The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project

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 t...

Details The Happiness Project

TitleThe Happiness Project
Release DateDec 29th, 2009
Number of pages352 pages
GenreNonfiction, Self Help, Autobiography, Memoir, Psychology, Inspirational, Personal Development, Biography, Book Club, Adult, Abandoned

Reviews The Happiness Project

  • Laura
    I don’t know which is stranger – that people like this book, or that it was written in the first place. It came into being because Gretchen Rubin, a woman with a bizarrely charmed life, decided to spend a year devoting each month to a “theme” designed to make herself happier and then write a book about it. The whole thing smacks not only of a calculated stunt, but also of the sort of “list” approach she used for her breathtakingly tri...
  • Michele Chapman
    I couldn't finish it. In fact, I couldn't get past page 49, and that really hurt, because I BOUGHT this book in HARDBACK. Sigh. And I wanted to like it, I swear, but it just wasn't happening for me.I picked this book up because I have an interest in how others achieve happiness, enjoy getting a glimpse into how others conduct their lives on a daily basis (I even find grocery selections interesting, and what goes into them), and have gotten a kick...
  • Books Ring Mah Bell
    Author Gretchen Rubin dives into the stunt genre (where the author does something for a year and then writes a clever book about it) with a project on living happy for a year. Sitting on the bus one day, she realizes her life is zipping along and wonders if she can't make her days happier, and write a book about it and make some money. She devises a plan for happiness, reading all sorts of books on happiness, from a wide variety of authors.I woul...
  • Kate
    Wow, when did I become so cynical and not even realize it? Just like Julia from Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen I too am in danger of becoming nothing but a secretary on a road to nowhere, drifting toward frosted hair and menthol addiction. However, this book helped me get out of my funk and become more creative. I didn't want to review this book until I tried my own "happiness project" because to be honest I was ...
  • Alea
    I have no idea how to properly convey how I feel about this book. I felt so much for it and because of it and it's kind of crazy. I saw so much of myself in the author and some of the examples she explained, half the time I was sitting there dumbstruck. She breaks down her resolutions in such a way it's very easy to follow along and she is so specific in how they work out you really can't ask for much more.Rubin writes in a way that it was very e...
  • Katie
    Let me preface this review by saying, I really tried to like this book. I found it at Sam's Club for $7 when I was on my monthly TP run. The cover looked fun. The concept up lifting. I went into reading it with high hopes. I didn't look at any previous review (I should have). So, here goes... This book should be re-titled "The Year I Spent Trying To Be Less of an Entitled B*tch (And Failed!)". The author is a rich white lady living in the upper e...
  • Lori
    I found it the epitomy of self absorbtion. I've read many happiness books, often looking to use excerpts in my hospice speaches and volunteer training, but I felt this was so dumbed down. If you don't mind the constant references to her clerking for Supreme Court Justice O'Connor and her monied life and the mundane attempts at her "happiness project" you might be ok. Anyone who ever had any religious, marital of psych type of background, ie "Gold...
  • Melanie
    This is not great literature. This is not earth-shattering or mind blowing in any way. Yet somehow, underneath the veneer of light-hearted entertainment, this sneaky little book is filled with profound truths.It is also filled with extremely interesting bits of psychology and sociology research that are sprinkled throughout its pages, mixed with her personal journey and constantly evolving considerations. A study in self-empowerment if I've ever ...
  • sleeps9hours
    This was an inspiring book in some ways, but also annoying. The author admits that she is part of a new trend in books in which the author takes a year for self improvement. I liked that she seems fairly normal and doesn’t escape her regular routine to make some changes. Over time the book dragged though. I was quite impressed with the plethora of quotes throughout (she collects them), and tons of little ideas and research results I found inter...
  • Jenna Copeland
    Wow... what interesting irony that a book on happiness has so many haters. I'm not one of them-- while I don't think the book will change the mostly-good-already trajectory of my life, there were some nice insights and a swift kick in the rump to remember to enjoy life more and nag less. Absolutely worth my investment of time. Do be warned, though, that Gretchen Rubin is a classic Type A overachiever and this book is organized and written accordi...
  • Diane
    Oh, how I loved this book. I have read quite a few year-long project memoirs, but this is one of the most meaningful to me.Gretchen Rubin decided she wanted to be happier in her life, and, being an organized and thoughtful person, she devised a plan. Each month she would focus on one area of her life to improve, and by the end of the year, she should be measurably happier. The first month she focused on her energy levels, then her relationships, ...
  • Tasha
    All the navel-gazing of "Eat, Pray, Love" with none of the interesting commentary provided by other characters. Gretchen is the only actual being in her world; everyone else, including her husband and children, is merely a mirror reflecting who she thinks she should appear to be. I'm convinced that the author wants to be happy only because someone else told her she should. I'm all for fluff reading, but this took it to a new level. The chapter on...
  • Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner)
    I won this advance copy book through the Goodreads Giveaway and could not have been more stoked! I am always creating lists and goals and things to improve my life. I feel like books, songs, movies always have a way of finding me when I need them most. I just quit my job because I was way too miserable and I have been home for the past few weeks feeling extremely unhappy and like my life was just miserable. This book was just the inspiration to w...
  • Erin
    Inspiring! Loved it! Totally want to start my Happiness Project. Gretchen Rubin, happily married mother of 2, had a realization while sitting on a bus that she was letting her life pass her by without fully appreciating it. Being a writer, she decided to research the origins, psychology and elements of happiness and develop her own Happiness Project, a 12-month experiment (each month around a theme like "love", "work" "energy", etc) with carefull...
  • Sarah
    For fun, someone should do a search through this book to see how many times the phrase "studies show that" actually appears. The entire book reads like a college term project written by a self-absorbed teacher's pet. (The author readily admits to being the type of person who always wants a "gold star" for her efforts.) She strikes me as the type of person who plays everything by the book - from graduating from Yale law school to clerking for Just...
  • Gina
    Natasha's review of this book is perfect. I think Natasha should re-write The Happiness Project and then it will truly be a project about happiness. ____________________________________Natasha wrote ..... "A short while ago I started a blog post by saying that I was depressed about the book The Happiness Project. I felt that I knew what the book was about and that I could have written it but now that it was written by someone else, my idea for a ...
  • Gaijinmama
    This book got mixed reviews, but I liked it.It was realistic, very readable, and not exploitative of developing cultures like some of these other "Go find yourself " stunt books (cough cough Eat,Pray cough cough). Rubin is up-front about the fact that she comes from a white, upper-middle class, happily-married, securely employed New York lifestyle that makes it seem a bit narcissistic for her to go out searching for yet more happiness when she ha...
  • Jennifer
    "I did, however, vow to stop reading books that I didn't enjoy. I used to pride myself on finishing every book I started -- no longer."Using the author's own words, that pretty much sums up how I felt about reading this book...although I didn't stop. I read it all the way through and wish that I had actually "Been Gretchen" for a brief moment.I really liked the concept of the book and of the project; however, I found it to be less inspiring and m...
  • MC
    At the start, I was very enthusiastic to read this book but by the time I got halfway through, I was still waiting for the "Eureka!" moment where it all seemed worthwhile. It was mostly skippable and some parts were just frustrating (starting a collection for the sake of starting a collection? Plugging in birthdays of friends? A bit hollow...).I suppose I was expecting a more memoir approach and it seemed more self-help manual than anything else....
  • Tina
    The most useful part of this book was when the author suggests not continuing to read a book you're not enjoying. I stopped there. Great advice.
  • Deb
    I really wanted to like this book, but the further and further I got into my reading, the more I realized that such would not be the case. The premise of The Happiness Project was admirable, but I never really felt like the author was really making any strides in truly becoming a happier person through her methodology. I found that the overuse of scientific research on the topic of happiness drove me absolutely crazy; probably due to the fact tha...
  • Lisa Lewis
    When I started reading this book, I was really underwhelmed. I thought, "why am I interested in a New York yuppie's pursuit of happiness?" but I kept with it because it was so highly recommended by Jessica. I ended up appreciating Rubin and her happiness quest as I went along. One reason is that Rubin seems endearingly honest - ready to admit her flaws and quirks and even embrace them. She is a former lawyer and current writer who adores research...
  • Jeana
    I loved some of Rubin's ideas--I was exhilarated during the beginning chapters and it was great because I started reading this book while my husband and girls were out of town for the weekend. I started de-cluttering my house, getting all my exercise and rest. I liked these simplistic ways you can make a difference and be happy within your means and circumstances. I feel Americans "unhappiness" with our surplus of luxuries is a problem. What is i...
  • Kim
    I don’t know.I just don’t get it. For the better part of my life I feel that I’ve leaned towards the glass half full-look at the bright side-I’d like to teach the world to sing-make lemonade-happy happy joy joy side of things.Reading this book made me feel doomed. I snorted and harrumphed and tsk’d a lot at her observations and her truths and it made me Unhappy. I don’t much care for books that do that. Okay, let’s back up. I wasn...
  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    Another late review from the year's accumulation of postal book swap books. I am not usually an avid reader of self-help type books, so this one started out at a disadvantage. Still, I used to skim the author's blog (back when I kept up with blogs, and back when she was a low-carb baking/cooking blogger!) so I was interested to see all of her happiness project presented in a narrative form. It was a struggle to find myself in this book, especiall...
  • molly
    I really want to rate this higher, but the author's writing voice and content just grated on me. The whole premise of the book is to give yourself gold stars for doing everyday life type things. There is no sort of higher thinking here- instead, her advice is essentially to trick yourself into being happier with her little tips like singing in the morning, making yourself laugh, etc. Her version of philosophy is to collect quotes and plunk them i...
  • Elyse
    I'm only reading this because our book club picked it for our 'non-fiction' month ---I'm bored stiff--but I'll finish it. (we read non-fiction every other month) Most of the time we choose better books to read.I have now finished this book....and I was wrong! I laughed --smiled ---and have respect for the author for the difference she is making with "The Happiness Project".
  • Beth
    This book annoyed me in the same way that "Eat, Pray, Love" annoyed me. I mean, a wealthy woman, with a nanny to boot, spends a year trying things like "de-cluttering the closet" and "organizing files" and then emerges with helpful tips like "de-clutter your closet" and "organize your files."She also helpfully mentions that you should be nice to your spouse.Spare me.
  • Greg
    Automatic one-star because I couldn't finish this one. I made it up to April, but couldn't cut through the rest. I may skim it for the highlighted sections and then never read it again.Good news is, there is some "meat" in this book. I'll try to summarize:* It IS possible to improve your level of happiness, to some degree. 60% of your happiness is uncontrollable (genetics, present life circumstances) but the remaining 40% is dependent on your out...
  • Carmen Sisson
    Initially, I dismissed this book as fluff. Rubin's self-congratulatory tone, incessant ennui, and frequent carping are grating, particularly when she's discussing her marriage (which seems great) and children (who sound adorable). However, in the spirit of the book, I decided to make myself finish it and glean whatever I could. Halfway through, I found myself taking notes as insights occurred to me. By the end, I had a good idea of some areas I d...