The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
I think there are two kinds of people in this camp: those that have heard about this book, already read it, and enjoyed it; or those people who think it sounds eerily close to a self-help book and shy away. If you are in the skeptical group (which I typically am), it may seem a little out there, but trust me on this one. “A book about happiness? Wouldn’t that imply that I am categorically un-happy?” Well, not necessarily. Author Gretchen Rubin considered herself a pretty happy person, but in the hectic everyday, she began to wonder if there wasn’t something else she could be doing to make her life better. (Aside from vague slices of advice like “eat more vegetables,” “get more exercise,” and “be nice.” Those things aren’t exactly informative.) Rubin decides to devote each month to a different aspect of happiness, and catalogs her findings along the way, so now we can do the same!
So why did I include it in my list of books for creativity and confidence? Because I really enjoy the way Rubin systematically comes at an issue that might seem so obvious. I think there’s a little something for everyone – and in a relatively light-handed way. This is definitely not a book that says, “So you’re depressed, and want to be happy.” It’s more a book that teaches you how to fine-tune the mostly even keel you already have in life. There are lessons to be learned in her methods that could make your step a little lighter, your living space less cluttered (mentally and physically), and, well, you get the idea. One of my favorite slices from the book is taking your nagging to-do list and actually just DO everything on it. The stuff at the bottom that never actually gets crossed off when you write it down every single weekend. (Or is it just me that keeps writing it, like a sadist?) Things like cleaning out the closet, finally dropping off stuff at Good Will, replacing burned-out light bulbs, taking shoes to be repaired, etc. – we all have one of those lists, even if it’s just a mental list. Following along with what Rubin does in many of the chapters can finally free you up, mentally and physically, to do the creative things you’ve wanted to get to.
What do you think? Did you read The Happiness Project, what did you think?