Book 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 Fun

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

In this lively and compelling account, Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference.


I loved this book, not only because I found it insightful but I found it helpful. Self-help books are kind of hit or miss with how helpful they actually are, and they blend together- like really easily. They seem to all say the same thing in different ways, I mean, the repeated tips are important and they can really change lives, but I felt like this books read different.

Perhaps because it was part personal journey part researched, but regardless of way, it opened my eyes in ways that a lot of self-help books have failed too, and it gave me some insights into my own problems.

This book is separated by her different focuses month by month. Since her project lasted a year she does a month of organizing and cleaning, a month of focusing on her marriage, a month of focusing on her kids, a month of focusing on having fun. As a product of that, the book ends up very well rounded and it makes you feel like you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck.

Happiness is such a hard topic to talk about because so many things play into it, as someone who spends a lot of time talking about mental health it is interesting to look at happiness removed from any mental illness, to look at the emotion in its purest form. Rubin did an amazing job tackling this topic and I think this should be a must read for everyone.

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.

I read a lot more books than I review on here, to see my full reading list and ratings visit my Goodreads account here– and don’t be shy! Add me as a friend!

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