Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book review: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Synopsis: 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. “The years are 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. 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.

Review/Thoughts: One of my biggest goals for this period of transition in my life is to get back to my authentic self…but even better, so really, I couldn’t have picked a better time to read this book. Rubin picks twelve broad areas of her life and focuses on one per month, setting resolutions that she tracks on a chart. Any resolutions she doesn’t keep in their respective months gets moved to the next month, and so on.

This book drives home the fact that really, it is the little things in life that can make a big difference. Although I enjoyed this whole book immensely, the part that really struck a chord with me was when she talked about True Rules, which she calls “an idiosyncratic collection of principles…for making decisions and setting priorities.” It turns out that I have my own list of True Rules, although I’ve never heard them called by that name before, and I’m sure if you thought about it, you could come up with your own list. So, in the spirit of reading the book and wanting to make small but significant changes in my life, here’s my list:

· Make the effort
· Keep moving forward
· It’s not usually about you (me)
· Books are my salvation
· Be here now
· Trust the process
· Details matter
· Don’t judge—you don’t know the whole story
· Speak up
· Don’t commit if you won’t follow through

For more information on the author and The Happiness Project (or to find tools to start your own), visit

What about you? What small areas of your life could you change in order to be happier? What “True Rules” set the tone for your life?

1 comment:

  1. I've heard a lot about this book, but your review inspired me to start reading it. Love the part about the True Rules. Thanks for the review.