Tuesday, January 26, 2010

the happiness project

{the happiness project grouped with two other books that are making me happy right now: apples for jam and the grand central baking book}

I'm a pretty happy person, I think, but nevertheless, I'm so attracted to happiness research and happiness articles of all kinds--you know, things like the keys to happiness, what all happy people have in common, and that sort of thing. I do like to peek in on Gretchen Rubin's blog once in awhile, but I was particularly interested in her book, in which she details her year spent testing happiness theories both old and new. I preordered it and was thrilled when in arrived around the new year (good timing, don't you think?).

I love this book! I read it quickly through because it was so darn interesting, but fully intend to go back another time--soon--and really absorb some of the stuff she has in there. There is a lot--from historical perspectives on happiness up to modern day research--and it is all fascinating. But what is most fascinating to me is all the personal stuff Gretchen shares with us about her year of testing the happiness theories and her personal successes and challenges with it.

Some of the interesting things I relished:
::she talks about realizing that her daughter will probably enjoy what she has more and be happier with what she has if she, Gretchen, holds back and buys her less. (She gives a specific example about a book of optical illusions that her daughter was enjoying very much and realizing that it was best not to dilute the pleasure by buying more of the same types of books). This really resonated with me--as mothers we want to buy more of what our children like, but I think it is not for the best!
::Gretchen is super-honest in identifying some of her personal "flaws" or difficulties. I loved that! She talked about how very hard it is for her, in conversation, not to challenge, contradict, disprove, or "one-up" the person she is talking to. It was fascinating to me, because I am just the opposite. How interesting it was to hear the other perspective! She concludes, though, that it is better for her to avoid those tendencies and let the other person talk. Later, I was able to identify some of the negativity in my own talk and I am really working on eliminating it!
::she talks about eliminating "fake food" as one of her goals. I was fascinated by what she counted as "fake" and what she still feels okay with. For example, she eliminated foods in "crinkly packages" like pretzels and low-fat brownies, but kept Diet Coke and sprinkled her salads with artificial sweetner. I found that little contradiction delightfully human. I'd say her "down to earthness" is what makes this book so special.

I loved Gretchin's system of checklists and resolutions charts that she used to organize her project. I want to plan a similar project for myself (as she encourages us all to do) starting in March, after I get my resolutions and charts together. These ideas, and some others, will be on my lists.

Have you read the book? I'd love to hear how you liked it.

Oh, and also? Making me happy right now: my i-photo program is fixed and all my photos have been recovered. Hooray! Thanks to the lovely Apple phone support.

11 comments:

Melissa Goodsell said...

Thanks so much for the book review - I think I might order myself a copy of this.

Theo-Ann said...

I've never read the book, but it sounds interesting. I think there is a book so much better that gives the best direction for real joy--happiness fades over and over again. Sometimes we go searching for happiness in things, and it doesn't last. True Joy comes from God. I spend my time reading the Bible, because in it are the best "tried and true" ways of living on this earth! I recommend it.:)

Jennifer said...

Sounds like a really interesting book, I'll have to try to track down a copy.
theprairiegirl.com

likeschocolate said...

Yeah! I am glad you got your phone fixed. Have a veryhappy day!

Heather said...

I have 'Positivity'(by Barbara Fredrickson) out of the library right now and sounds like it might be similar to your current read.

Wish I could tell you more about it, but I'm reading a few other library books right now and haven't started it yet. ~H

Tonya said...

I should probably get my hands on a copy of that book. I try to be a positive, happy person, but would love to hear someone elses thoughts and perspective. Thanks for sharing!

Jessica said...

I haven't read this book but reading what you said -I need to get it on hold at the library immediately!

booksandbakes said...

What an interesting book! And a great review too.

Loving your happy blog,
Rosie of BooksAndBakes

plantmyappletree said...

Just wanted to drop by to say that it is entirely your fault that I bought this book ;-)

THANKS!

I am half way through it and I like the way she approached her 'project' and the one or other chapter is really an inspiration for more thoughtfulness in everyday's life.

Looking forward to more inspiring reviews :-)

plantmyappletree said...

Just wanted to drop by to say that it is entirely your fault that I bought this book ;-)

THANKS!

I am half way through it and I like the way she approached her 'project' and the one or other chapter is really an inspiration for more thoughtfulness in everyday's life.

Looking forward to more inspiring reviews :-)

Mary Beth said...

I am so glad you like it, plantmyappletree! I love it too and am planning on re-reading it soon, more slowly this time.