The Happiness Project – Book Review

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

While riding the train one day, Gretchen Rubin came to a realization about her life.  She wasn’t happy, or at least not as happy as she thought that she could be.  Sure, overall she had a pretty good life, but surely there were things she could do to make it better. Gretchen’s solution to this problem was to start a happiness project.  She decided to dedicate each month of the year to one set of practices that would make her life happier, trying to keep up with all of the practices in December to see if it would make her uber-happy.  Rubin’s resolutions fell into categories like marriage (remember love), parenthood (lighten up), books (pursue a passion), and more.

Following a bunch of rules may not sound like the best way to become happy, and perhaps it wouldn’t be for everyone, but it certainly worked for Gretchen.  I think the key was that all of her rules – and the fact she had a handy dandy chart to see whether or not she had followed them – made her more mindful of what she was doing, and helped her strive to make her life better.  I certainly find the idea of a happiness project appealing, not because I’m unhappy, but because I think that most of us could do things to make ourselves even happier than we are.  I don’t think now is a good time for me to try something like this, what with us moving – Gretchen was purposefully doing her project at a relatively calm time, somewhat in preparation for more chaotic times in the nebulous future – but I could see myself doing it at some point.  Honestly, even just reading the book positively effected my happiness during the week I was reading it.  If not for Gretchen’s own attempts to lighten up as a parent and be a treasure trove of happy memories, I might have gotten annoyed at Daniel and simply cleaned everything up when he made a big mess, instead I have this video that we will treasure for years to come:

If you think you could be happier, I think that “The Happiness Project” could be a great tool to help you get there. If nothing else, you will be inspired by Gretchen’s story enough to change in little ways, perhaps without even realizing it, and definitely without feeling like you’ve just read a self-help book.

Buy this book from:
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This review was done with an book ARC passed on from a friend.
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12 comments to The Happiness Project – Book Review

  • Too cute! Boys love messes that’s for sure. I’m sure it’s not the first and won’t be the last!

  • I’ve seen several bloggers mention this book recently so I checked it out from the library and have just started it. If I get one little gem out of reading it then it’s worth it. Every little step to happiness helps.

  • I’ve seen this book around and love the premise of the book. I mean, I’m not the biggest fan of self help books, but this doesn’t sound preachy or self helpy at all. I think that there are so many people (myself included) who just speed through life and this book kind of reminds us to slow down and enjoy everything that we can. After all, isn’t that really supposed to be what it’s all about? Slowing down and enjoying everything not just focusing on the next big thing, whatever that might be.

  • I’ve seen the book around but was wondering about the idea of setting rules to try to make me happy. To me, more rules = more stress. But the idea of just tackling one thing a month that you want to try to improve in your life does make sense. And it would really make you stop and think what it would take to make you truly happy. So in that regard, it might be worth a try.

  • This is the third post I’ve read this week about this book! I have to admit that I’m not one to normally read self-help, but this one sounds more memoir-ish. I’ve placed a hold at my library, but it looks like I’ll be waiting a while — over 100 holds already.

  • I impulsively bought this on my Kindle on New Year’s Day (when we all want to do some improving). Have yet to read it, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m not unhappy either, but who wouldn’t want to spiff up their life a little?

  • Too cute! I’ve also tried to lighten up a bit since reading this book. I didn’t expect to enjoy it but really did.

  • When I first heard about The Happiness Project, I didn’t think it would appeal to me, but now that I’ve read so many great reviews, I’m dying to read it!

    Daniel is such a cutie! Good thing my dog wasn’t there – she’d have been in that cheese with him.

  • Yummy! Big bag ‘o cheese! Didn’t you know the floor is much better than the high chair tray, Mommy?

    You have definitely intrigued me with your review. I was scoffing the premise, but I may actually have to check it out one of these days. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and another adorable video of Daniel! (Those cheeks are MADE for kissing!)

  • I haven’t read the book yet, but I love keeping up with Gretchen’s blog. She always has great posts. If you have found a way to enjoy Daniel even more then it sounds as if the Happiness Project has already helped and I am sure you will continue with at least that bit of advice.

  • I like the idea of a list to make me happy. Lists in general make me happy already. I’ve read reviews of this one on several sites — looks good!

    That’s such a “cheesy” video. 😉

  • I like your perspective on the rules driving more mindfulness – I agree that being more mindful of what makes you happy would result in more happiness! I have this book and am looking forward to reading it!