Monday, August 1, 2011

book review: the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I had heard of this book when it first was published, and ignored it as another feel- good mystic self-help book.  Is this the deepest, most profound thing I’ve read in a while? No, but it was pleasantly though provoking while being a quick read.  The author decides to dedicate a year to becoming happier.  She starts this by doing a lot of research into happiness- reading studies and books that range from Oprah to Aristotle.   Then she chooses 11 premises that should increase happiness, and tries each for a month.  At the end of the year, she decides what actions/ ideas, if any, have improved her overall happiness.
I liked that the author started with research, I think it is my scientific side.  I found the studies she quoted on happiness interesting.  The beginning of the book is strong, but eventually the author starts quoting her blog comments and the writing seems to get choppy, like she realizes she’s beaten the point to death already.  However, I would recommend reading this book.  While reading, I found some of her “rules” trite, but I noticed phrases would pop into my head whenever I was in a bad mood.  For example, one of her techniques for when you need a happiness boost is to tackle a task you have been procrastinating, which worked for me.  Another tip I appreciated (and use) is to use a bathroom when it’s available (the premise being that at least you will be a little more comfortable).   Obviously not deeply profound, but sometimes it's nice to have a little reminder about daily things that can make life a bit more pleasant.

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