Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I liked this book more than I thought I would. I kind of expected it to be a little more "spiritual," if you know what I mean. (Rubin made some references to that, herself, on occasion.) Instead, it was more organized and methodical, and made a lot of sense! (Not that I'm trying to say spirituality doesn't make sense, but it can be illogical, depending on how it's done.)

Anyway, I also really liked the concept. So much, in fact, that I decided to do a Happiness Project of my own! I'm going to keep a (very low-key) blog about it, which you can visit here, if you so desire.

But lest you start calling me Little Miss Pollyanna, I will say that although I loved the concept of the book, Rubin did occasionally bother me. Maybe it's because I was expecting the spiritual stuff, and instead I got constant waves of hard facts and evidence. Like, this book was the Niagara Falls of scientific evidence about happiness. And although it was often very interesting to learn what the studies said about happiness, there were occasions where I just couldn't help but start thinking threatening thoughts if I saw another sentence that started with "Studies show..." I guess I just feel like, although it can be interesting to learn about more ways to try to be happy, I'm not going to listen to some so-called "expert" tell me what's going to make me happy. Actually, I would consider myself the expert on my own happiness, thank you very much.

But Rubin herself admitted that the studies weren't always right and that ultimately she had to find her own way to happiness, so that was good. But it was just slightly annoying at times that she seemed so addicted to knowing (and sharing) what every single study has ever showed about happiness.

There were other things that annoyed me about Rubin (for instance, her compulsive list-keeping), but most of what I didn't like was just about her personality. I also couldn't help but be suspicious that she was just looking for the million-dollar book, and thought, "Everybody wants to be happy; why not write a book about  happiness? And of course, with the trend nowadays, I'll have to spend a year doing something..." But even though I'm still a little suspicious of her motives, I really do think she was sincere.

Annoyances aside, this was a lovely, inspiring book. I've been wanting to read it for quite some time, and I'm glad I finally did.

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