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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
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, 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.
"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.)
"Practical and never preachy . . . the rare self-help tome that doesn’t feel shameful to read." Terry Hong, Christian Science Monitor
"For those who generally loathe the self-help genre, Rubin’s book is a breath of peppermint-scented air. Well-researched and sharply written...Rubin takes an orderly, methodical approach to forging her own path to a happier state of mind." Amy Scribner, Bookpage
"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
"Packed with fascinating facts about the science of happiness and rich examples of how she improves her life through changes small and big The Happiness Project made me happier by just reading it." Chris Abani, author of Graceland, Song for Night and The Virgin of Flames
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.
andldquo;Natalie Holbrookandrsquo;s sensibility is stylish and playful, as well as practical, loving, and down-to-earth. Hey Natalie Jean is a terrific read for anyone who wants to make her life more beautiful.andrdquo; andndash; Gretchen Rubin
The blog Hey Natalie Jean has won a cult following with writer Natalie Holbrookandrsquo;s honest, inspiring, and often witty posts on topics like marriage, babies, nesting, and style. Natalieandrsquo;s first book, Hey Natalie Jean is one part manifesto and three parts ideas, projects, and advice. Beautifully illustrated and whimsically designed, the book offers twenty-five essays and how-tos that serve as a guide to life: making date-night magic in the middle of the mundane, successfully exploring the city with a three-year-old, and creating a satisfying daily routine that still leaves room for little adventures and lots of magic.
Natalieandrsquo;s optimism, creativity, keen eye, and zeal for life are palpable, and she encourages others to make their lives beautiful with ease. This heartfelt, personal collection of essays and photographs shows Natalieandrsquo;s ability to identify and describe lifeandrsquo;s lovely incidentals in the everyday routine of errands, play dates, and naps. Inspiring, moving, and whip-smart, Hey Natalie Jean is an honest look at the hard work and courage that go into creating a beautiful life.
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.
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