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Better Than Before summary

Gretchen Rubin

Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

4.1 (314 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin is a self-improvement book that provides a framework for building and sticking to good habits. Through research and personal anecdotes, Rubin offers practical strategies to help readers understand their individual habit tendencies and make lasting changes.

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    Better Than Before
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    In order to take control of your habits you must know thyself.

    Aristotle’s imperative – “Know thyself!” – still rings true today. To ditch bad habits or stick to good ones, you need to know who you are. And you’ll likely fall into one of these four personality types:

    If you’re an Upholder, you find it easy to respond to your own and others’ expectations. You always do everything on your to-do list. However, you tend to dawdle when there are no clear-cut rules or expectations.

    For example, if going to the gym is in the calendar, an Upholder will go even if the weather is terrible, or she’s tired from work. If it’s not in the calendar, though, she’d probably skip it even if it would be a fine day to work out.

    If you scrutinize what’s expected of you and comply only if they make sense to you, you’re more of a Questioner. This usually means that when you want to start a new habit, you take forever to gather momentum.

    A Questioner wanting to start a gym habit can benefit from exercise apps or other data sources, because when he sees statistical proof that he’s losing weight, he’ll be more motivated to stick to his gym routine.

    If you’re an Obliger, you have no problem meeting expectations when they’re imposed on you, but you find it difficult to impose expectations on yourself. Therefore if you as an Obliger want to go to the gym more, you should get an exercise buddy who’ll pressure you into going.

    Finally, if you’re a Rebel, you resist all expectations, whether they come from you or other people. Authenticity and self-determination are your guides. If you're a Rebel you should refrain from putting things in your calendar (if you have one at all) and just say to yourself you're going to the gym today because you want to, not because it's in the calendar.

    Which type are you? Knowing this will help you form new habits.

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    What is Better Than Before about?

    Better Than Before (2015) gives you the strategies to both create and maintain good, healthy habits, and break the habits that don’t serve you.

    Better Than Before Review

    Better Than Before (2015) explores the world of habits and provides insightful strategies to help readers create lasting behavioral changes. Here are three reasons why this book is worth reading:

    • With its practical tips and tricks, it equips readers with actionable advice to break bad habits and build healthier ones.
    • By drawing on scientific research and real-life examples, the book offers a deeper understanding of human behavior and motivation.
    • The author's engaging storytelling keeps readers hooked, ensuring that this exploration of habit formation is anything but dull.

    Best quote from Better Than Before

    Decide, then dont decide.

    —Gretchen Rubin
    example alt text

    Who should read Better Than Before?

    • Anyone who wants to pick up and maintain good habits
    • Anyone wishing to kick a bad habit

    About the Author

    Gretchen Rubin is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project, a book that has been translated into over 30 languages and instigated a movement of people wanting to live happier lives.

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    Better Than Before FAQs 

    What is the main message of Better Than Before?

    The main message of Better Than Before is that understanding ourselves and our habits is the key to lasting personal change.

    How long does it take to read Better Than Before?

    The reading time for Better Than Before varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Better Than Before a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Better Than Before is worth reading because it offers practical strategies and insights to help you improve your habits and make positive changes in your life.

    Who is the author of Better Than Before?

    The author of Better Than Before is Gretchen Rubin.

    What to read after Better Than Before?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Better Than Before, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Making Habits, Breaking Habits by Jeremy Dean
    • Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin
    • Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
    • Welcome Home by Najwa Zebian
    • Advice Not Given by Mark Epstein
    • Wait by Frank Partnoy
    • How to Stay Sane by Philippa Perry
    • Essentialism by Greg McKeown
    • Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop
    • Atlas of AI by Kate Crawford