Book Review: The Happiness Project


Several posts back, I mentioned a book that I was reading – The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I am finally getting around to writing my review of the book.

I ran across this book while browsing the book section in Target. I wasn’t even planning to buy a book, but two things caught my attention – the brightly colored, almost playful book cover and the words ‘happiness’ and ‘project’. I am a big fan of self-help books, but I have found that I normally only read the first few chapters and then get bored with them. The Happiness Project is one of the few self-help books that I read in its entirety.

In this book, Gretchen Rubin documents her year-long project to become a happier person. And as any good project manager knows, the key to a successful project is having clearly identified tasks, deadlines and a tracking mechanism to document progress. Rubin came up with specific resolutions each month, as well as a chart that she used to keep up with how she was doing on each resolution.

A few things about this book really spoke to me:

  • Rubin started this project because she realized that she was “in danger of wasting her life” and that she was having a “midlife malaise” – a recurrent sense of discontent. I can totally relate to this. On the surface, my life is pretty good. I’m married to a tall and extremely handsome man and while our marriage isn’t perfect (whose is, really?), we are basically happily married. We have two wonderful, smart and talented children. We own a home in a great neighborhood, have good jobs and enough money to pay our bills each month with some left over for the occasional vacation. Despite my meany blessings, I often feel like I am not reaching my potential and fear that if I don’t make some big changes, I’ll get to the end of my life and feel like I’ve wasted much of it.
  • I liked Rubin’s project approach. Its practical and tracking progress using a chart creates a sense of accountability. It also speaks to the inner nerd in me that loves charts!
  • It was clear to me that Rubin did a lot of research on happiness and since I don’t foresee myself doing much reading on the philosophy of happiness, it was nice to get snippets of information about happiness in between some of the light-hearted personal stories throughout the book.
  • Overall, I give this book a thumbs up and definitely recommend it (unless you feel like you are living your life with all cylinders fired up, doing exactly what it is you were put on this earth to do and couldn’t imagine being any happier than you are at this very moment – for those 5 people, this book may be a waste of your time :-)).



    Categories: Book Reviews, Self Improvement

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