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"The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin, a Book Review

Updated on June 19, 2013
The happiness project cover
The happiness project cover | Source
Gretchen Rubin portrait
Gretchen Rubin portrait | Source

Gretchen Rubin was already feeling okay about her life. Actually, she was happy.
But she felt like the days were slipping away through her fingers, and that she should be able to be happier than that. So she embarks out on a journey. A year of trying to be the happiest she can.
Each month she devoted to a topic, like "reading more", "ask for help", "give proofs of love".
And then she wrote a book about her journey of happiness. Or, as she call it, "The Happiness Project"

I am very interested and fascinated by psychology.
So, (of course?) I also have a big interest in Happiness, and therefore this book had been on my to-read list for a while before I got my hands on it.

And I did like it.
Well I liked some things about it.

What I liked about "The happiness project"

  • The book is not only based on her own life and opinions, but in some chapters she also included real-like research about that particular topic and how it enhanced happiness

  • Good organization of the book. Every month had its own chapter, but each chapter was also dealt into smaller topics.
    Ex. the month of july was "Buy some happiness"/"Money".
    And the topics/money-related goals of the month was "Indulge in a modest splurge", "Buy needful things", "Spend out" and "Give something up"

  • Some of her ideas and goals were great and easy. They weren't big and life-changing, she didn't want a new car or a big trip to the Maldives. She just wanted to feel a bit better about life, and get a bit more out of the small stuff. That definitely makes it easier to "take the book in" and actually adapt some of it to your own life.

  • I like the cheeky yellow and blue colors on the cover, and the birds and houses also made me quite happy. Never going to stop loving original and pretty book covers.

  • It's a book about happiness, and I tend to like those very much.

  • There is a fun little "make your own happiness project" section in the end of the book.
    I never ended up using it myself, but it could surely be beneficial to someone else.

What I did not like about "The happiness project"

  • I am neither married, nor have kids. Therefore I couldn't relate to this as much as I would have really liked to. Because her ideas and goals were just so far from mine, and I didn't feel like I got too much out of reading chapters about kids and marriage and how to make those area of life better.

  • It is boring.
    Not much happens. It is just a lot of Gretchen Rubins thoughts mostly, because while her goals should of course be obtainable they are not very big, and I have a limit of how many pages about singing in the morning I can actually read.

  • I expected to get a lot more out of it than I did.
    I wonder why, because me and Gretchen Rubin are on different life paths, but I still hoped for the books to have more tips. Or at least some fun stories instead of too many thoughts put into too many words.


I think that Gretchen Rubins idea was great.
It is so so important to cherish what you have, and I think it is even more important to improve where you can improve. Hey, most people in the western world SHOULD be happy, so I think we should do our best to get the most out of everything.
I also think that she dealt with it in a good way (for her).
No big changes, nothing that rocks her whole life (or her family's)

Unfortunately I just feel like this is one of those things she should have written about in her own diary and kept it there. I can't really see the book potential here.

I checked the internet for reviews though, and according to bloggers and, a lot of people actually like this book. So I am going to be large and just be happy about the fact that Rubin shared her thoughts with the rest of the world.

And even though I felt the book is a bit boring and un-inspirational, I think she had some great ideas and I will always like people who try to expand the happiness of the world.

Therefore I would give this book 2.5-3 stars out of 5.

Recommended to: People who can relate to Gretchen Rubin
Partly recommended if: You have a big interest in happiness
Not recommended to: Cynicals.


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    • Green Art profile image

      Green Art 

      5 years ago

      Good review! I like your honesty and sense of humor about this book. I think I might just have to read it now. Everyone needs a bit more happiness in this crazy life. Appreciating the small stuff is a great way to start. Voted up and interesting!


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