Friday, April 22, 2011

The Happiness Project

Gretchen Rubin's book, The Happiness Project, is a quirky half memoir half self-help book on happiness. It falls a little into the category of "The Reality Television of Books: When People Write Gimicky Stuff"; however, this doesn't mean that the book is crap, rather, it's quite the opposite.

This is Rubin's month-by-month quest to bring happiness into her life. She tackles different areas of her life every month, and, while doing so, goes about opening herself up to new experiences while being true to her own self-interest. Rubin's thesis, that is possible to be more happy, is proven throughout, and, as Rubin discovers, her own personal happiness creates more contentment in the lives of her family and friends.

Rubin's quest for happiness caused me to reflect on how I turn happiness away from my own life. Can be snarky? Check. Is overly sarcastic and scathing? Check. Avoids doing new things? Check. This list could go on and on. Are these things that I should avoid doing? Perhaps. Maybe I'll give my own happiness project (which Rubin pushes on her blog) a whirl, and see the damage (ha ha) that it does.

It was interesting to see that Rubin cites numerous sources. I liked that there were quotes from people like Saumel Pepys and the Dalai Lama. Doing research on how other people interpret happiness and on what brings them happiness is necessary for this type of project. It helps to bring deeper meaning to Rubin's work, and also helps to avoid this book from becoming a trite self-assertion. 

So yes, I liked this book. I'd recommend this book to others. Rubin's style of writing is easy-to-follow,. The book is engaging and perfectly suits the sunniness of spring. It's not a Pulitzer Prize winner, but it is still very good and very happy.



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 Fun
Harper Paperbacks (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 336 pages

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