Bridget's Reviews > The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2013-reads

I have been wanting to read this book for a while, and used a gift card I received for Christmas 2011 to buy a copy last year, deciding to wait until January of this year to read it. (Don't question why - it made perfect sense to me, I don't expect anyone else to understand.) I had read lots about it, and I had run into people who either loved it or hated it, so I was excited to finally try it for myself.

I'm glad I read this book. Unlike lots of other stories, where the author decides they need a change, and then moves to another country, leaves their family, abandon all that is part of them, Gretchen Rubin worked on herself and her life while living it. This appealed to me, since it seemed both practical and realistic. I am not 100% convinced that a person can completely overhaul their existence for a period of time, and really learn much about themselves. So Rubin's approach made sense to me.

During the year of her Happiness Project, Rubin made a systematic attempt to be happier. She developed a list of resolutions, and worked on a month-by-month basis to keep them. Nothing she attempted or accomplished had to mean that her husband and children also change their lives, or their routines. This also appealed to me, since I find it realistic that a person's entire family might not take kindly to having to change *their* lives just because a member of that family is trying something for themselves.

One realization that Rubin made that resonated with me was the realization that she didn't have to enjoy things her friends enjoyed, just because they did. That it was OK not to want to do things that most others enjoyed. Then she also asked herself what she *did* enjoy, and focused on those things. I think it's really hard to not do things others enjoy - you know they should be fun or interesting, but you just don't feel that way. And many times the others don't understand.

Anyhow, I found this book to be a good read, and fairly inspiring. I liked that by the end, she still didn't do everything perfectly, even though she tried to - that seemed normal to me! I liked that she realized that wanting to be happy is not selfish, and not easy. And I liked that by the end, she felt it was a successful attempt and that it was worth it to keep going.

I am a person who is always trying to find ways to be a better person. Only in the past few years has it occurred to me that small things are better than no progress at all. By tracking her progress, Gretchen Rubin realized how small things can make a huge difference in one person or one family's life. I didn't find the book preachy, or self-satisfied, rather conversational and even inspiring. Though I am unlikely to undertake such a huge project for myself all at once, I found many things I could take away from the book to help me try to improve myself.

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Reading Progress

June 22, 2011 – Shelved
Started Reading
January 1, 2013 – Finished Reading
January 27, 2013 – Shelved as: 2013-reads

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