Top positive review
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GOLD STARS FOR GRETCHEN RUBIN
on 11 October 2012
I don't read self help books and I don't have a particular obsession with happiness, but when I was given, as a gift, Rubin's first happiness book, the "Happiness Project", I found it very interesting and captivating, so I got this book as well.
Rubin once again explores different ideas about happiness, by first researching both scientific studies, philosophical ideas, and discussing with people what makes them happy, and then by trying these theories herself. I think that what makes Rubin's work special is that she doesn't issue directions and affirmations from her high horse, but makes herself the guinea pig of her own experiment. Like she did with the "Happiness Project", she assigns each month to a specific area of happiness. This time she focuses on ways to be happier at home and her project lasts for a school year, from September to May.
Even though my lifestyle is very different from Rubin's, and probably our only thing in common is our love for reading, I still loved the book. It is written with honesty, a sense of humour, and a great understanding of human nature. Also, Rubin is not afraid to admit what doesn't work for her; I know that for some people it is hard to believe, but meditation or acupuncture don't work for everyone, and I am so glad that I found someone to agree with me. You don't actually have to have anything in common with Rubin to appreciate or even benefit from this book, because it is not a handbook for the reader to imitate her lifestyle and her kind of happiness. Her most important rule is to be yourself and discover what makes you happy. With her books, she provides the tools, the knowledge, encouragement and inspiration, and then it is up to the readers to create their individual Happiness Projects.
I know that some people found that this book hasn't anything new to add, but I disagree. Indeed Gretchen Rubin is still the same Gretchen Rubin, the method she uses is the same, and her understanding of happiness hasn't changed, but that is not the point. In this book she explores new ideas and discoveries, she delves even deeper into her pursuit, and even some of her old themes and ideas are now evolved. Also, I found her writing even more relaxed and personal; reading the book almost feels like discussing happiness with a friend. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed the "Happiness Project", having said that, if you haven't read 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, I think you should start from that first book.