Re-Read Review: The Happiness Project

February 5, 2018 Uncategorized 12

Re-Read Review: The Happiness ProjectTitle: The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun
Author: Gretchen Rubin

Summary: I enjoyed this as much as on my first read – an inspiring look at what it means to be happier, based on a mix of personal experience and research.

I first read The Happiness Project in 2011. I remember so exactly because this book is the reason I started blogging. As part of her quest to become happier, author Gretchen Rubin spent a week trying to engage with new topics by reading several magazines on random topics each week. That inspired me to start my attempt to read one book per Dewey Decimal number. She also started a blog, which is what gave me the idea to track my reading this way. I don’t do much re-reading, but I wanted to revisit this book that got me started on my blog and as a self-help type book it seemed like a good pick for my first read of 2018 – although it’s obviously taken me a little longer to review!

For the first chapter of this book, I found the writing too casual and conversational. I was afraid the whole thing was going to be more poorly written than I remembered. Fortunately, the writing got more polished as the book went along. The contents were a mix of science-based ideas for being happier and the author’s own ideas and experiences. This is a structure I’ve always enjoyed in self-help books. I find it fun and inspiring to read books like this and consider whether anything the author tried would work for me. It can be very useful for evaluating whether I’m where I want to be in my life; thinking about what’s important to me; and deciding whether there’s anything I could be doing better.

Something I did notice with a more critical eye this time was the number of lists the author made – personal commandments, monthly themes, and at least one or two others. Although some of these lists, like the monthly themes, provided a useful structure, others lists seemed arbitrary and unconnected to the way she pursued her project. Overall though, I enjoyed hearing about her project as much as I did on the first read and I was pleased to see that my four star rating matched the rating I gave the book the first time through.

12 Responses to “Re-Read Review: The Happiness Project”

  1. iliana

    I don’t read a lot of “self-help” books but I remember wanting to read this one when it first came out. Glad it you enjoyed it the second-time around and thanks for sharing about how it was the inspiration that got you to start blogging!
    iliana recently posted…Currently ReadingMy Profile

    • DoingDewey

      I don’t read self-help a lot, but sometimes I’ll go on a spree. It’s not always at the beginning of the year, just whenever I feel a desire to make progress somehow. It was nice that it held up so well, especially since I think I will always be fond of it for starting me blogging 🙂
      DoingDewey recently posted…The Southern Reach Trilogy: A Series ReviewMy Profile

    • DoingDewey

      That’s definitely part of why I don’t re-read more too! That and the fact that I constantly have more new books I want to read 🙂

  2. Carrie @ Other Women's Stories

    How interesting that this the book that encouraged you to begin blogging. I began in 2012, when a friend said, “Why not just do it? Don’t wait. Just do it now.” And I created my blog that day.

    I, too, have read this one twice, and for me it lost a little in the re-read. I still liked it, but I didn’t get nearly as much out of it the second time. Maybe I’d grown too much since the first read through.

    • DoingDewey

      You know, I hadn’t really thought about whether I got more or less out of it this time. I enjoyed it equally well both times, but I wouldn’t say I made big changes to my life either time, with the exception of starting blogging – obviously a big exception 🙂 Somehow I don’t like it any less for not inspiring much daily change in my life though. I really enjoy it just for making me think.

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