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Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Happiness Project - Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin realized one day on her bus ride home that she really wasn't all that happy with her life. She had many things she was happy for having in her life, like her family, but she didn't feel happy. That's when she started The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun.

Each month Rubin focuses on a particular part of her life that she wants to improve. In order to do this Rubin starts with a theme for each month and then sets forth specific goals in order to complete it. Some take place over time and some daily. For January, the beginning of her project, she chose "Boost Energy". Many of her plans are what most people would do in order to improve, like getting to bed earlier, exercising better, and acting more energetic, but some were a bit unusual, like cleaning her house and to quit nagging. "Be Serious About Play" in May sounds a bit strange at first, until the author presents examples of her daily interaction. Rubin realizes she sometimes takes herself too seriously during unnecessary times. Her quest to become more open to the opportunities for fun are something many people will be able to relate to themselves. Even though she isn't religious, Rubin chooses to "Contemplate the Heavens" in August. As Rubin learns more about various Saints and religious people, she realizes that despite being a non-religious type, she can learn a lot from these people that will improve her own life.

By revealing both her successes and failures throughout her one year project, readers will find a person just like themselves behind this narrative. At the end Rubin invites readers to do their own Happiness Project, start a group, or even join a group in their area. On the last few pages are ideas that readers can utilize for their own path, which I think many readers will find themselves doing after reading about this one woman's amazing journey.

Recommended Reads:
The Artist's Way - Julia Cameron
The Four Agreements - Don Miguel Ruiz
The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible - A. J. Jacobs

Recommended Sites:
The Happiness Project
43 Things
SuperBetter

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