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?