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The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  4,145 ratings  ·  579 reviews
In this New York Times bestseller, Janice Kaplan spends a year living gratefully and transforms her marriage, family life, work and health. Her pioneering reseach was praised in People and Vanity Fair and hailed on TV shows including Today, The O’Reilly Factor, and CBS’s The Talk.

On New Year’s Eve, journalist and former Parade Editor-in-Chief Janice Kaplan makes a promis
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 18th 2015 by Dutton
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 ·  4,145 ratings  ·  579 reviews

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Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
On the off chance that you’re not going to live forever, why not take a shot at being happy now. Charlie from The Newsroom

I consider myself a pretty happy sort and I’m deeply grateful for the life I lead, the gifts I possess, the love of family and friends. But some days I do need a little bit of a push to get to that happy place so I pick up self-help books throughout the year to keep my brain engine in racing form and so it was that I came across this book on audio.

This is a format we’ve all n
Ken Montville
Dec 08, 2015 rated it did not like it
I really tried to like this book but I just couldn't. No matter how much "gratitude" I tried to practice for learning about the author's exploration into the various parts of her life, I just could not relate.


It is obviously a book written by someone who lives in the highly privileged and rarefied atmosphere of the extremely wealthy. Everything from chatting with Matt Damon about raising grateful kids to interviews with high level academics and bestselling authors is no challenge. It seems a
Naysayers, let’s get this out of the way: yes, Janice Kaplan has a lot to be grateful for. There’s the NYC apartment and Connecticut home, the cashmere dress, the doctor husband, the high-flying journalism career, the trips to the Caribbean and the Alps. But that’s not to say that we couldn’t all do with a little encouragement to appreciate what we already have. In so many areas of life – finances, career, relationship, even the weather – we’re all too often hoping for more or better than what w ...more
Nov 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book looked promising, but I gave up after the first 2 chapters. I guess I am spoiled by reading good writing.

I appreciate the many books on this topic that are crafted better, don't rely on name-dropping, and have been edited appropriately. One of my favorites is The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to read and appreciate excellent writing in so many other books.

I'm thankful to return this book to the library.

Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book but couldn't muddle through most of it. I'm rich, my husband's a doctor, my sons are handsome, tall and smart. blah blah blah.... I guess it's easy to be grateful when you really think you have it all. Self love at it's finest. ...more
Oct 02, 2015 marked it as to-read
Shelves: maybe-later
I'm setting this down for now and will try again later. I got a few chapters in, but couldn't finish. This seems very similar to Gretchen Rubin's "The Happiness Project," except the Rubin book was better written.

Maybe the next time I pick up the Kaplan book I will be more grateful.
Sandy Reilly
Jun 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very interesting exploration of gratitude and its role in our lives. Yes, the author shares her own ideas and her year-long experiment with finding gratitude on a daily basis, but she also has done quite a bit of investigating the research being done with gratitude and how it affects our love life, family life, and even personal health. I'm not sure I ca. completely change my outlook as the author has, however I have been inspired to keep a daily gratitude journal, which has definitely helped me ...more
Ashley Sargent
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
I love the message this book is presenting and plan on taking some of the ideas and putting them towards my life, but I feel like it was a bit long. There were times where I felt the author was using the book to catalog and almost brag about experiences and people she knows. I see where she was wanting this book to go, but I guess I thought it was going to be a different story. I really enjoy the idea of a gratitude diaries, but I feel as though this may have been better suited for an article or ...more
Beth Lind
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m thankful that I read this book. It prompted me to start my own gratitude journal and the timing could not have been better as we were unknowingly about to experience some challenging health scares. Throughout, finding gratitude was healing and calming.
Dawn Critchfield
Sep 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much! It is life changing.
This was a well-written book that I was able to zoom through. It seems well-researched and might might work well as a book club book where members try out keeping journals and being grateful, tracking how it works for them.


----------------------------Do not read if you enjoyed the book ----------------------------------------------

One of the main complaints I read about "TheHappiness Project" was that the author was a rich, white woman writing about her problems. I had the same problem w
Janice Kaplan's The Gratitude Diaries is a lesson for anyone who wants to change their life for the better. It's a thoughtful book, and the author spent time talking to all kinds of scientists, doctors and experts about gratitude and how it can change someone. But, it all comes down to how it changed her life. It's subtitled "How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Transformed My Life."

Kaplan's decision to live gratefully started on New Year's Eve, as so many resolutions do. She tried to decide wh
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Before deciding to read this book, I read a bad review that had said something along the lines of - "Of course the author is grateful. I too would be grateful if I owned three homes." I think that review entirely missed the point. This book was as much about discussing why, when we have so much, we aren't grateful, as it is about showing how the author learned to become grateful. Her wealth at times was annoying, (as were her examples of salaries when she wanted to make the point that more salar ...more
Karen Ball
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Interesting memoir of a year focused on being more grateful - and research into how this affects physical, mental, emotional and social parts of your life. The physical effects of actively being grateful were what surprised me the most!
Mary Lou
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
In the spirit of the book, I'm grateful to Kaplan's book for reinforcing the importance of appreciating each moment and looking on the bright side.

In the interest of an honest review, this book annoyed the heck out of me. Let's try to keep it pithy and use bullet points:

~ Kaplan comes across as a nag. Like a former smoker, she can't help but preach rather than just setting a quiet example.

~Would someone (anyone!) please tell Jill Schwartzman (whom Kaplan names as editor) to sneak over to Kapla
Jun 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
The book is not so practical but it gives some ideas about having more grateful attitude toward life in different ways. Some studying results were really good and shocking for me and made me think a lot.
Jun 28, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016-read
An interesting project certainly, but a few peeves. First, stylistically this book left much to be desired from my point of view, especially considering she was previously a magazine editor. Specifically, she writes parenthetically, generally 3 pairs per page and on one page I counted 6 (!!) instances. Bad habit in my opinion. Additionally, she speaks, or writes with what feels to me odd exclamations!!, which were nearly as prevalent, and commonly in tandem with her affliction with the parenthes ...more
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I first started this, I thought it would be a lot like Gretchen Rubin's books, which I don't really love that much. I'm glad I kept reading; this was a fun read and very thought-provoking! I particularly liked the chapters on health and finances. I am definitely inspired to make gratitude more intentional. And now I want to read other nonfiction books by Kaplan (not her fiction--they look rather risqué for my taste!) ...more
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book really resonated with me. Maybe at a different time of my life I wouldn't have liked it as much, but right now it is something I needed. I loved the research throughout the book and it's applicableness. ...more
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Everyone should read this book!
Jul 31, 2016 rated it did not like it
I started this book after it was recommended to me by several of our library patrons. It is also a Community Summer Read in our South Central Pennsylvania community.

I read about half the book and finally gave up. Like several of the other reviewers I couldn't take her constant stories of privilege and celebrity. "Grateful to have received a thank-you myself from Clint Eastwood." Is that amazing and cool? Yes, but it's story after story like this in Kaplan's book.

Tales of her son's dorm at Yale,
This was probably the best book on gratitude or happiness that I've read so far. I loved Kaplan's journalist approach to the study of gratitude. Each month she turned her gracious attention to a different aspect of her life: her marriage, her career, her health, etc. These different foci then became the chapters for the book. She supplemented each with anecdotal stories of other friends' or acquaintances' experiences with gratitude in that particular area. Plus scientific data garnered from inte ...more
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Just what I needed! Thank You, Thank you! My friend Dawn suggested this book to our bookclub & I was the lucky one who raised her hand first to bring it home! It has great insight & personal stories to go with each section of "Gratitude" the author is working on. Some were quite funny. An Easy read & a great reminder to embrace and be thankful for all kinds of things, always looking at the bright side. For example, I have a sore toe right now but I'm tryingto be thankful that I have two feet wit ...more
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
How a year looking on the bright side transformed Janice Kaplan's life. Three reasons she is great full today. She knew that writing down one thing every day that made her grateful could change her attitude about everything. Janice threw herself into the survey and research. Most of us feel cheered when something nice occurs like a friend sends flowers. The thing you learn in this book is that gratitude requires that you take a different approach relishing the moment and not fretting about the n ...more
Audrey Mickelson
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Instant ways to make your life better and strengthen your relationships with others. Gratitude is an art and something that is constantly in need of practice, but life-changing. Great read! Well written and inspirational.
Suzanne Keetch
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really loved this book. Janice Kaplan is a great writer and her realistic, witty voice makes you feel like you’ve known her for ages. I was inspired by her insight into gratitude in many different areas of life. In fact, I just bought my gratitude journal. Here we go!
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Memoirs read by the author are generally quite good. . . at least the ones I've listened to so far. This was no exception. Kaplan tells us the story of her journey in learning how practicing gratitude can significantly alter a person's outlook on life. Because she's a journalist, she did her research! I don't know that there's necessarily new information I gained from the book, but the way Kaplan packaged it was helpful and inspired me.

To add another level of meaning would have been to give grat
This book is a Nonfiction/Memoir. I struggled with the start of this one. While the author had a worthy goal, I could not identify with her lifestyle. But once I could look at this as a memoir, that is when I found the rhythm. I read Bruce Springsteen's memoir, and I couldn't identify with the famous rock star bit, but I still enjoyed it. All I'm saying is that some of the reviews for this book point out that the author is a privileged and rich white woman. I get it, but for me, this is her stor ...more
Feb 03, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I trudged on longer than I probably should have with this book. Another selection from my 'cure my negative mindset with binge reading books on positivity' grab from my library's OverDrive. Janice is very privileged, and that is okay, I have nothing against privileged people writing books on positivity, healing, gratitude, self help in general. I even commented on my stance on that when I reviewed Quit Like a Woman. My problem lies with the *insistent* humble bragging. So many unnecessary drops. ...more
Hank Parker
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: inspirational
It's not often that a book I've read inspires me to act. GRATITUDE DIARIES did that. Kaplan brings the reader along on her one-year quest to overcome negativity in her daily affairs and supplant it with a focus on and appreciation of all the good things that life delivers. Well researched, supported by numerous interviews with people who study and practice gratitude, and liberally sprinkled with anecdotes, Kaplan's clearly written book makes a compelling case for the link between gratitude and m ...more
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Janice Kaplan was the Editor-in-Chief of Parade Magazine, the most widely read publication in America. Widely known for her achievements as a writer, television producer, and magazine editor, she was deputy editor of TV Guide magazine and executive producer of the TV Guide Television Group, where she created and produced television specials that aired primetime on ABC, FOX, VH1 and other networks. ...more

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