The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets…

Paperback | March 1, 2011

byGretchen Rubin

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“Wonderful. . . . Rubin shows how you can be happier, starting right now, with small, actionable steps accessible to everyone.” —Julie Morgenstern, New York Times bestselling author of Organizing from the Inside Out

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—now updated with new material by the author—Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference.

“An enlightening, laugh-aloud read.”—Christian Science Monitor

This updated edition includes:

·      A new extensive interview with the author

·      Secrets of Adulthood

·      An excerpt from Gretchen Rubin’s new book, Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits—to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life

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From the Publisher

“Wonderful. . . . Rubin shows how you can be happier, starting right now, with small, actionable steps accessible to everyone.” —Julie Morgenstern, New York Times bestselling author of Organizing from the Inside OutGretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the y...

Gretchen Rubin is the author of several books, including the bestselling Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill. She was clerking for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor when she realized that she really wanted to be a writer. She lives in New York City with her husband and two young daughters.

other books by Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project
The Happiness Project

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The Happiness Project One-sentence Journal: A Five-year Record
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Better Than Before: Mastering The Habits Of Our Everyday Lives
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see all books by Gretchen Rubin
Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.76 inPublished:March 1, 2011Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:006158326X

ISBN - 13:9780061583261

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Customer Reviews of The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very informative Guides you in how to take charge of our hormones and enjoy our bodies while feeling good. I will be recommending this to friends with PCOS
Date published: 2015-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspirational I already have a list of people waiting to read my copy of the book. It was great and so motivational. While reading, I wanted to make changes in my life to live happier---even though I already thought I was happy enough! I highly suggest everyone reads this book so that we can all live and work in harmony.
Date published: 2013-06-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read I noticed this book by the colour of its cover and the birds (Reminded me of Twitter). I read the inside sleeve cover and was instantly drawn in by Gretchen's determination to make herself happier. At first it didnt make sense how she could not be happy as she had a good job and a family, but when she started making her list of happiness-improvements, I understood what she was trying to accomplish. The book was well written and each chapter highlighted her monthly goals. It was refreshing to see an author state her mistakes and errors instead of just measuring the accomplishment and achievements during this experiment. While reading the book, it made me sort of analyze my life and see where improvements can be made as well. Good book to read if you want to "break" your current life cycle and get a new definition on what happiness means to you. She also has a new book that just came out so Im going to have to get on that like lint on denim.
Date published: 2012-09-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiring & I didn't want it to end! This book is so inspiring and heart warming... somewhat a self help book intertwined with the narration of her own life experiences. Filled with humour, insight, and heart warming moments. LOVED IT!
Date published: 2012-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! I usually don't write a review for a book until I'm finished reading it, but i'm really taking my time with this one! It's an amazing book. I've started my own Happiness Project. It's helped my life so much in the month and a half that i've been working on my own. The book itself has cute little stories about things she's changed, and gives off ideas for your own projects. This is a book I want to continue taking my time with. It's a great guide to happiness. I also recommend getting the 5 year Happiness Journal! It's a great way to keep on track of you happy thoughts.
Date published: 2012-02-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Too many lists but worth reading Her background as a lawyer shows through with her approach to finding happiness which was too list-oriented for me. I have enough mental and physical lists in my life. A happiness approach based on lists is too much work for me. And it is often tough to relate to her if your own life has not been as rosy. But it is worth reading. I appreciated the various strains of happiness and some of the philosophy. Enjoyed most of it.
Date published: 2011-09-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read ! You can relate to the author, it was fun to read!
Date published: 2011-07-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Boring Too much like Dr. Phil for me. Had to force myself to finish it. P.S. Those of you who were so quick to criticize Lindsay should have taken the advice of the author when she got the bad review of her book and emailed him to thank him. Let everyone have their own opinions.
Date published: 2011-06-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a refreshing read! There are a lot of happiness books - a lot!! All these books tell us how to be happy, do this and you will be happier and really tells you the "what" to be happy. But you'll find the reason why many readers like myself ask the question "how do you do this." And what I loved about this book was the ability for us to learn the fundamental principles of being happy and how one applies it to their everything life. We can certainly read the authors application of happiness and be able to learn how to adapt those same principles in our life. She put it to the test and she was successful in her pursuit of greater and more in-depth happiness in her life. If you are looking for a book to help with the 'how' one can be happier - pick up this book!
Date published: 2011-04-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Ideas for real people Great ideas for everyday people who can't run away from real life and travel the world to find themselves or where their happiness is buried. The author describes her personal insights so well that I'm sure she reflects what many of us struggle with. This book is about changing those little annoyances that follow us around daily in our life which add up to bigger problems. Her solutions are attainable and somehow she makes me WANT to do the work to find a little more happiness in my day! Definitely one to recommend to friends and family.
Date published: 2011-04-14
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Unhappy with the book Perhaps I am in the wrong place in my life to enjoy this book (unmarried and no kids) but I could not even finish this book. I found the projects to be, for the most part, superficial fixes to an overprivileged woman's boredom rather than a search for real change. Ms. Rubin also spends a considerable amount of time reiterating that with all the things she has in life (great husband, new york apartment, a great career - as well as unmentioned wealth) can what she is feeling really be called unhappiness? (I for one found this annoying) It's also very heavy on statistics and research, as if she is hoping to justify her odd actions - ie. she doesn't have a desire to collect bluebirds but research shows collecting things make people happy so here goes. Perhaps she reaches true enlightenment near the end, but I couldn't bear to slog through the book to find out.
Date published: 2011-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiration I picked up this book while shopping one day - I was drawn to it as I had been feeling very negative the last few months - especially with work and sometimes with my loved ones. I was not happy being so negative, but I didn't even know where to start and deal with this problem. Then this book appeared as if by magic to say PICK ME - I CAN HELP. And help it did. The writing style was free and easy to read - not your typical self help style book. It was written into sections which helped to keep it from becoming boring. I loved that she broke down her project by month and concentrated on one topic for that month. This makes it seem so much more attainable when you see that it takes time to develop the changes you want to see in your own life. The idea of changing ones life for the better without really changing ones life at all was very intriguing. Pretty much - Ms. Rubin guides you through the tiny adjustments made to her life throughout the course of the year that would allow for her to appreciate the happiness in her life. Many people take for granted the wonderful things happening in their lives. I think one of the key factors in this book was doing things for yourself. Learning what you do and do not like. Keeping yourself in good health both physically and mentally makes a huge difference in our outlook on everyday life. It seems that it takes a lot more energy to be negative all the time versus just being happy every day regardless of how hard things are. I also learned that different things make different people happy - not everyone would love to keep a book review blog like I do, but it honestly makes me happy to be able to read amazing books and post reviews about them to share with my fellow book lovers. Pretty much she believes that happier people are much more productive, more generous, more caring and thoughtful - she even has the data and research to back up her statements. It's interesting to note that while reading this book I noticed a difference in how I thought about things and how I felt. I was much more positive than I was a few weeks ago. I was more aware of negative surroundings and ways to change them to positives. I also noticed that doing things for myself that made me happy made me a much more productive and loving person. This has in inspired me to start my own happiness journey.
Date published: 2011-03-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Worth Every Penny I picked up this book because I myself am re-evaluating my life. Although I'm much younger than Rubin and have considerably different priorities and life, I still found her work to be applicable. The way in which she addresses the pursuit of happiness and its value is truly inspiring. One of the things that stood out for me was her heightened sense of self-awareness. Rubin admits when she's failed and succeeded. She highlights when something is difficult for her and what she thinks may be the cause. She is refreshingly honest with herself, this project and especially the reader. This, I feel, is what sets this apart from the 'typical' self-help book. Rubin doesn't go with the 12 step process similar to most other books in this category. Rubin tells a story and whilst doing so emphasizes how anyone can make small changes to improve their life and their level of happiness with it. I finished Rubin's book taking what I needed to take from it, as each reader will undoubtedly take away different aspects, and felt that Rubin had connected with me on a refreshingly intimate level. The greatest idea that I took from her book was that self-reflection is critical to a healthy and happy life. Rubin inspired me to hold myself accountable and I am indebted to her for that.
Date published: 2011-03-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from C'mon get happy! I have a friend who is all about the self-help books. Of course, she also believes in reiki. I don’t know if she’s read Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project but I know she’d love it. I’m a skeptic (a hopeful skeptic) and I really liked this book. Perhaps I read it at the perfect time in my life – lots of changes and upheaval and uncertainty, but hope, too. In less capable hands, The Happiness Project might have been a different book. (a la Eat, Pray, Love, a book I didn’t love.) Instead, Gretchen Rubin’s musings on what happiness means and how to achieve it comes across as less how-to manual and more why happiness should be pursued and valued. Rubin’s personal happiness project was inspired by that moment (which will likely come to us all) when she realized she was “in danger of wasting [her] life.” Okay, truthfully, who hasn’t thought that a time or two? Of course, she knew all the ways her life was pretty damn perfect: great husband, wonderful kids, work she loved, terrific extended family, lived in NYC etc etc…Still. What I liked the most about Rubin’s happiness journey was that she understood and even poked fun at her personal shortcomings: her need for praise and her short fuse. I also liked that her quest for happiness wasn’t all abstract and metaphysical. She understood the sinple joy of getting rid of junk and splurging once and a while on something you really needed or wanted. Rubin herself seems incredibly down-to-earth…someone you’d like to sit and have a cup of tea with (I’d say a glass of wine, but she’s mostly given that up!) Threaded through the entire book was this notion that “the days are long, but the years are short.” It’s true, isn’t it? When she and her husband take a moment to watch their sleeping children, it is a moment of sheer happiness – if only because that moment will never come again. Happiness spreads. I know this is true. I know the power of a smile because I use it every day in the classroom….even when I don’t feel like smiling, it’s amazing how smiling at a surly kid makes them smile, too. I want to be happier. I deserve to be. And so I owe it to myself to make that happen. If you’re looking for inspiration, for a way to make your life happier, The Happiness Project is a great place to start. You can visit Rubin’s website, The Happiness Project, for lots more info.
Date published: 2011-01-27

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Editorial Reviews

“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.”