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Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives Hardcover – March 17, 2015
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—Better Homes & Gardens
“If anyone can help us stop procrastinating, start exercising or get organized, it’s Gretchen Rubin. The happiness guru takes a sledgehammer to old-fashioned notions about change.”
“It’s exciting to find a self-help book that’s not only full of eye-opening insight but also provides practical tips to help you procrastinate and stress less, exercise and eat more healthfully, and spend time on activities that matter. We’re really glad that Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, decided to investigate her affinity for habits, because in the process she’s come up with a great guide to help us lay the foundation of a more satisfying life. Best of all, Better Than Before is a really fun read—Rubin’s friendliness, candor, and humor mirror a lively conversation with a best friend.” —Apple iBooks
“The Happiness Project lays out life’s essential goals…Her new book, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, serves as a kind of detailed instruction manual on how to achieve them.” —New York Times Sunday Book Review
“In Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, Gretchen Rubin picks up where [William] James left off, integrating a wealth of insight from psychology, sociology, and anthropology in an illuminating field guide to harnessing the transformative power of habit in modern life.”
“Change can be good. Particularly if it helps us live longer, healthier, indeed, happier lives — the objective of Rubin’s latest project.”
“Author Gretchen Rubin says most people fall into one of four motivation types. Knowing yours is key to taking on new habits.”
“Gretchen Rubin… [is] lighthearted and inviting—full of insights that sound familiar and advice that sounds less like what you should do and more like what you want to do.... With her focus on taking first steps and creating early successes, this is a refreshing take on how to change stubborn patterns that limit what we can enjoy about our lives.” —Audiofile Magazine
“Do you have a bad habit you’re trying to shake, or a good one you wish you could cultivate? Gretchen Rubin is one of the most charming and erudite authors of her generation. Here, she uses her gifts to help you eat right, sleep well, stop procrastinating, and start enjoying all that life has to offer.”
—Susan Cain, New York Times bestselling author of Quiet
“Gretchen Rubin combines deep research and observations from her own life to explain how habits emerge and—more important—how they can change. It’s indispensable for anyone hoping to overhaul how they (almost unthinkingly) behave.”
—Charles Duhigg, New York Times bestselling author of The Power of Habit
“Filled with insights about our patterns of behavior, Better Than Before addresses one of life’s big and timeless questions: how can we transform ourselves? In a way that’s thought-provoking, surprising, and often funny, Gretchen Rubin provides us with the tools to build a life that truly reflects our goals and values.”
—Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post and New York Times bestselling author of Thrive
“Is there a habit in your life you’d like to change? If so, here’s your first step: Read this book. It’s loaded with practical, everyday tips and techniques that will guide you to success.”
—Dan Heath, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Made to Stick, Switch, and Decisive
“Almost everyone wants to be ‘better’—slimmer, smarter, better looking, more interesting, more productive—and we want to know we’re improving, we want the reinforcing evidence. Gretchen Rubin’s new masterpiece, Better Than Before, shows us how. Unlike other books on habits, Rubin’s book gives us the specific tools and a blueprint for getting back on track—the fast track.”
—Brian Wansink, Ph.D., New York Times bestselling author of Slim by Design and Mindless Eating
“With bold and original insights, Gretchen Rubin reveals the hidden truths about how to change our habits—from resisting junk food and hitting the gym to ending procrastination and saving money. Better Than Before is a gem, and the first habit you should form is reading a chapter every night.”
—Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take
“Gretchen Rubin’s superpower is curiosity. Luckily for us, she’s turned her passionate inquiry to the topic of making and mastering habits. Weaving together research, unforgettable examples, and her brilliant insight, Better Than Before is a force for real change. It rearranged what I thought I knew about my habits, and I’m better for it.”
—Brené Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Daring Greatly andThe Gifts of Imperfection
About the Author
Gretchen Rubin is one of the most thought-provoking and influential writers on the linked subjects of habits, happiness, and human nature. She’s the author of many books, including the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers, Happier at Home and The Happiness Project. Rubin has an enormous following, in print and online; her books have sold more than a million copies worldwide, in more than thirty languages, and on her popular daily blog, gretchenrubin.com, she reports on her adventures in pursuit of habits and happiness. Her podcast "Happier with Gretchen Rubin" was an iTunes "Best of 2015" pick. Rubin started her career in law, and was clerking for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor when she realized she wanted to be a writer. She lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.
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Top Customer Reviews
Things I Loved About This Book:
* The 4 Tendencies: For most of this book, I thought these were not too impressive - I felt like all of them fit me somewhat. However, by the end of the book, I realized just how helpful they were. The quiz at the end to determine which tendency you fall in is very helpful, and you might want to skip ahead after the first chapter if you aren't sure what category you fall in. (I'm a questioner).
* Habits are different for different people. Rubin is the first author I've read who captures this concept well, and it makes complete sense once its presented. I have a 'lightning bolt' habit approach where habits are often formed overnight, but its helpful to see that many people aren't wired that way.
* Loved the section on abstinence being easier than moderation (for some people some of the time). Great insight, and a unique observation.
* The loophole spotting chapter is very helpful as well. Helps correct some of the self-defeating loopholes we often build into our habits.
* The danger of rewards and the benefits of treats was very good as well. External rewards that combat the habits we want to set are bad, internal treats that reinforce our habits are good. Simple . . . but hard to implement.Read more ›
The premise of this book is we can establish and then use habits to affect change in our lives. "Habits," Rubin states in the book's introduction, "make change possible by freeing us from decision-making and from using self-control." What Rubin means by this is that we can learn how to modify our behaviors so that we automatically do those things that we might otherwise not want to (like exercise, clean up after ourselves, avoid junk food, etc.). In the same way that we automatically brush our teeth without thinking about it, we can learn how to make other desirable behaviors (like eating better, avoiding time wasters, etc.) into "no brainers" that become folded into our everyday lives.
As Rubin further explains in the opening section, we have to choose strategies that will work for our specific personality type. To accomplish that, the book opens with a section that has you figure out what your main "tendency" is: are you an Upholder, Questioner, Rebel, Obliger, or perhaps a combo of these four types? From there, Rubin puts the principles in action by providing twenty-one strategies for helping you establish the habits that you want to create in your own life.Read more ›
Unfortunately, personal examples and anecdotes are (over)used for every point. I know way more about Gretchen's life, thoughts, and feelings than I want to... In fact, sometimes it felt like I was reading her personal diary (at one point she reminded herself of her Number One Commandment: "Be Gretchen"... Come on!) which was uncomfortable and a huge waste of time... so I ultimately had to scroll through pages at a time to just get back to the core messages that could help the READER work on their habits -- and not waste time on hearing how Gretchen and her friends and family were so successful in forming/maintaining their own habits.
Not sure if I'd recommend buying the book and wasting your time reading all of it or if I'd just recommend reading reviews and articles that cut through the cr*p and just explain her basic but very helpful habit forming frameworks, which are truly insightful and applicable to everyday life.
However, I'm not sure why she even undertook this task - she made it very clear that she didn't need help with any habits - she already gets up early, has good working habits, eats healthfully, has a clean home. And a personal trainer and housekeeper. And she and her husband both write from home. She does a disciplined four hours a day and shuts off social media when she's finished.
She was, however, on a mission to clean up everyone around her. There was "a friend" for every habit she preached about and she miraculously fixed them with her knowledge of habits, whether they were particularly wanting her help or not.
She has quite a condescending tone at times and made mention of her background on every other page. All of it was incredibly annoying to read. But I have a long-standing habit of finishing every book that I start.
After finishing, I realized that she is the daughter in law of Robert Rubin - of Citigroup and Goldman Sachs fame. Read up on his political career and you won't feel like paying for this book. I'm glad it was given to me.
See more of my reviews at www.hautemommyblog.com
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'd like to be able to give this book 4 1/2 stars. Overall it was a really good book that taught me a whole lot about how I develop habits. Read morePublished 1 day ago by E. Smith
I think I went into this book with the wrong expectations. I didn’t realize that Ms. Rubin is a lifestyle blogger, and I thought this book would have more science to it. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Brooke
This book is most helpful because it describes different styles of motivation and helps you identify your own. Read morePublished 2 days ago by John
I love this writer. She writes fascinating material, in an engaging manner.Published 4 days ago by Kathy L. Beal
Great read. I have recommended to several people and they have all loved it as much as me. Provides great insight into habit development.Published 4 days ago by Staci A. Partlo
Her writing style is both intelligent and entertaining, and her theories are well-supported by her research. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Susan Winberg
The recommendations and processes were obvious and it seemed like the author just turned every "finding" into an excuse to credit herself.Published 6 days ago by Kelly N.
Lots of perspectives clarified. Found this really grounding and actually self helpful.Published 9 days ago by Diana Gard