Synopses & Reviews
In the spirit of her blockbuster #1 New York Times
bestseller The Happiness Project,
Gretchen Rubin embarks on a new project to make home a happier place.
One Sunday afternoon, as she unloaded the dishwasher, Gretchen Rubin felt hit by a wave of homesickness. Homesick — why? She was standing right in her own kitchen. She felt homesick, she realized, with love for home itself. “Of all the elements of a happy life,” she thought, “my home is the most important.” In a flash, she decided to undertake a new happiness project, and this time, to focus on home.
And what did she want from her home? A place that calmed her, and energized her. A place that, by making her feel safe, would free her to take risks. Also, while Rubin wanted to be happier at home, she wanted to appreciate how much happiness was there already.
So, starting in September (the new January), Rubin dedicated a school year — September through May — to making her home a place of greater simplicity, comfort, and love.
In The Happiness Project, she worked out general theories of happiness. Here she goes deeper on factors that matter for home, such as possessions, marriage, time, and parenthood. How can she control the cubicle in her pocket? How might she spotlight her family’s treasured possessions? And it really was time to replace that dud toaster.
Each month, Rubin tackles a different theme as she experiments with concrete, manageable resolutions — and this time, she coaxes her family to try some resolutions, as well.
With her signature blend of memoir, science, philosophy, and experimentation, Rubin’s passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading just a few chapters of this book will inspire readers to find more happiness in their own lives.
"In her earlier book The Happiness Project, Rubin dedicated each month for a year to a theme (friendship, work, etc.), each accompanied by 'a handful of modest resolutions.' In this sequel, spanning September through May, Rubin narrows her focus to strategies 'to feel more at home, at home.' A goal for her for September was to glean more happiness from her possessions by arranging and spotlighting meaningful possessions and getting rid of meaningless stuff. Resolving to cultivate a shrine, Rubin transformed areas of her apartment into places of super-engagement such as painting wisteria climbing the walls of her tiny office. In October, Rubin's thoughts turned to her 16-year marriage, and she started kissing her husband more often, took driving lessons to share motoring responsibility, began thanking him for tackling chores, and focused on being cheerfully accommodating. Other months concentrated on parenting, time management, body-related resolutions, parents and siblings, and neighborhood. Although it lacks the freshness and originality of her earlier book, this perceptive sequel offers elegant musings about the nature of happiness combined with concrete ways to make the place where we sleep, eat, and watch TV truly a home. Illus. Agent: Christy Fletcher, Fletcher & Company. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Self-help fans rejoice. A new book just came out that's just as good as Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project. It's her latest release called Happier at Home....Rubin's warm, doable and sweet tips seem small when you check them off one by one. But the advice, added together, is a big ball of happy....Every mom will find gems in this book." Parents.com
About the Author
Gretchen Rubin is the author of several books, including the blockbuster #1 New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project. Rubin started her career in law and was clerking for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor when she realized that she really wanted to be a writer. Raised in Kansas City, she lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.
Table of Contents
A NOTE TO THE READER
Find a True Simplicity
Prove My Love
december: INTERIOR DESIGN
• ix •
Cram My Day with What I Love
Experience the Experience
Hold More Tightly
apr i l: NEIGHBORHOOD
Your Happiness Project
The Eight Splendid Truths
Suggestions for Further Reading
Reading Group Guide
HAPPIER AT HOME Discussion Questions
1. What does the term “home” mean to you? Do you agree with Rubin that it’s one of the most important elements to your happiness? Do you have more than one place that you call “home”?
2. Rubin observes that for most people, “outer order contributes to inner calm,” and many of her resolutions are aimed at clutter-clearing. Are you affected by clutter—or not?
3. Rubin describes her struggle to conquer her fear of driving. Have you faced a similar challenge, when you’ve felt anxious about something that other people seem to take for granted (e.g., speaking in front of a group, flying, riding in a ski-lift)?
4. Rubin writes, “Just because something is fun for someone else doesn’t make it fun for me—and vice versa” and “I can choose what I do, but I can’t choose what I like to do.” Do you agree? Or do you think you can teach yourself to enjoy something that initially you don’t find fun? What do you find fun?
5. Do you have any “shrines” in your home? If you were going to make one, what would you include?
6. Rubin describes the three types of happiness leeches: grouches, jerks, and slackers. Do you have happiness leeches in your life? Have you found ways to insulate yourself from the negative emotions these leeches can spread?
7. If you decided to “suffer for fifteen minutes,” what big task might you tackle?
8. Happier at Home is packed with quotations. Which quotation resonated most with you?
9. Rubin repeatedly emphasizes that she wants to find more happiness in her everyday life, and much of her happiness project is aimed at very small, ordinary aspects of her daily routine. Do you agree or disagree with this “little things” approach?
10. If a new room magically appeared in your house or apartment, how would you use it? Is there a way you could make your current place reflect that use now?
11. Did reading this book make you want to try any resolutions? Which ones?
12. Rubin’s discussion of happiness is rooted in her own experience. She doesn’t address the experience of people in different countries, different eras, or different circumstances. Did you find this approach narrow? Or was it helpful to see the theories of happiness tested against the experience of a particular person?