Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Title: The Happiness Project
Author: Gretchen Rubin
Pages: 292 pages
Published: December 29th 2009 by Harper
Source: Borrowed from my cousin
Link: goodreadsThe Happiness Project Blog

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project. In this lively and compelling account—now updated with new material by the author—Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference.
I'd been wanting to check out this book ever since I heard about it.  I mean.. who doesn't want to be happier.  If you are as happy as you could possibly be well lucky you.  I was at my cousin's house a few months back and saw she owned the book and asked if I could borrow it.  I like these little suggestive help books.  I read through them and get ideas and I'm proud to say I have already been doing quite a few things this book mentioned.  Seriously... I think this women did a lot of research for this book.  Who knew there were so many sources out there to find happiness.  Two references she mentioned in this book are St. Therese's The Story of a Soul and Dalia Lama The Art of Happiness both I have never read so I put immediately on hold at the library.

The author takes on this Happiness Project for an entire year, each month focusing on something different in her life.  For examples marriage, kids, work, (I skipped those two chapters), a chapter about eternity (though she is not religious) friends and other topics.  Really what I found most promising in the book was a section about getting rid of clutter.  Most of the reviews I read on this book also liked that part.  She must've just written it so well it inspired all of us. I've personally been working on my own happiness project for about 10 years now.  I suffered from a bad depression in my early 20s and ever since then I try to do things that make me happy.  A lot of what the book talks about I figured out on my own.

Some people have commented that the author really has nothing to be unhappy about. She comes from wealth has a great marriage, a great job, and all that.  I think though it's unfair to judge someone for these reasons.  I remember one time there was a huge wildfire in the city I live in.  It went through a wealthy area of homes (over 400 burned) and I just kept hearing people talk about the fact that it wasn't a big deal because it happened to wealthy people.  These people lost everything in the fire as far as possessions.  I'm talking about photographs, keepsakes, pets, things that mattered to them.  It shouldn't have mattered how much money they had.  Unhappiness can happen to ANYONE.

I think this was a positive book and a good read if you really are looking for happiness.  One of the parts of the book that annoyed me was that she was talking about being in contact with friends more. Apparently she is one of "those" friends who just got too busy with their lives to bother to stay in touch with people and thinks that by sending a birthday card each year to her friends that is going to solve that.  I totally disagree.  I tried to reach out to friends who were just like her.. and honestly I got tired of trying to get them to be my friend.  If they reached out to me after 10 years and then just think we are going to chat on the phone every weekend it's just not going to happen.  Rubin was upset that one of her friends didn't really respond to her trying to reconnect after 10 years.  Huh.

It was an good read... though I won't take a year to try to do what she did.  And like the book Eat, Pray, Love it must be nice to be able to do this project and get paid to try to be happy.

3 out of 5

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