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The Happiness Project Hardcover – Dec 21 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Collins Canada (Dec 21 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554682797
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554682799
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #70,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By BookChick TOP 500 REVIEWER on Jan. 28 2010
Format: Hardcover
Gretchen Rubin is pretty happy. She's got a wonderful husband, two great little girls, they are financially secure and she's doing what she loves- writing. One day on the bus she comes to a realization- she's happy, but she could be happier. This realization leads her to create a "happiness project"- 12 months of tasks and resolutions that will (hopefully) result in her being the happiest Gretchen that she can be. Armed with her personal 12 commandments and her secrets of adulthood, she sets out on her year-long quest for personal happiness, and "The Happiness Project" is born.

I loved this book! I managed to pick up a lot of great ideas from the tasks that Gretchen set out to do. I learned the most from the months of January (Boost Energy), February (Remember Love), April (Parenthood), and July (Buy Some Happiness). After reading January's chapter I was inspired to organize my home more effectively, February's chapter inspired me to nag my husband less and to be thankful for the great person that he is, April reminded me to be more patient with my frustrating, aggravating, yet amazing children, and July inspired me to make some more concrete goals when it comes to saving money.

Another thing that I liked about the book was that Gretchen never tries to be anything that she isn't. In fact, one of her commandments is "Be Gretchen". When some of her friends tell her that she should take up meditiation, or that she should see a therapist, and those suggestions don't resonate with her personally, she just doesn't do them. She's not saying that they don't work, just that they don't work for her. She doesn't encourage anyone to do "her" happiness project, but to do one that works for "them". She also openly admits when she fails, giving her a human quality that I really appreciated.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Raj on Jan. 10 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The idea of this book seemed at first compelling enough for me to buy it, but as I went from chapter to chapter, I found it more difficult to read on. Although no doubt genuine, the author comes across as a bit self-obsessed. Now, in all fairness there's a bit of that in all of us, especially if you're going to buy this book. You're most likely buying it because you're searching for ways to increase your own happiness. Fair enough. Overall though, the writing is unengaging and like listening to someone talk about themselves for hours - just not in an interesting way. Phrases like 'studies show' and quoting statistics were already old by page 40.

Chapter after chapter, I kept giving it a try and ultimately grew bored of her rambling. And yet, this is meant to be a #1 Best Seller? That's definitely a sign of the politics involved in choosing what's a best seller because it's definitely not based on the writing style. If you want to read something that is introspective and yet eloquently written, read Thoreau, Krishnamurti or Gibran.

After giving up on the book, I researched the author (and found out that she is the daughter of Robert Rubin, the 70th United States Secretary of the Treasury during both the first and second Clinton administrations), and both she and her husband are multimillionaires. I'm not suggesting that if one is swimming in cash that they don't have a right to search for happiness, but at the same time, when _that_ privileged, with hired help keeping your house clean and minding your children, I can't say I feel too much empathy as you stare out your New York high society home, trying to find ways to cope with how difficult your life seems to be.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sandra on April 17 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I decided not to finish it. It maybe wasnt what I expected or hoped for more than anything. I found her to be a bit controlling and self absorbed but I am glad for her that her project worked to make her a happier person. It was just not what I expected. It seems though that others really liked it. The idea of creating a happiness project is good and I probably got more out of the title than the actual book itself. I am riding the fence on this one I guess and wishing I had saved the money for a Dalia lama book. :)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl J Enns on Oct. 6 2010
Format: Hardcover
Gretchen has done the hard work of writing down in one place all the things that we know about happiness but are continually forgetting. It makes me happy just to know that I can pick up The Happiness Project and be instantly reminded of little things that I can do immediately to improve my attitude and mood. Thank you, Gretchen!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER on Aug. 17 2011
Format: Paperback
"Act the way you want to feel." Deceptively simple advice but the most profound concept I took away from "The Happiness Project." In self-help's newest "do something off-beat for a year and write a book about it" memoir, Gretchen Rubin dismisses the notion that increased happiness only comes from sweeping life changes. Instead, the author creates a few resolutions per month based on a specific theme (marriage, money, spirituality etc) and chronicles her struggles to make small adjustments to her everyday attitude.

Rubin writes in an appealing, conversational style and shares many thought-provoking tips on fostering a greater sense of well-being: cut people slack, tackle a nagging task, laugh every day. She backs up her anecdotes with extensive research and always maintains that what makes HER happy won't necessarily make others happy. Thus, she encourages independence in her readers, guiding us to improve our own unique lives instead of simply following her model. Responsibly, she also makes it clear that she offers no magic formula; her book will not treat depression.

Unfortunately, though, a lot of Rubin's memoir feels both tedious and obvious; by the April chapter I started skimming and didn't really stop. Cliches such as, "you can't change your partner, you can only change yourself" crop up all too often and epiphanies like using file boxes to store cards and photos seem ridiculous coming from an intelligent, organized woman who used to clerk for Sandra Day O'Connor.

Finally, much of the book's latter half consists of comments that internet users have left on The Happiness Project's blog. A few insightful thoughts from others may have added interest but the larger volume only disrupted Rubin's flow in the name of filling space.
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