Saturday, March 7, 2015

Book Review: the Happiness Project


My library had a display of books related to resolutions and achieving goals out this January. I picked up "the Happiness Project" because the author claimed to not really have anything to be unhappy about - just a sense she could be happier.

The book goes through her yearlong quest and is broken down into monthly goals. At one point the tone becomes more conversational and bloglike than informative. Coincidentally one of her goals was to start a blog.

The chapters are sorted into finding happiness through energy, love, aiming higher, lightening up, playing, making time for friends, spending to be happy, contemplating the afterlife, pursuing passion, paying attention, being content and "boot camp perfect."

Her secrets are nothing new - pretend to be happier in order to be happier, take care of your body and health in order to be happy, have downtime, etc. but her writing style is adorable and easy to ready.



This one idea really stuck with me:
When adults claim to have run out of ideas for hobbies and fun stuff hearken back to youth. Chances are whatever you enjoyed doing as a kid you will probably enjoy doing as an adult.

I loved keeping diaries as a kid and now love blogging.
I loved garage sales and now thrift and flip on eBay.
Shoot, I loved the post office and now I go there almost daily!

Most important is to remember what you wanted to try as a kid but didn't get to do. There's nothing sadder than an adult who says they've always wanted to "XYZ" to but they've never even tried it. Sure, we can't all be prize winning figure skaters but we could at least try skating. Perhaps we'll be great, perhaps we'll realize it just isn't fun and move on.

I paid special attention to her exercise section since my husband signed us up for the gym a month ago and I've been making it a goal to go three times a week:


Does that give you an idea of what the book is like? Her blog is right in her tone: http://www.gretchenrubin.com/

I just saw she has a new book coming out but I don't think I will look for it. The second half read like longer magazine stories than a book. I enjoy her blog and found the beginning of her book thought provoking and interesting but about halfway through - when she started blogging and inserting quotes from her blog readers and more family anecdotes it started feeling like forced filler. I'm sure it was deliberate but the change in tone jarred me enough to set the book down for a few weeks and then re-approach it with the "this is a different book" mindset.

Ironically one of the things she found which increases happiness is giving yourself permission to NOT finish every book you pick up.

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