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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 [Paperback]

Gretchen Rubin
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

5 Jun 2011

“This book made me happy in the first five pages.” —AJ Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible

Award-winning author Gretchen Rubin is back with a bang, with The Happiness Project. The author of the bestselling 40 Ways to Look at Winston Churchill has produced a work that is “a cross between the Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love.” (Sonya Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want) In the vein of Julie and Julia, The Happiness Project describes one person’s year-long attempt to discover what leads to true contentment. Drawing at once on cutting-edge science, classical philosophy, and real-world applicability, Rubin has written an engaging, eminently relatable chronicle of transformation.

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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 + Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life + The Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal: A Five-year Record
Price For All Three: 22.37

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Reprint edition (5 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006158326X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061583261
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 13.7 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm the author of "The Happiness Project," about the year I spend test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happy, to see what really worked. Happily, the book became a #1 New York Times and international bestseller. My newest book "Happier at Home", releases September 4, 2012.

On my blog,, I write about my daily adventures in happiness.

My previous books include a bestselling biography of Winston Churchill, "Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill," and one of John Kennedy, "Forty Ways to Look at JFK." My first book, "Power Money Fame S..: A User's Guide," is social criticism in the guise of a user's manual. "Profane Waste" was a collaboration with artist Dana Hoey. I've also written three dreadful novels that are safely locked away in a drawer.

Before turning to writing, I had a career in law. A graduate of Yale and Yale Law School, I clerked for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. I live in New York City with my husband and two young daughters.

Product Description


“An enlightening, laugh-aloud read. . . . Filled with open, honest glimpses into [Rubin’s] real life, woven together with constant doses of humor.” (Terry Hong, Christian Science Monitor)

“For those who generally loathe the self-help genre, Rubin’s book is a breath of peppermint-scented air. Well-researched and sharply written. . . . Rubin takes an orderly, methodical approach to forging her own path to a happier state of mind.” (Kim Crow, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“Practical and never preachy . . . the rare self-help tome that doesn’t feel shameful to read.” (Daily Beast)

“Packed with fascinating facts about the science of happiness and rich examples of how she improves her life through changes small and big The Happiness Project made me happier by just reading it.” (Amy Scribner, Bookpage)

From the Back Cover

Over one million copies sold.

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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings 8 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As the author herself readily admits, she is a regular woman - not beset by any outlandish challenges or misfortune - trying to be as happy as she can be. She has neither the opportunity nor inclination to do something extreme, like travel around the world or go live in a yurt in her backyard, so she has to make do with what is in front of her. So far, so good.

She decides to tackle her project in a very methodical way and sets herself a challenge for every month. This is where it gets a little exhausting. Gretchen Rubin puts herself through a seemingly unending list of tasks to find the happiness within, ranging from the sensible (clearing clutter) to the bizarre (randomly buying three new magazines every week and forcing herself to read them all). She ploughs through stacks of happiness literature and the book is sprinkled with various quotes and snippets from her research and her own "great truths". Though she never pretends to be writing a scientific work, the avalanche of random two line quotes is a bit underwhelming.

I do applaud her courage for showing a relatively unattractive side of herself and daring to question her own behaviour. I would have been interested to learn more about her career change from a lawyer to a writer, which is not something that's included in the book as it is something that happened before she wrote it.

In summary, am not as blown away as some reviewers seem to be but she makes a few useful discoveries along the way and encourages you to think about your own life, so it could be worth reading just for that.
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87 of 92 people found the following review helpful
By Max
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've enjoyed Gretchen Rubin's blog for many months now so was excited to hear about her book. And when I read it? Utterly brilliant. Really! The book is not just the blog printed out; it's a whole different thing.

She writes SO well, such a warm and engaging and personal style. (I'm tempted to read the biographies she'd written before this, even though I wouldn't normally read biographies, just because she writes so well.)

And the content? Fascinating! Trying out lots of things with an open mind, things that others say will make you happy and seeing what it's like.

I can't praise this book highly enough. It's the best book I've read for a long time, fiction or non-fiction. It made me happy just to read it!

And at the end of it? I'm thinking about what makes me happy and how I can try out some of her ideas for myself. And if a book changes how you think or behave, then it's a Very Good Book.

I do hope someone else discovers what a great book this is because of what I'm writing here. That would make me very happy too!
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66 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First step to happiness... read Rubin's Book 13 Feb 2010
I appear to have accidentally read this book in less than 24hrs...
Usually I attempt to savour a good book but Rubin's well balanced blend of personal experiences, relevant quotes from inspirational figures and applications of positive psychology research was too enjoyable to put down.

The Happiness Project - it may not cure cancer or single-handedly rescue you from the paralysis of depression but if you aspire to being more present and better able to savour the little moments of enjoyment that everyday life can reveal, then this book is definitely for you.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happiness Project 13 Feb 2010
Very well written, thought provoking, well researched, and full of positive and easily achievable ideas - it gives the impression of someone who is most caring, wishing for everyone to be as happy as they can be. Great website too.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Add a bit of sparkle to your life. 15 May 2010
By Kindle Customer VINE VOICE
This is not a guide for beating depression, but a great place to find ideas to bring a bit more happiness into your life. The author did not start off unhappy, but in that rut most of us get to from time to time. A great guide to reinvigorating your life and relationships, and adding a spring to your step. Not everything in this book will suit everyone, but there are enough ideas here to give everyone a good choice of ideas. A good book to keep by your bedside to go back to every now and then.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring! 29 Oct 2010
This is a lovely book, cannot fail to be inspiring, just implementing one or two of Gretchen's ideas has made a difference... Happier daughter, happier hubby, happier me... This book isn't a cure for anything but it's well worth a read.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Happiness Project 14 Feb 2010
The Happiness Project is a great book for anyone interested in being happy. Very well written, it has an attractive combination of profound insight and practical advice, together with real life anecdotes that make it an easy reading. The structure of monthly goals and resolutions is clear and full of good ideas. Wonderful website also.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly inspiring book..!!! 7 July 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I ordered this book because the title seemed really interesting and not only was I not disappointed, but I found it the most suitable book I could read during this period of my life. It is directed to all those people who are not depressed, but feel there is room for much more conscious happiness in their everyday life. It is very pleasant, the author has a unique writing style and she tackles a subject that at first sight seems very vague with a really structured and at the same time inspiring manner.
This book represents me so much that during most of the passages I felt it could be me writing it. I have already put into practise many of her ideas!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant inspirational book
Finally a 'self help' book that helped! Well written easy to read and very inspirational. Has already made a difference to my life
Published 1 month ago by PopsMum
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very thought provoking but slightly exhausting to read.
Published 1 month ago by Miss K S Long
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, thought-provoking and happy-making!
A brilliant book is you're looking to gain a little perspective and make your life happier all round.
Published 1 month ago by Miss Molly R Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic!
I loved this book primarily because the author is extremely realistic. She does not preach to the reader about what they should do, but offers suggestions, insights and quotes. Read more
Published 1 month ago by shishkebabin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Engaging, witty and uplifting
Published 1 month ago by Victoria Braithwaite
5.0 out of 5 stars "It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of...
On the one hand, Gretchen Rubin comes off as an irritating over-achiever. Why make one resolution when you could make twenty? Read more
Published 1 month ago by Gabby Singer
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to make you think and change your life
I have now read this book twice and am now on my third read. I have also recommended it to several friends who were struggling with life decisions. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jayne S Nicholas
4.0 out of 5 stars Pragmatic approach to happiness
I thought this book was great and have bought several copies for friends and family who I felt would appreciate the practical approach to finding your own unique ways to happiness... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Tooth Grinder
1.0 out of 5 stars Superficial
This author is of the opinion that happy people have more chance of getting married and staying married! She met her husband in a high school library, has 2. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sally Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars A really really thought provoking book
This book really made me look at things in a slightly different way and happier. I had it on my kindle but wanted the paperback to annotate and lend to people as it's such a great... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Miss Amy J. Thompson
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