- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Revised ed. edition (December 29, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062414852
- ISBN-13: 978-0062414854
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1,447 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Happiness Project (Revised Edition): Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun Paperback – December 29, 2015
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Rubin is not an unhappy woman: she has a loving husband, two great kids and a writing career in New York City. Still, she could-and, arguably, should-be happier. Thus, her methodical (and bizarre) happiness project: spend one year achieving careful, measurable goals in different areas of life (marriage, work, parenting, self-fulfillment) and build on them cumulatively, using concrete steps (such as, in January, going to bed earlier, exercising better, getting organized, and "acting more energetic"). By December, she's striving bemusedly to keep increasing happiness in every aspect of her life. The outcome is good, not perfect (in accordance with one of her "Secrets of Adulthood": "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good"), but Rubin's funny, perceptive account is both inspirational and forgiving, and sprinkled with just enough wise tips, concrete advice and timely research (including all those other recent books on happiness) to qualify as self-help. Defying self-help expectations, however, Rubin writes with keen senses of self and narrative, balancing the personal and the universal with a light touch. Rubin's project makes curiously compulsive reading, which is enough to make any reader happy. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
“An enlightening, laugh-aloud read. . . . Filled with open, honest glimpses into [Rubin’s] real life, woven together with constant doses of humor.” (Terry Hong, Christian Science Monitor)
“For those who generally loathe the self-help genre, Rubin’s book is a breath of peppermint-scented air. Well-researched and sharply written. . . . Rubin takes an orderly, methodical approach to forging her own path to a happier state of mind.” (Kim Crow, Cleveland Plain Dealer)
“Practical and never preachy . . . the rare self-help tome that doesn’t feel shameful to read.” (Daily Beast)
“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.” (Amy Scribner, Bookpage)
Top Customer Reviews
I found the author's tone whiny and self-important. Inflated sense of ego, anyone? Good grief.
Gretchen is a 40 something, ultra-priveleged mother, "writer", former law clerk to Sandra Day O'Connor and Yale grad (these last two facts are repeated over and over and over just in case the reader didn't catch them the first time). She decides one day that she could be happier, and sets off, in her goal-oriented way, to find more happiness. Also, she likes to give herself gold stars. Lots of them.
The advice she dishes out, however, consists of nuggets of common sense that most of have learned well before age 40. Be nice to everyone! Don't nag the people you love! Spend time with your kids! De-clutter! Get more sleep and exercise more!
Gretchen, as it turns out, lives in a Manhattan triplex, has a nanny, a housekeeper and millions of dollars. Obviously, she has lots of free time and disposable income to fund her 'happiness project'. It's hard to take her seriously when she whines about things like running errands for her daughter's birthday party and how hard it is for her to spend a week being nice to her husband.
I wish she had dug a little deeper into her own psyche - WHY does she need constant approval and attention? That is a question that may have been worth exploring.
In a New York Times article she is quoted as saying about her book, "I don't have anything that's really original".
No you would not, and Harper Collins knows this, which is why the cover features humble tenements and handwritten script and omits any detail that would make you think she's not just an arty mom from Brooklyn looking to focus on the bright side of life.
Who is she really? The way she tells it, she's a lawyer who boldly gave up a law career to pursue her passion, writing. She neglects to mention that this was not much of a risk given that she is married to the son of Robert Rubin, former Treasury Secretary under Clinton, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup guy who personally helped ensure that derivatives stayed unregulated, netting millions for himself and billions of taxpayer bailout for his companies.
Once you know this, the story is unpalatable. Rubin and Harper Collins know this, and go to great lengths to maintain the ruse that Rubin is an everywoman, writing that she hesitates to purchase a $2 pen, or a new blender, or new shirts. Yet how can she really write an honest happy project if she is not truthful?
It is deceitful that she would say how tidying her home made her so much happier when you know that she has had a staff all along that can help her with just that.Read more ›
I have since read all the 1 and 2 star reviews here, and they get it exactly right.
When the book arrived, I flipped through it and it mentioned Ben Franklin, Carl Jung and other thinkers I greatly admire, so I sat down with great happiness to start reading.
Turns out the book is almost all about Gretchen "being Gretchen" and is way too padded out with filler "guest posts" from her blog.
I'm halfway through and - like many others - am about to give up on this book.
(P.S. I also kept wondering how much household help she has to have. Nannies, at least, as she wanders around NYC all day and never seems to have her 1-year-old with her!)
I wish I had saved the $$$ and not bought this book at all! Next time I won't be influenced by the fact that there were a ton of good reviews without at least sampling the 1-2 star ones too. Lesson learned!
According to Ms Rubin, the origin of this book is an epiphany she had watching a woman yakking on a cell phone, crossing a Manhattan street with a toddler and a stroller. She identified with this person, because for Ms. Rubin, that is the very picture of a sad, harried person who's life is just passing her by. Yeah, life's pretty tough when you've got to walk your kids home to the nanny between your pedicure and yoga class.
I found Ms Rubin's solution system humorous. Evidently, her problems were all of the sort that can be fixed by things like an orange scented candle, reading random magazines, a laminator, tossing out frayed underpants, shopping for bluebird collectibles and so on. That is, after she walked away from her high pay attorney job, thanks to her hedge fund manager husband's income. (It is sad to think some other applicant was refused a seat at Yale, so that this woman could squander her degree to make herself happy at an unrelated fantasy career.)
I also enjoyed the occasional insights on her neurotic personality and private life. M&Ms make her cranky, she prefers to wear yoga pants and her idea of fun in bed is reading Tolstoy, she considers herself fortunate because she has naturally red hair. She's quick to scold her husband, and while she buys her T shirts at Bloomingdales, she thinks a ten buck pen is an extravagance. She wore coke bottle glasses as a kid.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I think I had something else in mind when I started reading this book. One of my best friends suggested that I read it. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Justicepirate
I teach positive psychology and this is a great resource with very worthwhile information to apply to your life.Published 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
Love the book, and I really like the show on podcast! Want to gain a foundation for happiness then continue to inspire yourself along your journey? Read morePublished 5 days ago by James Tudor
I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy read that was light hearted, but taught some great points for life!Published 7 days ago by Will B
Selfish, trite and juvenile. The spoiled author is the definition of white privilege, and her writing style is annoying. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Stephanie
I have just read this book and I loved it! This book has helped to change my attitude and now I feel excited and positive for 2017. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
I thought I would like this because I firmly believe that we make the choice to be happy or not.
I found this to be a tedious read of a very privileged woman with what most... Read more
Enjoyed this book. It had a lot of great ideas and thoughts for putting more happiness in your life. Reading it on my Kindle was perfect for this book.Published 13 days ago by J-Belle
I was planning to grab this book for my Kindle when I noticed that most, if not all, of the longer, well-thought-out and detailed reviews awarded the author one or two stars; most,... Read morePublished 13 days ago by Nancy Lorieau