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The Happiness Project Paperback – Dec 20 2010

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CDN$ 999.11 CDN$ 0.01 First Novel Award - 6 Canadian Novels Make the Shortlist

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (Dec 20 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554682800
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554682805
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2 x 20.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #25,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“An enlightening, laugh-aloud read. . . . Filled with open, honest glimpses into [Rubin’s] real life, woven together with constant doses of humor.” (Terry Hong, Christian Science Monitor)

“For those who generally loathe the self-help genre, Rubin’s book is a breath of peppermint-scented air. Well-researched and sharply written. . . . Rubin takes an orderly, methodical approach to forging her own path to a happier state of mind.” (Kim Crow, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“Practical and never preachy . . . the rare self-help tome that doesn’t feel shameful to read.” (Daily Beast)

“Packed with fascinating facts about the science of happiness and rich examples of how she improves her life through changes small and big The Happiness Project made me happier by just reading it.” (Amy Scribner, Bookpage) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


"This book made me happy in the first five pages. And the more I read it, the happier I got. It's filled with great insights that have changed every part of my life, from love to money, from work to play, from writing to Diet Coke."
—A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically

"A cross between the Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love."
—Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness

"Happiness is contagious. And so is The Happiness Project. This is the rare book that will make you both smile and think—often on the same page." —Daniel H. Pink, author of A Whole New Mind --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

58 of 61 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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46 of 51 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pat the cat TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 18 2012
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book because I wanted something light to read as a change from murder mysteries. It turned out to be a wonderful find. I was skeptical at first because I thought that it would be boring to read about someone's journey and self-analysis to make herself more happy, especially when the person in question seems to "have it all". It seemed just so pointless and self-indulgent. Well, she was right when she says at the beginning of the book that we can learn much from others around us, including how to achieve a happier life. It's very well written, it's engaging and the tone is light, yet fairly deep. Depending of where you're at in you life, some chapters won't be relevant or may be less inspiring but, no matter what, every chapter seems to contain observations that will make you pause -- assuming, of course, that you are open-minded and interested in self-growth. I buy very few books (I'm a faithful library supporter!) but this is one book that I will buy and re-read. It's jam-packed with good common sense tips and reminders that we too often ignore. I will also offer it to my friends and family to inspire them to find ways to enjoy life more and be happier. I haven't read many self-help books so it's hard to compare it but, I give it 5 stars (excellent).
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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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