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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

4.1 out of 5 stars 1,447 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • 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)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I rarely abandon a book midway through, but after the 6th month of Gretchen "being Gretchen" I couldn't take any more.

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 kidding.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have not written a review before but felt compelled to do so after reading 1/3 to 1/2 of Ms. Rubin's work. Rather than feel happy or inspired myself, reading this book became painful. The author's constant reference to her past accomplishments were both self serving and unnecessary. I am still waiting for the "happy" part of the book to materialize. Your money would be better spent making a donation to the local food bank rather than buying this book - and I'll guarantee you'll feel happier.
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Format: Paperback
Would you read a book called "The Happiness Project" if the cover depicted a bored, skinny, highly connected multimillionare leisurely staring out of her Manhattan mansion from her bed, rereading her favorite childhood books, fretting over her weight, gazing indifferently at her collection of bird memorabilia, and finding fault with her multimillionare husband while a nanny watched her children and a housecleaner tidied her home?

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought Gretchen Rubin's book after seeing an ad for it in the paper and reading only the 5-star reviews on Amazon.

Big mistake!

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!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my mother, who grew up during the Depression and has not had an easy life. I'm glad I read it first, because it would have been an insult to give this to a genuine person who's experienced some hard knocks.

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.
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