I first came across The Happiness Project when I was at the airport in Atlanta last September. The title, 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, and the bright blue cover caught my eye. I added it to my book list, but I didn’t buy it at the time because I already had quite a few books on my list . But I knew I really wanted to read it at some point.
About two months ago, a dear friend of mine, who had just lost his mother to sickle cell anemia, told me that he had a book that he wanted me to read. He enjoyed reading it and he thought it was perfect for me. I was pleasantly surprised when I received a package in the mail the following week. Inside was The Happiness Project. He hadn’t mentioned the title when we spoke on the phone, and he had no idea that I had it on my book list. Isn’t it interesting how those things work out?
The Happiness Project is my favorite pick for the summer. It details author Gretchen Rubin’s one year journey to find ordinary ways to live a happier life. One of the things I love about the book, besides the insightful, engaging writing, is Rubin’s practical approach. In the midst of her busy life in New York City, Rubin realizes one day that although she lives an overall satisfying life, she can do more to feel happier.
Instead of taking a big leap that we might think of as a way to “finding happiness”, like leaving a job, or traveling abroad, she incorporates small, practical things into everyday life. I love this approach, because I too believe small steps can lead to a big change.
Rubin’s writing is filled with interesting research on happiness, along with witty, entertaining comments about her own experience. She manages to describe her happiness project in a way that makes you feel as though you are a part of her journey. She breaks the project into twelve months, assigning a happiness goal for each month, and the lesson that she learned from applying each goal. She creates a “happiness chart” to document her progress along the way.
I found The Happiness Project to be both inspiring and uplifting, just as my friend had promised. And it came when I needed it. It was a much needed reminder of how being grateful, pursuing passions and making a conscious effort to shift our perspective can contribute to a happier, more fulfilling life.
I intend to read The Happiness Project again. And I’ve never read the same book twice! I think it will be one that I keep on my bedside table, and refer to time and time again. I hope you’ll have a chance to read it sometime too.
What’s your favorite read this summer? Please share!