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Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives
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Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

(Better Than Before #1)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  37,446 ratings  ·  3,641 reviews
New York Times Bestseller
Washington Post Bestseller
The author of the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, tackles the critical question: How do we change? 
Gretchen Rubin's answer: through habits. Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. It takes work to make a habit, but once that habit is set, we can harness
Hardcover, 298 pages
Published March 17th 2015 by Crown
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May 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book started off quite interesting, but unfortunately devolved into the author trying to convince everyone to adopt a low-carb diet and other habits she likes (and to not adopt habits she things are stupid, like drinking water), which was tiresome. Although the start of the book implied that the book would be about habit formation rather than which habits are best, and while the first couple of chapters tried to highlight the variety of human experiences with habits, ultimately this just fe ...more
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is such a wonderful and inspiring book. Gretchen Rubin's advice seems to find me just when I need it most.

Better Than Before is all about our daily habits and how we can improve them. Rubin describes habits as "the invisible architecture" of our life.

"We repeat about 40 percent of our behavior almost daily, so our habits shape our existence, and our future. If we change our habits, we change our lives."

She writes that if we practice good habits, it can reduce stress and increase your produ
Oct 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
Should've been subtitled "First World Problems."

Unscientific, clichéed twaddle wrapped up in the usual publishing/lifestyle guru gimmick. Branded. A vanity project from a bored dilettante (and 1%er, to boot). The author comes across as exhausting and insufferable. I didn't actually finish the book (taking the advice she gives in her podcast to stop reading books you don't like! Zing!); it became unbearable. I came here to read reviews to see if I was crazy.

One thing I did get out of it, though:
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
There were a couple of good things in here but it mostly didn't work for me due to medical issues. But, I can see the advice working for a lot of people! 😊 ...more
Dec 11, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received an advance copy of this ebook from NetGalley.

I wanted to love this book. I read it very quickly, which is why it got the third star. However, it just felt...all over the place. There were no tips that I felt I could apply to my own life. There was nothing life-changing. There were some interesting categorizations...Upholders and Rebels and Obligers and all that. I thought it was interesting to read about how different people respond to internal and external accountability. As a teache
Glenn Sumi
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I don’t pay much attention to self-help literature – in fact, a book on how to deal with clutter is currently cluttering up my groaning bookshelves!

But hey, it’s a new calendar year, and it seemed like a suitable time to try to break some bad habits (procrastination, unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, book and DVD clutter, unfiled paperwork) and maybe pick up some better ones.

This book – by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project – was so helpful that shortly after beginning a library
May 18, 2015 rated it did not like it
I have to confess that I have this really bad habit of reading self help books. I am really grateful for this book because it just made crystal clear how incredibly banal and superfluous this book is, along with trying to learn anything from the utterly materially privileged life, as well as the perfectionist best but boring girl in the class attitude of Rubin. Which is quite symptomatic of this genre, I have FINALLY understood, even if I quite liked the brilliant and fun business idea of Eat Pr ...more
Emma Sea
27 July 2015

I'm a big sucker for time management and self-improvement books, but style of this one made me gag a little.

Rubin tells a story about a woman who was robbed, and when the thieves forced her to open her safe it contained her jewelry, cash, and chocolate. She explained to the robbers it was so she wouldn't be tempted to eat more than a little at a time.

Should you have a safe, a job as a TV show runner, and an overflowing bucket of privilege, you may find Rubin's writing style is for y
Mar 25, 2015 rated it liked it
While I appreciated the thought process surrounding this book, I would have liked a format that spoke more specifically and in chapter form about what tactics work best for each of the Four Tendencies. Better still, to do a more thorough job of grouping Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, and Rebel with Lark/Owl, Starter/Finisher, Competitive/Non-Competitive, Over-Buyer/Under-Buyer, etc.
This book felt more about Gretchen and her family than it did about actually coming up with strategies for people t
Mar 11, 2015 rated it did not like it
This author got more and more irritating. It's all anecdotes of her life and family (her sister this and her sister that) and just sounds so self righteous. She comes across as a know it all who tells everyone to eat lo carb and that their way of building habits is wrong. There are some interesting ideas such as evaluating your personality type in connection to how you develop habits and why one would fight a certain way of habit building. I almost stopped this book when she proclaimed that exer ...more
Brenda Yeates
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
For some reason I could not put this book down, but I think it had more to do with my eager anticipation to be "wowed" or at least entertained, which never really happened. I so enjoyed Rubin's "Happiness Project" that I was certain I would love this book as well. I found this book to use many of the same phrases/concepts/examples as the "Happiness Project" which became a bit much reading them over and over again. I seemed to know exactly what she was going to say before I read that far ahead... ...more
“For good and bad, habits are the invisible architecture of daily life.” Three cheers for a self-help book that is actually helpful! I enjoyed Rubin’s previous book, Happier at Home, so jumped at the chance to read this. In this thorough guide to making and breaking habits, she is quick to emphasize that different strategies work for different people. As in the Myers-Briggs personality assessment, the four classical temperaments, or books ranging from The Five Love Languages or Eat Right for You ...more
Jul 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that I read slowly, re-reading sections, underlining passages, absorbing. Gretchen Rubin's take on habits is fresh, wise, and utterly engaging.

Better Than Before will have a profound effect in my life, and truly, it already is. I will regularly re-read highlighted passages and will likely post several in places I'm sure to see them daily.
Jun 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
How we spend our time is how we spend our life.

Quite a few years ago I had a temporary job working as an assistant to the owner and principal attorney of an estate planning law firm. One of my tasks was to fetch his lunch every day from the deli off the office building lobby. There were two things I could bring him, the exact same options always: a particular sandwich or a particular salad, both of which they offered every day, and he didn’t care which it was, plus a certain V8 beverage. He did
Merri Su
Mar 19, 2015 rated it liked it
This is actually the first of Rubin's books that I've finished. I find her writing (blog, previous books) to have a lot of usable insights that are buried under an insufferable, nearly narcissistic, know-it-all tone. And she has a significant amount of seemingly unacknowledged privilege. That tone and privilege were still present in this book, but at least she's noticing that what works for her doesn't necessarily work for everyone else. A lot of the personal anecdotes in this book made me glad ...more
September Michaud
Mar 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, non-fiction
In Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin discusses habits as “the invisible architecture of daily life.” As life is made up of seconds, “how we schedule our days is how we spend our lives.”

By choosing the habits we create, we consciously decide how we spend our lives. We eliminate time wasted on indecision because we already made the commitment early on. Once we establish our habits, our time and energy can be used for the activities that make our lives meaningful. As Rubin states “A habit requires
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
In my recent review of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, I mentioned that I don’t have much of a rebellious streak. This comment made perfect sense to me: my clothing choices tend towards business casual (if I could wear a suit everyday, I would), my favorite activities are cooking and reading (somewhat domestic choices), and my drug of choice is fine wine. So imagine my surprise when I took Gretchen Rubin’s quiz on the Four Tendencies and found out that I, apparently, am a rebel.

Rubin’s latest b
Jul 01, 2015 added it
I'm going to stop reading this because I find it a bit tedious and the Charles Duhigg habit book is much more compelling right now. That said, there are some intuitive truths in here, particularly the commonsense notion that everyone's habit forming tendencies are different. At least, this validates my feelings about all those krazy articles that try to convince you that the first bite of dessert is the most satisfying so you can just take a bite and pass it along. Um, that last bite of dessert ...more
Cindy Rollins
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, audiobooks
I like to start the new year with a self-help type book. I know it is trite but I like fresh beginnings. I also love 'habits' and this book is a perfect complement to The Power of Habit, sort of a testimonial of someone who read The Power of Habit and went in search of more.

I was especially interested in her ideas about rewards because they were exactly parallel to Charlotte Mason's own writings on reward. Reward has limited use in changing habits.

She also mentions how we have to be careful wh
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I find the topic of habit formation (or breaking) really interesting, so probably why I liked Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives as much as I did. I debated between 3 and 4 stars, but ultimately went with four. While Gretchen Rubin included a lot of research related to habits, the part of the book I liked most was the tips in each chapter based on strategies she's used, along with lots of actual stories of what has worked for others. She catagorized people into 4 diff ...more
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
While I always enjoy Gretchen Rubin's writing style and her willingness to try things so very systematically and then write about it, often her books make me think, "Should I really be this concerned with crafting my own personal happiness?" and "Aren't we dissecting this just a little too much?" It's all a bit "meta," and feels very much like first-world navel-gazing. Better than Before is somewhat more of the same except that for some reason, it feels less indulgent when you're talking about b ...more
I'm not much of a self-help book reader. Often they have too many arguments (some reaching) for why you should conform to their ideas. I would much rather be given the information and then left to decide for myself. That is what Gretchen Rubin has offered in her excellent book on the power of habit and harnessing it to improve your life.

Often using friends and family to help her test her techniques and theories, we the reader are able to see her models at work in a fun and relatable way. Sometim
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2017, audio
I wasn't always on the Gretchen Rubin bandwagon. For a long time I found her a little....annoying. But recently I started listening to her podcast and for come reason she finally clicked with me. So when Better than Before was available in audio from the library I decided to try it. Now that she has been doing the podcast for a while (and I've caught up listening to most of the episodes) there is a lot of ideas and material repeated in this book. But I am no longer put off by the author and inst ...more
Trish at Between My Lines
Apr 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, non-fiction
I listened to the audiobook and found it motivational and inspiring. Understanding more about habits has me thinking of new tactics I can use in my life to help reinforce the habits I want to cultivate or ones I want to strengthen. Overall I found it full of practical advice and I'm determined to make some of the advice work for me.

Notes after my second read:
This is a book that you need to revisit, to really encourage the messages to sink in. I found just as inspiring second time round. And I ha
Debra Hennessey
Mar 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
Lots of good reviews here so I'm missing something I guess. I thought it was babbling nonsense. ...more
Lori Cox
Apr 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
Enjoyed Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project but this time I felt I was being lectured to. Ms. Rubin must be a difficult person to live with as she knows what is best for everyone.... ...more
Mar 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Do I love Rubin’s writing and passion for researching topics like happiness and habits? Yes. Do I love personality tests and did I love defining myself into the roles she laid out in the book? Yes. Did I feel like I learned a lot about how to apply her research to my own life? Ehhh.

I wanted to love this book. As with all self-help books, I desperately wanted to read it and be struck with an aha! moment, suddenly armed with the necessary motivation and tools to change my habits. Did that happen?
May 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
I was thinking of giving this 3 stars because it's an intriguing concept for a book and I did get some good things out of it, maybe.

But... I think the more I step back from this, the more I realize the possible damage that could be done by this. I just got back from discussing this book with my book club...and we had what was to me, a major epiphany. I think it's something that anyone who reads this book ought to consider: in all likelihood, the author has an eating disorder.

The book began well
Jun 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Overall, I highly recommend this for anyone who feels like they could be juuust a little better at life if they didn't keep screwing up on small things. Once my husband pointed out a tendency for Rubin to highlight examples of her being a freaking rockstar at everything with very little effort it started to grate on me as well. I really wish her editor had reframed the chapter where she introduces low carb eating as a new habit. Every time she brought up after that chapter there was this hint of ...more
Feb 16, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The audiobook is narrated by the author but it comes off as phony. She is super excited about her Eureka moments and then condescendingly tells everyone about them. Except she says that she has done a ton of research on the topic. If she had, she would have known that her supposed discoveries are nothing new: e.g. personality types exist!! habits matter!!

All the rest of the book is anecdotes flowing from her unvalidated "discoveries." I don't get the appeal. If this style helps some people, mor
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I am the author of New York Times bestsellers The Happiness Project, Happier at Home, and Better Than Before, and The Four Tendencies. My newest book, Outer Order, Inner Calm , is on sale now.

Curious about The Four Tendencies? Find out if you're an Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, or Rebel (and how to harness your strengths. Take the free Four Tendencies quiz.

I have a popular, award-winning podca

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