My Review | The Happiness Project

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 FunThe 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 by Gretchen Rubin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was really looking forward to reading this book. A woman who seems to have it all realizes that she’s not as happy as she should be and that life is short. So she decides to make some changes by doing a sort of strategic planning-esque cataloguing of areas needing improvement with monthly priorities based on a personal mission, vision and goals. For example, she cleans her closets and discovers that by cleaning her closets she feels happier. She is very self-disclosing. She explains some of her bothersome habits, like expecting a pat on the back every time she does something around the house. Everyone wants acknowledgement, but her goal of finding happiness can only be achieved by changing yourself. Not by wishing for changes in others, like her husband. She is very methodical. I liked the project approach and working on something new each month. But the method reminded me of the Dr. J. Evans Pritchard’s essay, “Understanding Poetry.” It felt like, okay, I did this and this and this, let’s measure my happiness now. But I guess you have to start somewhere if you want to make a difference in your life. And because it was, it definitely felt like a blog project that was turned into a book, including entries from readers from the blog giving their ideas on certain solutions. For whatever reason that bothered me. Probably because I’m jaded, but I started to feel like the book was a good marketing hook that caught on versus a good book. And I’m completely open to the fact that I’m wrong. Ultimately, the project gives you good ideas on how to focus on the things that matter to you the most. Many people thought that this book was funny and inspirational, but honestly I was put off by the whiny tone of the author early on and it that colored my perception of the book. It would be hard for me to do a similar project because you’d really have to work at it and spend time on it. For example, last night after work I came home went right upstairs, laid in bed with my shoes on and fell asleep. That made me happy.

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