The Happiness Project Book Summary - The Happiness Project Book explained in key points
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The Happiness Project summary

Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

4.3 (257 ratings)
24 mins

Brief summary

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin is a memoir/self-help book detailing the author's year-long journey to increase her happiness, providing insights and tips for readers to improve their own happiness through achievable tasks and attitude adjustments.

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    The Happiness Project
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    On the road to happiness: make good resolutions and take small steps.

    Given that people are better suited to working toward concrete goals than abstract things like being happy, Gretchen Rubin gave herself concretely formulated and measurable resolutions and requirements that she adhered to throughout the entire project. They served as universal principles to be followed in each of the phases of the experiment she undertook.

    Rubin knew what easily soured her mood and tried to avoid those things using her resolutions. By giving herself instructions such as “Do it now!” and “Be Gretchen!” she hoped to achieve positive feelings in all kinds of situations. What she saw was a basic opportunity to feel more happiness by, for example, simply carrying out tasks as they arose (rather than putting them off) and staying true to herself every step of the way.

    She had several realizations concerning these general guidelines, which she had amassed over the course of her life. She then repeated these to herself constantly during each phase of her project – regardless of whether she was seeking a professional challenge or more harmony in her family life.

    For example, phrases like “People usually notice your mistakes less than you think,” “You don’t have to be good at everything,” or “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while,” helped her to stay focused when things got rocky and not lose sight of her path to happiness.

    Finally, Rubin realized that the small steps and moments of happiness were what really helped her achieve the desired change. With the motto Change your life without changing your life, she wanted to attain the highest level of happiness possible from the most mundane of situations. Rather than dropping out of society and moving to the rainforest or turning her life completely on its head in her search for happiness, she simply wanted to become a little happier and more satisfied with the life she was already leading.

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    What is The Happiness Project about?

    What is happiness and how can we bring more of it into our lives? Gretchen Rubin asked herself this question because although she fulfilled all the prerequisites for a happy life – an intact family, a good job and enough money for a rainy day – she found herself frequently unhappy. During her year-long Happiness Project, she read about various techniques and theories on increasing happiness and tried to become happier with their help.


    The Happiness Project Review

    The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (2009) is a thought-provoking exploration of one woman's journey to find happiness and improve her life. Here's what makes this book worth reading:

    • Practical strategies and insights offer actionable advice for readers to enhance their happiness and well-being.
    • Combining scientific research, personal anecdotes, and wisdom from philosophy and psychology, it provides a holistic approach to happiness.
    • The book's relatable storytelling and relatable experiences make it engaging and relatable, ensuring that readers never find it dull or boring.

    Who should read The Happiness Project?

    • Anyone who wants to boost the little bits of happiness in their everyday lives
    • Anyone looking for ideas and theories about happiness
    • Anyone in need of concrete suggestions about how to establish a balance between work, social life, family and self-fulfillment



    About the Author

    Gretchen Rubin studied law but decided to become a writer instead. Thanks to her blog, The Happiness Project, she became a famous blogger. In addition, she has written biographies of Winston Churchill and John F. Kennedy, as well as several self-help bestsellers, such as Power Money Fame Sex.

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    The Happiness Project FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Happiness Project?

    The main message of The Happiness Project is to find happiness by making small changes in our daily lives.

    How long does it take to read The Happiness Project?

    The reading time for The Happiness Project varies but can be completed in a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Happiness Project a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Happiness Project is a valuable read that offers practical insights and strategies to live a happier life.

    Who is the author of The Happiness Project?

    The author of The Happiness Project is Gretchen Rubin.

    What to read after The Happiness Project?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Happiness Project, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama
    • You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
    • You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero
    • The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu
    • The Achievement Habit by Bernard Roth
    • I’m Ok, You’re Ok by Thomas A. Harris
    • The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
    • The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma
    • Savor by Thich Nhat Hanh and Lilian Cheung
    • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo