This book is part memoir, part thinking person’s self-help book. And, being a thinking person myself, I loved it!
I also loved all the wise quotations that are included in the text. I appreciate that Gretchen Rubin has done a lot of research and reading, and how she distilled it all in her book, attempting to answer some vital questions.
I was particularly interested in the following:
- Is it possible to become a happier person?
- Is happiness a meaningful and worthwhile goal?
She comes to the conclusion that while we may have a happiness set point, and a great deal of our mood is determined by heredity (50% or so), to some degree it is under own control (perhaps 30%). As you can tell from my own blog, happiness is something that I feel every human being wants, and deserves. It is the goal that motivates much of my own day to day striving. And rather than suggesting a life of self-centered hedonism, research (and Rubin) indicate that the very factors that make for a meaningful life–good relationships, acting in a loving and generous way, engaging creatively with the world–contribute to happiness.
Another pressing questions I’ve always wanted to know was: Will revamping my life and taking a systematic approach to seeking happiness work?
Rubin’s research indicates that it may. “I really am happier,” she says after a year of following through on her own personal happiness plan. It really made me think that maybe I should start my own happiness project (similar to our 40 day joy journey.)
I am probably the perfect person to read this book because, while I’m not deeply depressed, I do feel that my happiness waivers more than I would like it to, especially after having a baby. (Rubin is clear that her intent is not to treat a medical condition, i.e., depression.)
I also like how generous she is about revealing the details of her own life–her own “happiness project.” We have a few things in common, we both get a little high when we organize our closet, we both love children literature, and we both are goal oriented (we like gold stars!) While I do not intend to do everything she did in her own happiness project –particular actions she decided to experiment with in order to become more happy– I do plan on designing steps to become happier, making monthly resolutions, carrying through and being accountable–and of course I will share them all here.
Rubin includes a specific guide for those who want to construct their own happiness plans, and also directs the reader to tools on her website –nice helpful touches. All in all, a terrific book.