What I Read This Week – 11/8/12 – 11/14/12

14 Nov

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 by Gretchen Rubin

When people I’ve just met learn I love to read, the first question I usually get asked is, “What are you reading now?” Usually, I’m more than happy to share my choice, but this week I felt a bit awkward. If I tell someone I’m reading a book about how to be happier, will they think I’m incredibly sad now? Will they think I’m one of those lonely women who troll the self help section at the bookstore sobbing quietly into their unraveling cardigan sleeves?

Well, although I still might be slightly embarrassed to share this book with everyone I meet, I have to say The Happiness Project totally exceeded my expectations. I expected Gretchen Rubin to be one of those peppy, cheerleader types constantly urging you to be all rainbows and bunnies and HAPPY NOW! Instead, she sounds a lot like people I know — sometimes cranky and prone to snapping, somewhat over-scheduled, impatient and normal. She also has a perfectionist streak that is slightly terrifying, but at least she’s up front about it.

When she decides that meditation, though it may be a great pathway to happiness, just isn’t for her, I smiled. Now THIS is a woman after my own heart! She also backs up her happiness findings with actual research. This isn’t just her personal philosophy; there’s at least pseudo-science involved.

I did learn a lot about happiness from this book, and I had some of my prior beliefs confirmed (Don’t you love that when it happens?)

My favorites:

  • It’s important to be silly. The joy silliness brings isn’t just for you, it also rubs off on the people around you.
  • Act happy, and you’ll end up being happy (I’ve subscribed to this “Fake it til you make it” philosophy for years for a variety of different purposes, not just happiness. IT WORKS.)
  • Give something up. For example, Rubin always buys “fake food” from the corner store throughout her day, and the guilt of eating it outweighs the joy she gets from the food. So, she gives it up. Makes sense to me!
  • The days are long, but the years are short. ENJOY NOW. I need to work on this.
  • And my ultimate favorite: Make a list of your personal true rules. These are the principles that you know will make you happy. I love the idea of taking time to really ponder this idea. It seems like a great personal growth tool. Here are the few that I’ve been able to come up with while reading the book:

Mandy’s True Rules

  • Exercise every day.
  • Be charming.
  • Get dressed up.
  • Laugh. Be silly.
  • Go out of your way to give gifts and make phone calls.
  • If you’re torn between staying in and going dancing…go dancing.
  • Get it done.

For more information about this book and more happiness research, check out her website: http://happiness-project.com/.

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4 Responses to “What I Read This Week – 11/8/12 – 11/14/12”

  1. angie November 14, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    Adding this to my to-read list. Thanks for the rec!

  2. Laura Rowsell (@LauraRowsell) November 14, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    I stumbled upon the blog version of this one time, read LOADS of posts and got all into it, and then… Kind of forgot that I wanted to read the book. So THANKS for the reminder! And I’m glad it did things for you 🙂

  3. Katie Glenn November 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    I really enjoy reading and this sounds like one for my list!

  4. heykerryann November 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    I am always amazed at how much you read!

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