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Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life Hardcover – September 4, 2012
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"With her characteristic mix of delightful charm, thoughtful research, and insightful advice, In Happier at Home Gretchen Rubin shows how to add fun, joy, and harmony to your home life. As usual with Rubin's work, I couldn't put this book down."
--Susan Cain, New York Times bestselling author of QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
"Gretchen Rubin's inventive approach to creating a happier home life is as inspiring as it is informative. Happier At Home is a soulful and enlightening guide for happiness-seekers of all stripes."
--Cheryl Strayed, bestselling author of WILD
“In her brilliantly insightful book Happier at Home, Gretchen Rubin shows how small changes can make a big difference to our everyday happiness. What better place to start than in our own homes?” -- Chris Guillebeau, author of The Art of Non-Conformity, and The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future
“From ‘threshold rituals’ to ‘cultivating a shrine,’ Happier at Home has brought more joy into my life. It’s a rare book that inspires personal change and takes you on a rollicking adventure through history and into the minds of great thinkers. I’m grateful for Gretchen Rubin's work.”
-- Brené Brown, Ph.D. Author of #1 New York Times bestselling book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way we Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
"A happy home is the elusive ideal we all strive for--whether we live in the city or suburbs, with children or parents, with partners, roommates, or on our own. In Happier at Home, Gretchen Rubin brilliantly shows us how to create an environment that embraces the people and the things that give us a sense of comfort, tranquility, and joy."
--Harlan Coben, bestselling author of Six Years and Stay Close
“Self-help fans rejoice. A new book just came out that’s just as good as Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. It’s her latest release called Happier at Home. . . Rubin’s warm, doable and sweet tips seem small when you check them off one by one. But the advice, added together, is a big ball of happy. . . Every mom will find gems in this book.”
Praise for The Happiness Project
“Once you’ve read Gretchen Rubin’s tale of a year spent searching for satisfaction, you’ll want to start your own happiness project and get your friends and family to join you. This is the rare book that will make you both smile and think—often on the same page.”
–Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of Drive
"A friendly, approachable, and compulsively readable narrative that will not only make you want to start your own happiness project but will also make you want to invite Rubin out for a cup of coffee."
–San Diego Union-Tribune
"For those who generally loathe the self-help genre, Rubin's book is a breath of peppermint-scented air. Well-researched and sharply written."
–The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"The Happiness Project made me happier by just reading it."
“An enlightening, laugh-aloud read…Filled with open, honest glimpses into [Rubin’s] real life, woven together with constant doses of humor.”
–Christian Science Monitor
“Whether you devote a day or a year, The Happiness Project can give you the tools to find lasting fulfillment.”
“Gretchen's compelling voice, great stories, and first person-perspective…make the book simply irresistible.”
–Bob Sutton, Stanford Professor and author of Weird Ideas That Work
“A cross between the Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, seamlessly buttressed by insights from sources as diverse as psychological scientists, novelists, poets, and philosophers, Gretchen Rubin’s book is one that readers will revisit again and again as they seek to fulfill their own dreams for happiness.”
–Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness
About the Author
GRETCHEN RUBIN, a member of Oprah's SuperSoul 100, is the author of several books, including the blockbuster #1 New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project. Rubin started her career in law and was clerking for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when she realized that she really wanted to be a writer. Raised in Kansas City, she lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.
Top customer reviews
But this book, which I'd eagerly anticipated since I pre-ordered it earlier this summer, feels more like a diary or a The Life of Gretchen Rubin documentary than a self-help book. I love detail, normally, but so much of this book seemed to be "and then this happened to me, and then I did this." Hard to say how that differs from the first book, but it did--maybe it was the dearth of new insights, or the inclusion of the seemingly trivial (to me, at least). For example, I love scent, too, but the number of pages devoted to Rubin's exploration of smell, including creating a Shrine to Scent, just seemed like an awful lot of attention spent trying to elevate the incredibly mundane.
I do realize that paying attention to the details was a big part of Rubin's prescription for happiness in her very successful first book, and it's hard to put my finger on what made this one less enjoyable. I guess in the end it felt as though this one was rushed--that she put in the effort to record the details, but perhaps not the same effort towards making those details add up to something relevant and useful to the reader. Sort of a "This is what I did" rather than "Here's what to do"--more of a memoir of nine months than the instructional, follow-this-path tone of The Happiness Project. And I love a good memoir--but this wasn't a good memoir, either. It's like she didn't have much significant to say, but still took up a lot of space saying it.
If this is your first Gretchen Rubin book, you may not have the same problem with it that I did--I guess I just loved the first book so much that I had very high expectations. I still do, and will look forward to her next project and her next book. But I probably won't be re-reading this one.
The book was spurred by a sudden yearning not to take daily family and home life for granted. Yes, she'd learned how to be more joyful in general but what about taking some of the same principles - and adding new ones - to the elements that truly mattered for her family and home? So she decided to create a year's worth of resolutions, focusing on a different one each month (but there are only 9 chapters so some resolutions must have taken longer than a month to achieve)
The topics covered were: possessions, marriage, parenthood, interior design, time, body, family, neighborhood, and living in the present. Rubin realized that major changes had to come primarily from within herself, not by expecting her family to change in the same ways she did. Otherwise, everything could backfire and she'd become a nagging control freak. A guiding motto was "First, do no harm."
The parts of the book which resonated most with me were the sections on appreciating present joys as well as interior design. I have trouble slowing down and appreciating the daily gifts of life, large and small. Instead, I think about what still needs to be accomplished. But Rubin helped me to step back and refocus. I now make space for quiet moments and deep appreciation for all that I have.
Then there is the part of the book on interior design - but not in the conventional sense, not room decor. Rubin's idea of interior design was to renovate herself, her spirit, her perspective. She decided to resist the impulse to take her happiness completely from her husband and children. Yes, she cared about their joy but she also knew that she had to "dig deep" to create her own built-in happiness. That way, her positive outlook was more likely to contribute to her family's happiness - as well as her own.
There is far too much to cover in a reasonably brief review but I want to stress that this book went beyond the type of self-help books which contain general platitudes. There is specific and detailed information about how Rubin approached each resolution. There is also a section called "Your Happiness Project" at the back of the book. This is useful as a starting point for readers who want to start a Happiness Project of their own. Instead of instructing readers exactly what to do, Rubin offers a set of questions and beliefs. Examples of questions include: what makes you feel good? What makes you feel bad? Is there any way you don't feel right about your life (job, city, family situation, etc? I found much helpful info here.