Laura's Reviews > 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

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
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Oct 23, 11

Read in October, 2011

This book is gimmicky and I wouldn't recommend it to everyone I know, but I really enjoyed about 75% of it. Basically, it's a one-year stunt book. The author, who is happily married with two kids and has a good freelance career, wants to be happier--or at least remember to recognize that she is happy so that she is not so snappy and negative. Yes, it's not the most lofty of goals, but it's one that I think many could benefit from. It's easy to forget that life is good in the face of everyday irritations and banalities.

The writing reminds me of a women's magazine--Real Simple or Family Circle--interspersed with interesting observations and quotes from great thinkers. (Rubin is a great researcher and note-taker, and I admire her seemingly endless appetite for reading about a subject.) Rubin's quest is relatable, as are many of her problems and things she wants to change about herself. Her steps also seem doable and there are a lot of good pieces of advice. This isn't a heavy treatise on happiness. Those exist elsewhere.

Later in the book, I think she relied far too much on observations from her blog readers. I understand why she did it--to expand the focus beyond herself--but it started to feel lazy.

I think many people will hate this. They are probably the same people who hated Eat Pray Love, which I also liked. Rubin has, in comparison to most of the world, a privileged life. But does that mean she doesn't have something to say or that it's not noble, on a small scale, to try to be happier, to be nicer and more thoughtful and mindful, and to be a better person?
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message 1: by bryan (new) - added it

bryan >>The author, who is happily married with two kids and has a good freelance career, wants to be happier--or at least remember to recognize that she is happy so that she is not so snappy and negative. Yes, it's not the most lofty of goals

You don't think the pursuit of happiness is a lofty goal? Well missy, a little thing called the Declaration of Independence disagrees!


Laura Ha! I was trying to combat a perception of this book, which is that it's too light or superficial.


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