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The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Funby Gretchen Rubin
In a time when "experiment memoirs" are a dime a dozen, Rubin stands out with this inspiring and entertaining book. The Happiness Project is Eat, Pray, Love for us regular folks who don't have the time or money to go "find" ourselves in India. Poignant and, most importantly, applicable.
Synopses & Reviews
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 of that year, Rubin carves out her place alongside the authors of bestselling memoirs such as Julie and Julia, The Year of Living Biblically, and Eat, Pray, Love. With humor and insight, she 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.
Rubin didn't have the option to uproot herself, nor did she really want to; instead she focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions: give proofs of love, ask for help, find more fun, keep a gratitude notebook, forget about results. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to Martin Seligman to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her — and what didn't.
Her conclusions are sometimes surprising — she finds that money can buy happiness, when spent wisely; that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that "treating" yourself can make you feel worse; that venting bad feelings doesn't relieve them; that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference — and they range from the practical to the profound.
Written with charm and wit, The Happiness Project is illuminating yet entertaining, thought-provoking yet compulsively readable. Gretchen Rubin's passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading just a few chapters of this book will inspire you to start your own happiness project.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"This book made me happy in the first five pages." AJ Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible
"A cross between the Dalai Lama's The Art of Happiness and Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love." Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness
What if you could change your life without really changing your life? On the outside, Gretchen Rubin had it all — a good marriage, healthy children and a successful career — but she knew something was missing. Determined to end that nagging feeling, she set out on a year-long quest to learn how to better enjoy the life she already had.
Each month, Gretchen pursued a different set of resolutions — go to sleep earlier, tackle a nagging task, bring people together, take time to be silly — along with dozens of other goals. She read everything from classical philosophy to cutting-edge scientific studies, from Winston Churchill to Oprah, developing her own definition of happiness and a plan for how to achieve it. She kept track of which resolutions worked and which didn't, sharing her stories and collecting those of others through her blog (created to fulfill one of March's resolutions). Bit by bit, she began to appreciate and amplify the happiness in her life.
The Happiness Project is the engaging, relatable and inspiring result of the author's twelve-month adventure in becoming a happier person. Written with a wicked sense of humour and sharp insight, Gretchen Rubin's story will inspire readers to embrace the pleasure in their lives and remind them how to have fun.
Erin McHugh had spent the better part of her adult life doing community work, but in more recent years, the minutiae of life and working as a bookseller kept her busy and away from those higher impulses. Then one day she learned a distant relative was actually going to be canonized. Was this a sign? What followed next was McHughandrsquo;s sincere urge to recapture a sense of charity, and so she set out on her birthday to do one good deed every day for an entire year. Maybe she wouldnandrsquo;t be saving orphans from burning buildings, but she wanted to take one small, daily detour and make someone elseandrsquo;s life just a little bit better. One Good Deed is the inspiring, smart, and frequently funny chronicle of that year, in which each page represents a day in McHughandrsquo;s journey to reclaim the better part of herself, inspiring readers to do the same.
Praise for One Good Deed:
andldquo;Her memoir will inspire you to flex your do-gooder muscle without being preachy or a Pollyanna.andrdquo; andndash;Fitness
andldquo;7 Good Deeds That Could Change Your Lifeandrdquo; andmdash;Redbook
andldquo;Engaging, funny, wise, and winning. One Good Deed is a measure of humanity and of McHughandrsquo;s own striving towards it.andrdquo;
andmdash;Susan Orlean, author of Rin Tin Tin and The Orchid Thief
andldquo;This instructive, funny, utterly relevant book reminds us that the simple (but not-so-simple) act of paying daily attention can make a profound differenceandmdash;to the world around us, and to our very selves.andrdquo;
andmdash;Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion: A Memoir
andldquo;The best book in the world...because it makes us our best.andrdquo;
andmdash;Nichole Bernier, author of The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.
About the Author
Gretchen Rubin is the author of several books, including the bestselling Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill. She was clerking for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor when she realized that she really wanted to be a writer. She lives in New York City with her husband and two young daughters.
Table of Contents
January, Vitality: boost energy — February, Marriage: remember love — March, Work: aim higher — April, Parenthood: lighten up — May, Leisure: be serious about play — June, Friendship: make time for friends — July, Money: buy some happiness — August, Eternity: contemplate the heavens — September, Books: pursue a passion — October, Mindfulness: pay attention — November, Attitude: keep a contented heart — December, Happiness: boot camp perfect — Your happiness project — Further reading.
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