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Book Review: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Updated on October 8, 2013

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, was published in 2009. Subtitled Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle and Generally Have More Fun is an exploration of one woman’s journey to discover what happiness really is.

The book sums up a year’s personal research on how to be happier. Ms. Rubin cautions readers that the book is her own journey. Everyone has different experiences, goals and views of happiness.

Drawing upon her knowledge as a former lawyer, Rubin explores the topic of happiness in depth. She consults numerous books and authors about happiness and examines her own life to see what makes her happy and how she could improve.

Before beginning her project, she develops “12 Commandments,” or resolutions for the year. She compiles some “Secrets of Adulthood,” which are amusing truths she has learned in life.


The Happiness Project chapters are divided into months of the year, with a theme and specific resolutions to work on in each section. For example, January’s theme is “Boosting Energy.” To boost her energy, Rubin set the goals of trying to get more sleep and more exercise, among others. Each month follows the same pattern.

Rubin details her insight and experiences with each resolution and tells her successes and failures. Reactions of family and friends are included. I admire her ability to laugh at herself and her sometimes brutal honesty.

The narrative is inspirational and motivational. It is an easy read and one of those books you want to keep for reference. The reading list at the end is very helpful for those interested in pursuing their own happiness project. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Happiness Project and I plan to start my own!


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  • Esmeowl12 profile image

    Cindy A. Johnson 6 years ago from Sevierville, TN

    I think it was more of a self-realization of what makes her happy. I highly recommend the book. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Kaye McCulloch profile image

    Kaye McCulloch 6 years ago from Australia

    Sounds like an interesting book. So did she end up "happier" than she began? And if so was it because of her various projects, or because of only partially related realisations she had along the way?