Book Review | The Happiness Project

(Don’t forget about the Giveaway!!!!)
The reading of the Happiness Project came at the perfect time for me. If you remember, this spring has been a hard one for me.
Well, this book was actually suggested by Bonnie from Life of Bon on one of her book review posts. I decided to give it a shot and I absolutely loved this book!
Gretchen Rubin was not depressed, no. She was very happy and content with her life: her family, her job, her friends. But, one day, coming home on the subway, she realized she could be happier still. So, she decided to research happiness and make a year long project of being happy.
She had a goal for each month:
*Vitality-Boost Energy
*Marriage-Remember Love
*Work-Aim Higher
*Parenthood-Lighten Up
*Leisure-Be Serious About Play
*Friendship-Make Time for Friends
*July-Buy Some Happiness
*Eternity-Contemplate the Heavens
*Books-Pursue a Passions
*Mindfulness-Pay Attention
*Attitude-Keep a Contented Heart
*Happiness-Boot Camp Perfect
She also came up with Commandments for Gretchen, mantras she wanted to live by. The book goes month by month describing what she did and what she went through: the books she researched, people she emulated, goals and challenges, failures and successes. That is one thing I really loved about the book–she wasn’t afraid to show her failures. She expected a lot of herself and sometimes bit off more than she could chew. But the biggest part was that she was relate-able. 
First of all, she loves history–she writes historical biographies as her job! She enjoys research–whether it’s for her Churchill biography, or researching Plato and St. Therese for her Happiness Project, or reading philosophies on child raising. Research is one of my favorite things, as well. For my history capstone, we had to write a 25 page research paper heavily based on primary sources. I will tell you my title and then you decide whether or not I had fun with this project: “The Mab Darogan: The
Use of Medieval Welsh Prophetic Poetry as Propaganda During the 13th – 15th
Century Rebellions.” (Hint: I absolutely loved my research on this–a combination of medieval literature and history and mythology!) 
Gretchen is also very type A personality, as am I. A lot of her views on life I share. 
But not only was I personally relate-able, she makes sure to say that everyone is different and everyone’s Happiness Project is different. What she likes may not be what everyone else likes, and there are quite a few things she wishes she was better at or enjoyed more, but realizes and knows she doesn’t and won’t. 
Her writing is also very uplifting and easy to read. That was the best part–even when she was talking about her own experiences and her family, her writing is just engaging to read, probably the most engaging non-fiction I have ever read. 
The best part, though, was just the happy feeling I got while reading it. I haven’t started my own happiness project, nor have I really changed anything about myself. No, it isn’t scripture either, but I still received an enlightened, peaceful feeling while reading the book. It is very inspiring. Because of it, I’m a little more grateful everyday, I try to have a better attitude every day (because there is no reason not to), try to look more for the good, be more friendly, and try to put myself out there more. It also helps with what I learned this Sunday. I am a nursery leader in my congregation, which means that I play with and teach toddlers ages 15 months to 3 years old. Our lesson this Sunday was on a very simplified example of charitable service (love towards others) by smiling. Smiling is contagious, so we taught that if we see someone that is sad, to show them a smile. We practiced turning our frowns upside-down to smiles. This concept is not only for toddlers, but grown adults as well. It actually takes more muscles in your body to frown, then it does to smile. So, all we need to do most times is just to smile. Gretchen even mentions that one of her commandments of her Happiness Project was to “Act the Way I Want to Feel.” What an epiphany. If you smile, you will begin to feel more at peace and happier. It really is true, take one of my very first posts for example.
Bottom point: It is always possible to be happier. Make time for friends, family, your own passions, being healthy, working and playing, and introspection and religion. Those are the key to happiness. 
I definitely, definitely suggest this book to anyone because as Gretchen believes, you can always be happier =)
Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • I've seen Bon's post(s) on this book and it's been added to my reading list!!