Sunday, 2 January 2011

Book ~ "The Happiness Project" (2009) Gretchen Rubin

From Amazon ~ Rubin is not an unhappy woman: she has a loving husband, two great kids and a writing career in New York City. Still, she could - and, arguably, should - be happier. Thus, her methodical (and bizarre) happiness project: spend one year achieving careful, measurable goals in different areas of life (marriage, work, parenting, self-fulfillment) and build on them cumulatively, using concrete steps (such as, in January, going to bed earlier, exercising better, getting organized, and "acting more energetic"). By December, she's striving bemusedly to keep increasing happiness in every aspect of her life. The outcome is good, not perfect (in accordance with one of her "Secrets of Adulthood": "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good") but Rubin's funny, perceptive account is both inspirational and forgiving, and sprinkled with just enough wise tips, concrete advice and timely research (including all those other recent books on happiness) to qualify as self-help. Defying self-help expectations, however, Rubin writes with keen senses of self and narrative, balancing the personal and the universal with a light touch. Rubin's project makes curiously compulsive reading, which is enough to make any reader happy.

Like Rubin, I'm not unhappy ... but we can all be happier.

She has twelve commandments which help her which she expands on and goes back to again and again:
  • Be Gretchen.
  • Let it go.
  • Act the way I want to feel.
  • Do it now.
  • Be polite and be fair.
  • Enjoy the process.
  • Spend out.
  • Identify the problem.
  • Lighten up.
  • Do what ought to be done.
  • No calculation.
  • There is only love.
Every chapter is a new month with things to work on. For example, January is all about Vitality - Boosting Energy. The topics covered include:
  • Go to sleep earlier
  • Exercise better
  • Toss, restore, organize
  • Tackle a nagging problem
  • Act more energetic
May is about Leisure - Be Serious about Play and the topics include:
  • Find more fun
  • Take time to be silly
  • Go off the path
  • Start a collection
Rubin includes a lot of examples of the changes she is trying to make in her life and is honest about when things don't work as expected. She has set up a blog to support this project ... you should check it out.

I enjoyed this book and got a lot out of it.


Cindy said...

That book sounds very interesting. Especially the one point -act the way I want to feel. I have found that that is a very powerful thing that we can do. It really works.
Hugs, Cindy

Cindy said...

You were in Winnipeg recently? I love the Forks, we walk along the river often there, my husband and I. We have determined that we will skate the river trail this winter, too.
Hugs, Cindy

CapricornWoman said...

Sounds quite an inspiring book!

Teresa said...

Sounds like an interesting book. Have a great 2011.