BOOK REVIEW: The Happiness Project – by Gretchen Rubin

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Title: The Happiness Project
Author: Gretchen Rubin
Genre: Non Fiction, Self Help, Memoir
First published: December 29th 2009
Finished reading: December 16th 2015
Pages: 315
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“One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.”

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I normally quite enjoy reading memoirs, but honestly I’m really not that into self help books. I decided to pick up The Happiness Project anyway since I got a free paperback copy at a book exchange earlier this month. I actually quite enjoyed the first part… The idea of investing time and start a project to bring more happiness to your life sounds interesting, but unfortunately reading about Gretchen Rubin‘s own experience started to turn into something annoying after a while. I mean, she pretty much already had a great life before the project: an according to her handsome and succesful husband, two healthy little girls, a job she loves and a great home in NY. I don’t mind her wanting to be happier, but she did come over as a bit hypocrite in some chapters. I know some people see her as a great example, but I personally would have preferred reading about someone with a bigger and more genuine challenge. As far as the prose: it shows that Gretchen Rubin did a lot of research for her project and I liked that she incorporated blog comments in her chapters. Do I agree with everything she said? No. But I do believe the right person might benefit from at least part of her message.

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Gretchen Rubin was taking the same city bus as she always did when she had the realization that “the days are long, but the years are short”. She also realized she wasn’t as happy as she could be and wasn’t focusing enough on the things that really matter. Hence the happiness project was born, where she wanted to try and focus on improving a different aspect of her life each month. Every chapter tells the story of her adventures during a specific month, giving advice and contemplating both the good and bad parts. Novelty and challenge turn out to be powerful sources of happiness, money can help buy happiness when spent wisely and small changes can truly make the biggest difference… All those conclusions and more can be found in the happiness project.

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Gretchen Rubin had some very interesting ideas in her book, but I can’t say I agree with all of them nor do I think her already almost perfect ‘before’ situation is the best example of a ‘proper’ happiness project. Everybody has the right to be happier and I’m not saying she was wrong doing the project OR writing about it, but I didn’t like her tone in some chapters. Would I recommend this read? Only if you like self help books and are interested in the theme.

WWW Wednesdays #70 – December 23rd

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below. But first: Happy Holidays!!! I hope everyone will have a wonderful time.

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  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I have started reading The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson the other day and so far it’s just as good as I’ll Give You The Sun. The story is a bit sad though; not exactly the right mood just before Christmas. That’s probably why I’m going to try and finish Let It Snow by John Green today or tomorrow as well.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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Four books finished since last week, although two of them were short and quick reads…
* The first book I finished is The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It’s not a terrible read, but somehow this project would have been more interesting if it was about someone with a less privileged life and more interesting goals… I don’t mind the author wanting to be happier, but she did come over as a tad arrogant.
* I then picked up my last pending ARC of 2015: Rough Roads With Reckless Drivers by Lara Pass. A short read, which was probably the only reason why I actually finished it because it wasn’t good at all. More details in the upcoming review…
* I also finished Memories by Lang Leav; a collection of poems and thoughts that wasn’t necessarily bad, but I just couldn’t relate to the sad broken relationship poems…
* The last book I finally finished is The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, a book I have been wanting to read for too long now. I really enjoyed it and it’s definitely a lot better than the Wolves Of Mercy Falls series, but I did have some minor issues with it.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I want to try and read My True Love Gave To Me before the Holidays are over, and I have been wanting to read The Young Elites by Marie Lu as well. I might pick up The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury as well and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman is still my latest TBR jar pick.

WWW Wednesdays #69 – December 16th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I have started Rough Roads With Reckless Drivers by Lara Pass yesterday evening since it’s my only pending ARC… I’m not too far into the story yet, but hopefully I will be able to finish it today. I’m also about halfway through The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, a book I picked up at a hostel book exchange during our trip to the capital… And I’m still trying to finish The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater as well. Let It Snow by John Green I’ve put on hold for now because the first story is just too sappy… Hopefully I will be in the mood to continue soon.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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December is a difficult month to actually read! Still, three books isn’t that bad considering I was away for two days.
* The first book I finished is November 9 by Colleen Hoover, which I absolutely loved even though I’m not into the genre.
* I then picked up My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris solely to help complete the When Are You Reading? challenge. Which is probably why I actually finished it, because I didn’t like it at all.
* The last book I was able to finish is Hamlet by William Shakespeare, which means I was able to finally complete the When Are You Reading? challenge! 😀

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I want to read Memories by Lang Leav next, a collection of poems and one of the last two titles I need to complete the full BINGO of the Bookish Bingo 2015 challenge. I will probably try to read My True Love Gave To Me at some point before Christmas as well.. And if I’m in the mood for fantasy, I’m going to try and pick up either The Young Elites by Marie Lu or Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (latest TBR jar pick).