Mina -- this seems more like a review of Gretchen Rubin rather than her book, and it comes off a little as an ad hominem (or ad feminem, in this case) attack. The book stands on its own as the chronicle of one very capable and well-meaning person in affluent 21st century North America aiming to increase happiness in her household through simple steps that are available to anyone with a little time and initiative. Is it comprehensive? No -- it doesn't claim to be, and that's just not possible. Is everything she says applicable to my life? Um, no -- she's a married mother of two, and I'm a single guy. However, everything that she tries is practical, and someone will find it useful.
If she were cruising around town in her Rolls Royce Silver Ghost with her homies sipping Cristal, I'd say you have a point about her financial situation being an issue. But she's not. She's training herself to become more aware of her husband's positive qualities and to roll her eyes less. She's getting rid of clutter. She's hugging more. She's confronting her fears by learning how to drive in NYC. She's avoiding negative people. This is simple-looking stuff that's hard work, people. And it takes a lot more of an investment of character than it does of bucks.
Also, Mina, I'm guessing you're not in a slum in Mumbai sharing a room with 16 people. If you are tooling around on Amazon on a laptop or iPad and have enough time to read books and even write whole reviews, that means you're already part of the top 5% most affluent people on the planet. On a large scale, the absolute difference in quality of life between Gretchen and you is minimal: you are both residents of the wealthy Western world in 2012. You have health, disposable income *and* time. As such, you're going to share a set of problems different from the rest of the planet: stress instead of malaria, not seeing your kids enough instead of seeing them die young, too much stuff instead of no running water, status anxiety instead of warzone anxiety. And please recognize that the 'problem' of having to choose (god forbid) between an iPad and going away for a long weekend means that you are doing very, very well indeed. So much so that you may have forgotten to be grateful for what you have. Let's not allow the fact that the author isn't an exact facsimile of ourselves become an excuse to not apply her useful findings.
In the end, the biggest difference between Gretchen and her readers is that she has arranged herself to be self-employed such that she gets to do these experiments for a living. But even though we may not have the time or motivation to do everything she does, she's provided us with an annotated list of everything she tried in a year from which we can cherry-pick what *can* work for us. That to me is the greatest gift an author can give: to distill life, lived in real time over the course of years, into the nectar of a few pages that can be imbibed over mere hours to enrich our lives immeasurably. Gretchen has done a great job of that in 'Happier at Home', and you should all read it. It's particularly applicable if you're a married Western woman with kids, and anyone else is bound to learn something useful, too.
-- Ali Binazir MD, author of The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman's Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible, the highest-rated dating book on Amazon since July 2011