religious but I aspire to be spiritual someday... I love saints. They are great models of how we should act as better people in general. No matter what you believe or don't. I liked how she was not religious but thought that she had to dive into this for a month because it's important. It was interesting to see her perspective. Again not in your face at all. She also wrote about another major issue in the lives of everyone. Money. She wrote how she under bought all the time. She left buying toilet paper for instance till the last minute. She wrote on about indulging yourself sometimes (I'm not talking about toilet paper) with things you would feel guilty on getting but really want. You need to do this reasonably though. She mentioned a few times after that some indulgences but I don't think I would be able to spend that much on myself. It kind of didn't sit well with me. That was one of the things that kind of bothered me about the book but honestly who am I to tell someone what to buy and how much it can be?

I really enjoyed reading The Happiness Project. It took me oddly three days to read it. I had to read it slowly. I think it was because I was savoring what was being said to me. It gets you thinking about your happiness and what you can do in your life now to make you happier. You can be a regular person or someone who faces hardships every day and be able to be happier. I would like to think no matter what status we are we can become better people and truly be happy. I just don't think I could make that much effort into being nice when I was upset or nice when someone I didn't like was bothering me. It sounds like really hard work that she had to do but it also sounds like it's worth it. You can actually do your own Happiness Project and see how at her website. She has a new book out to that I will definitely be checking out from the library. I wanted to start with this book for the new year because I thought it was a perfect introduction for 2013. We all make goals and promises that we hardly ever keep. It's a little inspiration for those of you have some new goals this year. I hope you keep at it. I'm glad I didn't give up on this book. It's worth checking out. It gets you thinking about important things in your life and the most important thing that you can be for yourself - happy.


  1. I've heard really good things about this book. This is on my TBR list as well. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Oh I haven't seen this book before but now when I've read your review it sounds like I might like it. :) Thanks for sharing :)

    1. Thanks for reading (:
      It's a little inspirational. It gets you wanting to be a better person.

  3. This seems like a great book to read at the start of the new year! I loved your review and have added this one to my list. :) Thanks for sharing!

    1. That's what I thought so I reviewed it for the New Year. I got really lucky with this book.


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