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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm happier just having read it!
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...
Published on Jan. 28 2010 by BookChick

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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hollow and unengaging
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...
Published on Jan. 10 2012 by Raj


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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm happier just having read it!, Jan. 28 2010
By 
BookChick (Simcoe, ON Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Happiness Project (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. She's not saying, "I did it, and I did it perfectly", she's saying, "I did it, and sometimes I failed, but in the end, I felt happier".

I did have a few minor problems with this book: she often incorporates comments from her happiness blog into the book. They were relevant, but truthfully if I wanted to read the comments of her blog readers, I would probably just read her blog. They got a little repetitive. I also found that things dragged a little in the chapters for the months of September, October, and November. I found that the things that she was saying were similar to those things said in previous months, so I skimmed those chapters a bit. These were minor problems, though, and they really didn't take away from my overall enjoyment of the book.

A great read- and yes, I feel happier just because I read it...
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hollow and unengaging, Jan. 10 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Happiness Project (Paperback)
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. I applaud what are probably true efforts in finding meaning and happiness but reading someone's ramblings, basically a published journal, can be painful and dull. After a short while, each chapter was a let down. The insights seemed shallow and unmoving.

I can't help but feel her financial and political status was the driving force behind this being considered a #1 Best Seller, because, quite plainly, I don't think it would have attained that status based solely on the merit of the writing.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Riding the fence-hence the 3 or 2.5 to be more exact., April 17 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Happiness Project (Paperback)
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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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are you happy?, June 9 2010
This review is from: The Happiness Project (Hardcover)
Something that I've contemplated for some time is that it seems to me that with the advent of cell phones and instant communication, it is difficult for the average person to exist in the here and the now, to fully appreciate what is happening right in front of them. The concept of happiness is something you are meant to achieve one day, something you'll have once you accomplish "blank".

At first I wasn't buying in to author Gretchen Rubin's systematic approach to achieving happiness. But when I considered my feelings about being in the here and now, I realized that a systematic approach may be exactly what people need to recognize happiness in their lives.

In "The Happiness Project", you will accompany Gretchen Rubin through her one year of making room for more happiness in her life. Whether you chose to follow the author's monthly resolutions or chose your own, you will find that you can make room for more happiness in your life, that you can and probably are happy today. You will discover that you can achieve happiness by deciding to be happy. Brilliant!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts..., Aug. 17 2011
By 
Reader Writer Runner (Victoria, BC) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Happiness Project (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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Kitchen Table Conversation, Aug. 30 2010
This review is from: The Happiness Project (Hardcover)
She tells her story with honesty, insight and humour. I felt like I was sitting with her and hearing her talk over coffee in my kitchen.

A great read. Worthwhile for any woman in a hectic life wanting to create some time to reflect on how to make life a little easier and well - happier!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring story with great tips to find/maintain a happy life..., June 18 2012
By 
Pat the cat - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Happiness Project (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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A little on the snoozy side, July 29 2011
This review is from: The Happiness Project (Hardcover)
I personally just couldn't get into this. I took it out from the library and tried to read it a few times. I think the concept behind it is good, but after 10 pages I was already having a hard time staying interested as the writing itself wasn't especially engaging. She had some good ideas, but I think this could have been done much better.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What really makes you happy??, March 7 2011
This review is from: The Happiness Project (Paperback)
Found this book an easy, but enjoyable read.Full of tidbits of information and "quotable quotes". Initially intended to read one chapter a month and follow the process as she did, but then decided to speed up the process and "do my own thing" as some of her issues weren't my issues. Still all in all, found it useful, engaging, entertaining and a happy little book.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Whiny, March 24 2011
This review is from: The Happiness Project (Paperback)
I received this book as a gift and read it while on vacation. I personally found the author self absorbed and whiny. I struggled through the book hoping that as she found happiness she would stop with the whining about her husband and day to day life. I did not enjoy the book at all.
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The Happiness Project
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (Paperback - Dec 20 2010)
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