Mariah's Reviews > Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life

Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin
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Sep 10, 12

Read from September 06 to 09, 2012

Even though I felt like her first book was a bit of a stunt, I picked up "Happiness at Home" last week to see what new perils of happiness wisdom Rubin had in store.

Once again, as with her first book, Rubin sets out to tackle a different project each month-- whether its learning to be a tourist in her own city, or improving her relationship with her husband. This time she did a 9-month project instead of 12, which I think was a good decision on her part.

Overall, I found the book worth reading. If you can look past some of the (occasionally exhaustive) navel-gazing, and once again realize that Rubin is already starting from a place of comfort and stability (when she wants to build a shrine in her home, commission a mural for her office or take her daughter shopping at Bloomingdale's, money is never an issue for her, despite her repeated defense that she's an
"under-buyer"), there are some really good bits sprinkled among the pages.

I will say, I found the use of the word "home" to be a bit gimmicky and over-arching. This sort of seemed like, "I want to do another Happiness Project, but I need a new angle." I actually found this to be remarkably similar to the first book-- in book 1, she cleans closest, works on her marriage, focuses on her family, and tries to exercise more. In book 2, she organizes her office space, works on her marriage, focuses on her family, and tries to jump more. So the home stuff? A bit of a stretch. At one point she even titles a chapter "interior decorating," only to realize that the chapter is a pun-- she's talking about the interior of the mind/body. Which is cool, but it seemed like she tried to force the home metaphor at times-- it was really a flashback to her earlier attempts at self-improvement and growth.

That being said, I actually did find some suggestions I'm going to incorporate from this book, and try to "choose the bigger life." As cheesy as it sounds, this book actually did inspire me, and I've decided to attempt my own personal happiness project. This was the kickstart I needed.
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