The Happiness Project

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

Book - 2009
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Baker & Taylor
A thoughtful and prescriptive work on happiness filled with practical advice, sharp insight, charm, and humor.


“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

Award-winning author Gretchen Rubin is back with a bang, with The Happiness Project. The author of the bestselling 40 Ways to Look at Winston Churchill has produced a work that is “a cross between the Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love.” (Sonya Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want) In the vein of Julie and Julia, The Happiness Project describes one person’s year-long attempt to discover what leads to true contentment. Drawing at once on cutting-edge science, classical philosophy, and real-world applicability, Rubin has written an engaging, eminently relatable chronicle of transformation.

& Taylor

Chronicles the author's year spent testing the edicts of conventional wisdom to assess their actual potential for improving life, describing how she engaged in various activities from getting more sleep and singing to her children to starting a blog and imitating a spiritual master. 50,000 first printing.
Chronicles the author's year spent testing the edicts of conventional wisdom to assess their potential for improving life, describing various activities ranging from getting more sleep and singing to her children to starting a blog and imitating a spiritual master.
On the outside, Gretchen Rubin had it all--a good marriage, healthy children and a successful career--but something was missing. Determined to end that nagging feeling, she set out on a year-long quest to learn how to better enjoy the life she already had. Each month, Gretchen pursued a different set of resolutions--go to sleep earlier, tackle a nagging task, bring people together, take time to be silly. She read everything from classical philosophy to cutting-edge scientific studies, from Winston Churchill to Oprah, developing her own definition of happiness and a plan for how to achieve it. She kept track of which resolutions worked and which didn't, sharing her stories and collecting those of others. Bit by bit, she began to appreciate and amplify thehappiness in her life. With a wicked sense of humour and sharp insight, Gretchen's story will inspire readers to embrace the pleasure in their lives.--From publisher description.

Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, c2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780061583254
Characteristics: xiv, 301 p. ; 24 cm


From the critics

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Apr 18, 2018

I actually ended up buying my own copy and I can't wait to start my own Happiness Project!

Jan 08, 2018

Reading this book is the equivalent of being stuck in a conversation with someone who starts every sentence with "Studies show that...". The inanity of her advice reaches its peak in her "buy yourself nice things" month of making herself happy (even though she admits to not being unhappy in the first place). Save yourself, and skip this entitled, vacuous, and annoying read.

ArapahoeAnna May 19, 2017

A light story written and read by Gretchen Rubin, telling about the year long project she did to increase her happiness. You can follow her structured plan to create your own personal happiness project. Don't wait, "The days are long, but the years are short."

Mar 31, 2017

Weirdly enough, just reading this book increased my happiness. I really connected to Gretchen and her quest. The way she approached it resonated with me and I am more aware of how I have made recent changes that have increased my happiness as well as simple ways I can have happier days in the future.

The book is broken up into a chapter for each month. Every month had a theme, so the flow of the chapters made it very readable. Since I was reading this as part of a book group at my library, I started taking notes from the very first chapter. That made me happy as I do tend to enjoy collecting tidbits of information and famous quotes as Gretchen did from childhood in her Blank Books.

Two resolutions really touched me as wonderful reminders for my family life: "Give proofs of love" and "Be a treasure house of happy memories."

Highly recommended!

Jan 14, 2017

Really liked this one. Walked away with quite a few nuggets of tangible ways to add some extra happiness to my life (especially from the "energy", "marriage" and "family/ relationships" chapters)!

Dec 07, 2016

If you are looking to live a more fulfilling life and wanting to add more happiness to your every day, this book may give you some inspiration to achieve that. However, if you are looking more for a guide towards that purpose, this is not the book for you. It is filled with the author's very personal and systematic way of achieving happiness in her life.
It's an easy book to read. It can get boring at some points but overall I enjoyed it.

karolka Oct 26, 2016

I really tried to like this book but.... I just couldn't !! No for me, not worth it! So many others, way better than this one...

Aug 08, 2016

Very few of us can take a lengthy time-out from life to Eat, Pray, Love. Gretchen Rubin's very well researched book, The Happiness Project, offers a simpler alternative by suggesting numerous small ways to boost our happiness without making dramatic life changes. I agree with many of Gretchen's thoughtful suggestions and her slice-of-family-life anecdotes will appeal to many parents with young children. On the other hand, Gretchen Rubin is an ambitious young Yale-educated lawyer who married into an extremely wealthy and very politically connected family. At the start of the book, she admits to marrying her perfect soul-mate, having healthy and happy children, and having the resources to work in her dream job (writer). Perhaps your personal happiness obstacles are somewhat more challenging than Gretchen's?

May 27, 2016

This was a very quick, enjoyable read. Rubin first starts out by creating her ten commandments, principles she uses to guide her life, and the foundation of her 12 resolutions--one for each month. What struck me was the value of writing down items, as that brings an additional level of commitment and a better way to track what's happening. If others were to undertake this project, it would look different for everyone. One of Rubin's guiding principles is, in fact, that what one person finds fun, or what makes one person happy, may not make another person happy. This is an excellent point to keep in mind in life, and while reading the book. There were also just little tidbits that I thought would be interesting to integrate in my life. It definitely gave me some ideas of writing done professional and personal goals, though.

Mar 20, 2016

Take time to be silly.

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