Read Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life by Gretchen Rubin Online


In the spirit of her blockbuster #1 New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin embarks on a new project to make home a happier place. One Sunday afternoon, as she unloaded the dishwasher, Gretchen Rubin felt hit by a wave of homesickness. Homesick—why? She was standing right in her own kitchen. She felt homesick, she realized, with love for home itselfIn the spirit of her blockbuster #1 New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin embarks on a new project to make home a happier place. One Sunday afternoon, as she unloaded the dishwasher, Gretchen Rubin felt hit by a wave of homesickness. Homesick—why? She was standing right in her own kitchen. She felt homesick, she realized, with love for home itself. “Of all the elements of a happy life,” she thought, “my home is the most important.” In a flash, she decided to undertake a new happiness project, and this time, to focus on home.And what did she want from her home? A place that calmed her, and energized her. A place that, by making her feel safe, would free her to take risks. Also, while Rubin wanted to be happier at home, she wanted to appreciate how much happiness was there already. So, starting in September (the new January), Rubin dedicated a school year—September through May—to making her home a place of greater simplicity, comfort, and love.  In The Happiness Project, she worked out general theories of happiness. Here she goes deeper on factors that matter for home, such as possessions, marriage, time, and parenthood. How can she control the cubicle in her pocket? How might she spotlight her family’s treasured possessions? And it really was time to replace that dud toaster. Each month, Rubin tackles a different theme as she experiments with concrete, manageable resolutions—and this time, she coaxes her family to try some resolutions, as well.  With her signature blend of memoir, science, philosophy, and experimentation, Rubin’s passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading just a few chapters of this book will inspire readers to find more happiness in their own lives. ...

Title : Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780307886781
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 273 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life Reviews

  • Karla Starr
    2019-04-17 14:04

    Long story short, ugh. I loved The Happiness Project so much that I became a superfan, and wanted to read all I could about Gretchen Rubin. A NY Times article, "On Top of the Happiness Racket" (and a New Yorker Talk of the Town piece) about her revealed how much about her home life she'd kept from the readers: she lives in a triplex in the Upper East Side, and husband Jamie is "a senior partner at BC Partners, a hedge fund. Nor does she mention that her father-in-law, known to readers as the sage, affable “Bob,” is known to the world as Robert Rubin, the former Treasury secretary, who stepped down last year as an adviser to Citigroup." So she's a millionaire! Why does this matter? Because most of the things that affect my daily happiness at home don't even register as a blip on her radar. Money is only mentioned when she mentions the expensive family portraits she ordered for the holidays. Rubin never mentions it, but I also got the impression that her family is fortunate enough to hire housekeeping help, since the only chores and home maintenance she mentions are activities like tidying up all of her books, organizing trinkets, making photo albums, painting the home office. Before I can even think of "building a shrine," I have to do mundane activities like... chores. Doing those things daily greatly affects my happiness. Rubin's friends don't discuss having to make sacrifices, they discuss truffle oil gone bad. Her memoir-only based approach failed for me because Rubin's experience as a millionaire on the Upper East Side means that she is literally living in a different world than I am. She comes across as being very controlling and achievement-obsessed; no insights for those of us who have a more relaxed attitude towards life. As a caveat, Rubin has done a great job of curating research, lists and quotes that are relevant, timeless and helpful. A few of these are scattered in the book, but the bulk of the great advice is on her website.

  • Lindsaygail
    2019-04-22 14:51

    I've read The Happiness Project several times now, and I always take away something more from it than I did in previous readings, so I was very excited to read Happier at Home. I was not disappointed. I love how Rubin finds ways to enjoy her life more without changing her life dramatically. And, being a homebody myself, I loved the focus of this book on making ordinary living more enjoyable and fulfilling by appreciating what you already have and working to make the home a happy place. I think that the ways we live our day-to-day lives and how we choose to spend our time are some of the most fascinating and important topics we can think about. Rubin obviously agrees with me, so I suppose it's natural that I enjoy her writing so much.When I read the reviewers who object to Rubin's qualification to write about these things since she has such a good life already ("privileged" is the word I see over and over) I feel like they're missing the point. Everyone has problems. Everybody needs to learn how to enjoy the life they have if they're going to be happy. The fact that Rubin has the assets that she has doesn't change the fact that she has valid things to say on these subjects, in my opinion. And what other readers saw as "smugness" I just saw as a woman demonstrating how she takes her own advice and appreciates her own blessings. I hope to be able to learn to do the same by putting some of her ideas into practice. I'm sure I'll be re-reading this one a few times as well.

  • Jamie
    2019-04-13 14:53

    I wanted to like this book. It actually makes me a little sad that I really don't. I found that this book is so close to being a carbon copy of The Happiness Project that I had a "haven't I read this before?" sensation throughout. I haven't read her blog regularly in ages, and I haven't read her other book in quite a while, but still I have the feeling--repeatedly--that I've read this before.Many of the resolutions the author picked are the same or nearly the same as her previous resolutions. With similar results. Some of the resolutions she spends forever building up to, and then only a paragraph explaining what actually happened.I hate to say it but the more she writes about her personality, the less likeable I find her. WAY less likeable. She dislikes errands, talking on the phone, traveling, doing anything adventurous. Although I appreciate her frankness in squarely addressing her personality weaknesses, she does come across as a bit of a pill. There is a rather self-righteous martyr-like tone to some parts of the book, like when she celebrates minor holidays even though they mean errands and effort, both of which she dislikes tremendously. (Poor her!) Then other parts of the book are rather obvious, like asking her children to knock on her door...why don't they do that already?It is obvious that I found the book underwhelming. The overall feeling I have about this book is disappointment. And sadness that I am disappointed, because I really liked The Happiness Project.

  • Amy
    2019-04-24 14:00

    One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from a Dorothy Parker book review: "Some books are meant to be tossed aside lightly, and others to be hurled violently." I did not have great expectations when my turn came up to read this book from the library reserve list. I was more than mildly irritated by her first book, but since the topic is interesting to me, I decided it would be worthwhile to read the second. As expected, this is a gumbo of over-thinking, statements of the obvious, passive aggressiveness toward her disconnected spouse, and at the center of it all, of it ALL, the author, whose happiness or striving towards trumps everything. I would be interested to read a book about the same subject written by the husband; I think it would be a far different point of view. At best, he seems irritated that his wife chucked a law career for navel-gazing and relentless self-promotion. At worst, he seems profoundly irritated with her. I genuinely felt sorry for her when one of her resolutions was to arrange an adventure just for the two of them each month, and he not-so-gently turned her down, stating that it would be a hassle and that he was too busy. Yikes.Anyway, she has a full plate with her constant introspection, rethinking, and crowdsourcing ideas for how to be happy (did she have *any* original thoughts in this book? Most of what she tries is gleaned from 'research' or looking over the shoulders of friends and fans who are just living their lives without analyzing). She has a devoted following on her blog, her Twitter, her Facebook, her Instagram, her Tumblr, and her Pinterest. One hopes she can cultivate at least as devoted a following in her own home, and perhaps then she will achieve the aim of the book.

  • Starr
    2019-04-11 15:14

    Dear Gretchen,I read your book. I almost threw my Kindle up against the wall while reading your story. Reasons? Let me count the ways.1) You don't like a lot of things, even though you have access to almost any experience ever possible due to your wealth. You hate or fear travel, food, driving, relinquishing control. No wonder you're seeking happiness. You want for nothing, and therefore, you don't really want anything. Except to control everything, of course.2) You're really good at telling people that their own ways of seeking happiness don't work. 3) Your Type A controlling nature takes the joy out of just about anything, including the reader's experience.4) You compare yourself to Thoreau. He, you shall never be.Please don't write a followup. Drop it. You have an easy life. Relish it.Sincerely,Someone grateful to have finished your second (and unnecessary) book without breaking my e-reader. P.S. Maybe you could invent time travel and go back and stop yourself from publishing your sequel, which is regurgitated "Happiness Project" anyway. I liked you more before.

  • Kasey Jueds
    2019-04-06 12:47

    Honestly, I felt cranky about this book before I started it. I had just finished reading an Amazon review that's largely about how rich Gretchen Rubin is (husband is a partner is a hedge fund, they own a big apartment in upper Manhattan, etc. etc.). The reviewer was annoyed by this, and, weirdly and surprisingly, I was too. Why? She has just as much of a right to write a book about happiness as anyone else does, I know. I think it's because Rubin never, ever acknowledges how more-than-comfortably-off she and her family are. She does write about money (and lots of what she writes seems very astute), but she doesn't ever admit to not having the problem with money that most of the world's population does have, i.e. not having enough of it. She writes about having quit her law job in order to write full-time--and it's not that I don't applaud this, but she never says anything about how much easier this sort of move is when you have a husband with a lucrative job, a husband who can support you and your two children while you make a major career change. And this secretiveness about her family's socio-economic status feels disingenuous to me. Of course it's possible that her editor told her not to include any information about her family's income... but it made me annoyed with Rubin, and made me look back on The Happiness Project, which I loved, in a less trusting, less favorable light.But then I started to read, and I forgave Gretchen Rubin almost immediately. She really has that sort of voice--she writes like someone I'd love to have coffee with. She's self-deprecating, funny, well-read, and thoughtful. She's quite honest about other not especially attractive aspects of her life/personality; she writes about how often she snaps at her kids and makes "mean faces," how often she criticizes (if only internally) and nags her husband. Her prose is so easy to read, and at the same time it's laced with fascinating ideas culled from science, philosophy, and literature.This book is a bit repetitive, and feels a bit thin compared to The Happiness Project--hence the four stars. But, to be fair, lots of the info that gets repeated is helpful and important and deserving of repetition. "Be Gretchen," for example, which Rubin repeats over and over, is really the cornerstone of this book: the idea that so much happiness lies in truly being ourselves... and how surprisingly difficult it is to do that. In terms of practical advice, I loved the sections about reading the manual, creating shrines, paying attention to what you love. Rubin's example of the latter is art... she writes about how she always felt she SHOULD love art more, and then finally figured out there is a genre of art she loves naturally, without trying--miniatures. Once she focuses on what she genuinely enjoys, projects and good energy follow with ease. This is great advice. As are her discussions about being a tourist in your own town, enjoying good smells... I could go on and on. I'm happy to be able to write such a happy review of this book, instead of the cranky one I was planning on.

  • Gabrielle W.
    2019-04-02 20:10

    I really didn't like this book. At times it was OK and I liked it, but most of the time (most of what I read) is common sense or something I already knew (i.e. don't hang onto possessions that don't make you happy. Don't roll your eyes. Under react to a problem. etc.) A lot of her realizations, I already knew about and I'm only 22....She goes into dramatic details on things that don't need that much explaining. There are time in the book where she'll make her point and then tell you a story about a conversation that she had with someone and that conversation is like re-reading the first part of that chapter. She talks about herself a lot in a way that makes her sound high and mighty.I feel like the author, by her details (and lack of details) that she much be rich, or at least well off.... She comes across as being very achievement-obsessed; no insights for those of us who have a more relaxed attitude towards life...She also quotes A LOT of other books in this book. Pages 265 to 273 are books she recommends. Honestly, if you skip to page 263, "The Eight Splendid Truths", that one page, listing eight things, sums up the book. The book was a easy read, I guess, but as I said, she goes into such details on trivial things...the book really could of been half the size (instead of 263 pages, it could of easily of been 130).To sum up my review, I feel like she didn't give any original thoughts to this book. Most of what she uses, the ideas and quotes, come from other books...Too much recycled material and too much self-promotion...I was never excited to pick up and read this book, though it's written in a way that makes it an easy read, it just wasn't that good...I didn't read the "first book", "The Happiness Project," but she references it, A LOT, and the feeling I get from this book is that they probably are extremely similar. I was given this book through WaterBrook Multnomah publishing.Please rate my review.

  • Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)
    2019-04-26 17:01

    Having read both of Gretchen Rubin's happiness project books, I get the impression that she's a fragile and snappish person. She means well, but she falls short of some self-appointed ideal pretty often, then punishes herself for it with mantras and rules. Mostly, I read this with an air of detached fascination, imagining a frazzled, Type A, controlling woman running around Manhattan making elaborate sets of laws for herself to follow. Not a behavior or impulse goes unexamined. Wouldn't it be easier to pursue happiness in a calmer, less rigid way? Rubin would tell me, "Easier for YOU, maybe, but one of my ninety-five Splendid Truths and Secrets of Adulthood tells me it's easier for me to live my life Being Gretchen, and Gretchen finds it freeing and satisfying to live every second within a para-military framework."Though I was able to glean bits of wisdom from her efforts to make a cozier nest for herself and her family, for the most part this felt like reading someone's blog. Which makes sense, since it's clear she derived a lot of the chapters from experiments she wrote about on the blog, and the reactions bloggers provided to those experiments. The ideas in this book didn't penetrate that deeply and the experiences were not universal -- they were more "memoir light" ("This is how I felt, so this is what I did. And then on to the next thing.") It felt like the fulfillment of a two-book contract.Mostly, as I read this, I found myself wondering how her particular approach to happiness could resound with as many people as it does. I guess Type A people like to go about life this way, with a ton of structure. My reaction is proof positive that I'm Type B. I have only a few rules for living:- Do less- Be kind- Get outside- Write daily - Prioritize sleep- Exercise- Get rid of your *&%$ iPad and Candy CrushCue the Pharrel Williams soundtrack.Anyway, thanks to my local neighborhood Little Free Library for this book, which was an ARC. I am happier at home whenever I see a Little Free Library. Long live community spirit!

  • Shilpa
    2019-04-04 18:07

    Loved this book. You have to read it for yourself...but here are the top things I learnt. (You can also access this on my blog: EN PLACE, French for "everything in its place". Mise en place is preparation, but it's also a state of mind. Nothing is more satisfying than working easily and well. Having more order in my cabinets & closets made me feel as though I had more time in my day. There's a surgeon's pleasure that comes from sheer order, from putting an object back in its precise place. A source of clutter in my apartment, and worse in my mind, was the uncomfortable presence of unfinished projects. Clearing clutter would eliminate 40% of housework.CHEERFULNESS IS CONTAGIOUS, and crabbiness is even more contagious.If I make positive statements, I may help persuade myself and other people to take a positive view of things One lives in the naive notion that later there will be more room than in the entire past.~E Canetti, The Human Province.FIND YOUR OWN "BUILT-IN HAPPINESS"Enter into the interests of others (within reason) Over and over I found that if I acted lighthearted, I'd feel more lighthearted One of the most effective ways to help myself underreact, I knew, was to joke about it."It isn't enough to love we must prove it" ~ Saint Theresa of LisieuxHappier people tend to live in happier atmospheres than do less happy people ACT THE WAY YOU WANT TO FEELIn every area of my life I dislike the feelings of unfamiliarity or uncertainty. I love mastery.We feel and act about certain things that are ours very much the way we feel and act about ourselves By "undereacting to problems" & acting in a serene & unflappable way, I help myself cultivate a calm attitude.If I make positive statements, I may help persuade myself and other people to take a positive view of things If I want to feel more energetic, I walk faster. If I want to feel less anxious, I act carefree. When I felt hurried and distracted, I behaved worse.ROUTINE - isn't necessarily a bad thing A small daily task, if it be really daily will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules. The pleasure of doing the same thing, in the same way, every day, shouldn't be overlooked.LAST THOUGHTS Happiness is not having less, happiness is not having more, happiness is wanting what I have.

  • Alison
    2019-04-03 13:14

    Oof... I could not get into this book; a shame since I liked the first one. This one felt repetitious (from the first book) and *much* less scientific. It felt more like Gretchen's opinions about things and ideas of what she wanted to tackle -- without solid indication of a base in research about why she chose the topics that she did; it seemed like she just said "okay, I'm going to do these nine things!" -- not particularly convincing to me. To be fair, I only read up to the middle of the first chapter. I found that I really just didn't care about her family or her life; I wanted information about happiness, in general. I flipped through the rest of the book, and it seemed basically like tales of her family -- I really wasn't interested in any of that.I have to admit that I was turned off by this conversation of hers that she wrote about at the end of the intro, which reads:"...another mother and I struck up a conversation about our work ... I mentioned a few of my planned resolutions. My new acquaintance said doubtfully, 'You make happiness sound like a lot of effort. I study Buddhism, and meditation has changed my life. Do you meditate?'I was a bit touchy about my failure to try meditation. Did the fact that I couldn't bring myself to try it even once mean that I was utterly soulless? 'Umm, actually, no', I admitted.'You should - it's essential. I go crazy if I don't meditate for at least 30 minutes each day.'Uncertain as to whether this declaration was the sign of a well-regulated mind or just the opposite, I replied, 'Well, my way is to concentrate more on changing my actions than on changing my mental state.''I think you'll find that cultivating inner calm is much more important than worrying about accomplishing a lot of little tasks. You really must meditate if you're going to say anything about happiness.''Hmm', I answered, trying to sound noncommittal. Then, perhaps too pointedly, I remarked, 'I often remind myself that just because something makes me happy doesn't mean it makes other people happy, and vice versa.' (the fact is, I can become a bit belligerent on the subject of happines."My comment:There is a lot of research on meditation and well-being, and just choosing to ignore that whole area is a turn-off to me. Why not do more research on it and try it before just saying that a book on happiness doesn't need it just because "things that make other people happy, don't necessarily make me happy". This feels a lot like a child who says "I hate broccoli!" without having tried it at all.This part: "I was a bit touchy about my failure to try meditation. Did the fact that I couldn't bring myself to try it even once mean that I was utterly soulless?" also made me think that she was coming up with strange reasons not to... being soulless, really? No, what's more important here is that she was being close-minded... and she's writing a book about happiness... doesn't that seem a little off? Especially since there is so much literature out there about mindfulness and meditation. Just because you "can't bring yourself to do something" doesn't mean that you wouldn't get value out of it. And, catastrophizing by saying "I must be soulless" seemed like a huge cop-out. Sure, I realize that she says to "Be Gretchen" as her first commandment, but I think there's a difference between being who you are and being close-minded and ignoring a ton of research evidence before giving a final word on it and saying you don't like something. Unless, of course, being close-minded and ignoring important background research when you write a book on a subject is the "Being Gretchen" she wishes to cultivate.Or, I suppose, unless it's a ploy so that she can write her next book about meditation and happiness. Finally, if you want a better book on how to cultivate happiness (more science than memoir, but the writing doesn't feel hugely intellectual), try "The How of Happiness - A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want" by Sonja Lyubomirsky. It's a little hokey at times, but nothing compared to this! It also is steeped in psychological research and allows you to tailor a program for yourself based on the aspects of happiness that come naturally to you. As I mentioned before, I also liked the first Happiness book by Gretchen Rubin -- there was a ton of psychological research in it, so it felt less like "I just am going to write about my tales of happiness".

  • Jennifer
    2019-04-24 17:57

    When I read complaints about Gretchen Rubin's original Happiness Project or her new Happier at Home, they center around her having an ideal or enchanted life. In some ways, this is true. She is not writing about finding happiness amidst financial or marital struggles. She is not trying to be happy in a career or location she hates. She is not trying to overcome major adversities in her life. However, she is not giving advice to people in those situations.She is writing to those, like her, who know they have good lives, and want to feel it - people who find themselves grumbling about minor inconveniences or find their moods determined by perceived slights and difficulties, and know they should be happier than they currently feel.Taken for what it is, Happier at Home is an engaging book. I found Rubin much easier to relate to in this book than the last. She is still a determined Type A, but she seems a bit more vulnerable, more real, more likable. Her life is unlike my own, yet I appreciated reading about her efforts at enjoying the here and now, savoring these moments, not rushing to the next or romanticizing the past. Even if her methods do not appeal to me, her goal does.

  • Julie Bestry
    2019-04-03 18:54

    Everyone in my profession loved Gretchen Rubin's first book, The Happiness Project, so I felt a little cowed by the enthusiasm and never reviewed it for fear of stepping on any toes. The first book was well-written, exceptionally well-researched, charming after a fashion, and so self-indulgent that I found myself talking back to the book as if I were talking to the characters in a TV show. The book made me feel, in the vernacular, very "Grrrarrr!"So, maybe Rubin's become a better writer, but more likely, I'm in a better place than I was in 2009 (my own personal annus horribilis). Back then, with health troubles, I found Rubin's complaints to be petty. Likely, I was also envious of her success -- professional, personal and in achieving an ineffable sense of being in a "good place." It's not a pretty thing to admit, but I'm not sure anyone's reading these reviews. :-) But, for whatever reason, I now find Rubin, her husband, her children, her little projects and even her foibles to be more endearing and less precious. I read the book straight through, without skipping and without adding snarky editorial comments. I read a library copy; I can see buying my own and rereading this again and again. I imagine starting similar projects with my own take on things.The thing about Happier at Home, like The Happiness Project, is that while you can read it as a self-help book, you need not do so. It's also a bit of light memoir, philosophy, psychology and skilled reportage. If you have no desire for self-improvement but generally enjoy non-fiction, there's something here for you. The cheery (but not Pollyanna-ish) tone is uplifting, the peppering of famous (and not so famous) quotes is instructive, and I found myself Googling to learn more about a plethora of fascinating topics Rubin raised. (And now, I want to read her books about JFK and Churchill!)I've already resolved to reread the first book, as I think being in a better, healthier frame of mind may give me a new perspective on Rubin and her writing. I somehow feel like I should buy her a mini-cupcake or Tasti D-Lite as an apology for having not appreciated her before.

  • Judy
    2019-04-22 15:12

    Honestly, I have no idea how to rate this book. If books had paternity this one would have Memoir parents and a Self-help grandparent in the lineage. The strange thing about this book was it didn't work for me as either a self-help book or a memoir, but yet I am supremely glad I read it for the helpful reminders and tidbits of wisdom sprinkled throughout. On one hand some of Rubin's discoveries about herself, people and the code that she lives resonated with me. For example, her reminder that we are happiest when we are growing meant a lot to me. Also, I could have blessed her for her understanding that opposites can be true at different times. For example, at some times we need to be more organized, but at other times we need to back off. I appreciated her embracing the fact that things aren't always black and white and easy like so many self-help books want their readers to accept. I don't agree with her frequent resolution making, but I agree wholeheartedly with her reminder that we can only change ourselves and not to try to change others. This is how most of the book went for me, hmmm I don't agree with that, but hey! that is a great idea. So, back and forth it went, but at the end I have to say I am glad I read it.However, the whole time I listened to this book, something niggled at me that I could never put my finger on. I'm not sure if it is the suspicion that this whole year of "Happier at Home" was done so that she could have something to write about or if its just the annoyance that everyone these days is writing a memoir about their "Year of ____". Either way, its not something personal against Rubin, I actually admire her in many ways and plan to check out her website, but perhaps its the fact that I love memoirs and this one seems to have a commercial running through it, and no matter how hard I try to tune it out, I keep hearing it. Arrrrgh! 3.5 stars

  • Ciara
    2019-04-10 14:13

    yeah, just okay. i read the happiness project & found it o be a bit more prescriptive & obsessive than i may have preferred. so my expectations for this follow-up, which is basically a happiness project loosely centered around the home, weren't stratospheric. even so, it was a bit of a disappointment. now that rubin is a bestselling author, some elements of her personal life are available for public consumption, such as the fact that her father-in-law isn't just some kindly old grandfatherly character who lives a comfortable life. motherfucker has his own wikipedia page, check it out. rubin isn't raising her family in the kind of cute little row home featured on the cover of her first book, or even a rehabbed brownstone. she lives in the upper east side of manhattan. my point is that it is a little bit easier to focus on the small joys that bring happiness into your life when you don't have to fret about money, & when in fact you have full-time help with housecleaning & child care. i live in a four-room bungalow in kansas, but you better believe that if i had someone washing my dishes & doing my laundry for me, i would have a lot more time & energy for things like commissioning a tiny sculpture in a cabinet or making a shrine to fragrances. rubin's life is just so far removed from the average person's, it makes her obvious neuroses even more grating.add to this the fact that this book seemed like a wan retread of the original released in order to keep rubin's name in lights & capitalize off the strong sales of the first book. one reviewer even observed that entire paragraphs were lifted from the first book & plopped into this one. i'm not going to reread the first one to confirm this, but this book did seem both repetitive & strangely self-promotion-y. i have a fair number of friends who run their own creative businesses, & they are always advertising for themselves on their blogs, on twitter, on facebook. that's kind of what this entire book read like. like one long blog post advertising the gretchen rubin brand. & that brand hinges, of course, on an aspirational lifestyle experience while rubin conveniently leaves out some of the dirty details that enable her to do things like take four family vacations per year or take her older daughter on an adventure out in the city every wednesday afternoon.because this is a book about home, there seemed to be a lot of emphasis on rubin's husband & daughters. & she didn't make them look too great. she complained repeatedly about her husband ignoring her in favor of his phone or computer when she tries to ask him about his day or talk about her own. she introduces a new rule for her daughters: they have to knock before they come into her home office to talk to her. were these people raised in a barn? i would never stand for my partner actually ignoring me to fiddle with his phone. granted, we have only been together for five or six years--maybe things will be different once we've been together for as long as rubin & her husband. but i have found that it's not that difficult to get his attention if i just touch his arm or say, "can i talk to you for a minute?" but my main criticism of the book is something i never really would have expected from myself. it was actually too obsessive for me! me! i love lists & checklists & projects & goals & all that stuff. you'd think that rubin's ridiculously laborious toolbox approach to happiness would be right up my alley, but instead, it made me feel sad. different strokes for different folks--maybe her approach really works for her. but it all struck me as a way to suck all the spontaneity & real joy out of following your heart & doing nice things for the people you love. & seriously, if i am saying this, you know it's was a pleasant enough read, i guess, but anyone who is really interested in what rubin & her happiness projects are all about would be better off sticking with the first book.

  • Kimber
    2019-04-04 17:06

    I feel this book reveals more about the author's neuroticism then her philosophy. I was struck by her little obsessions, flippant dismissal of the opinions of others while acting like her opinions are the gospel truth, and her self-absorptions. It seems the more one has to say they are happy, the less happy they really are. This quest for happiness is simply a mask for the desperate boredom of a wealthy woman who has everything, but too little that challenges her. Her anecdotes only serve to make her look childish and I couldn't help but feel that she does not really have a good marriage. One of her goals was to spend one date a month with her husband and he turned her down! I also noticed though that he seemed to be a very thoughtful person, putting care into the gifts he gave her, such as the personalized charm bracelet, a highly original gift idea...while for his birthday she gave him a rice cooker that he never used and that she ended up getting rid of (without mentioning whether she asked him or not.) All in all, Ruben is a poor researcher and this book is really only personal essays by a not-so-great writer.

  • Audrey
    2019-03-30 18:00

    I really liked this. I don't agree with everything covered, but there is definitely some great stuff discussed. I appreciated the practical tips and tidbits, the use of quotes (I love quotes), and the succinct and memorable one-liners she uses to summarize a key idea ("choose the bigger life," "act the way I want to feel," "make the positive argument," etc.). I often find these ideas running through my head. Many of these things almost seem obvious once they are pointed out, but I probably would not have identified them otherwise.This is written from a secular perspective, and emphasis on certain points felt a bit shallow to me. Since I'm a religious person, I also felt like faith was a huge cornerstone of happiness that was missing. That said, the author is never condescending toward religion, and she does cite the influence of figures such as Mother Teresa and St. Thérèse of Lisieux. This is both a memoir and self-help book, and I found it to be easy and enjoyable to read, while still giving me lots of ideas to ruminate on. I can relate to the author on many aspects (I share her fear of driving, for example) but on other things it was a little harder for me (e.g., I can't relate much to being an upper class New Yorker). She's also abstemious and rigorous with herself in a way that I sometimes envied. Even though I'm critical of a few things, my overall impression of this book was one of appreciation, knowledge, and growth. I do feel like I’ve gleaned a lot of great stuff from Rubin’s work, and I always enjoy how it prompts me to think more deeply about things and engage in the world around me on a different level. Her tips are practical and profound, and many of them are very useful to my daily life.

  • Rebekah
    2019-04-15 11:49

    I have mixed feelings about this book. I really liked certain aspects and disliked others. But first of all let me explain that...•As a Christian, I understand that true joy comes from the Lord. Happiness is an emotion that comes primarily from good circumstances. However, I don't think there is anything wrong with doing little things to boost our emotional happiness... as long as we keep things in the proper perspective. After all... we are supposed be joyful people in the Lord!Now about the book...•I did not care for some of the resolutions Gretchin Rubin pursued. She definitely takes an interest in false religions, mysticism, and other worldy philosophies and ways of thinking.•Some of her Splendid Truths and Personal Commandments are borderline, if not already, humanistic.•She basis a lot of her resolurions, research, and examples on Science, emotions and experiences... not on the Bible or Biblical principles.•The times she did reference the Bible, it was taken out of context.However...•I would love to apply some of her happiness tips to my own life, as I see nothing wrong with some resolutions that make complete sense as happiness boosters such as... being more energetic, making more time for family, pursuing interests and passions you truly love (God given passions!), creating family traditions, and much more! Overall, this book is an interesting read. I would like to rememeber and apply some things, and I will completely disregard others.

  • Mandy
    2019-04-25 16:52

    I enjoyed Rubin's first book, The Happiness Project. I thought it was interesting to approach happiness as something you could chart out on a spreadsheet, write reports about, measure and therefore, eventually attain. Of course happiness isn't like that, but a lot of us wish it were, thus the popularity of the first book. And I did start buying and storing more paper towels and toilet paper after reading the first book, as I realized that I was an underbuyer, and that underbuying could create stress and unhappiness. I also went out and bought more plain t-shirts based on her advice in the first book, as I realized I was constantly reaching for one, or saving one for later in the week when I would need it for a certain outfit. That was good advice.However, after reading Happier at Home, I realize that I can no longer take advice from Gretchen Rubin. In her first book, I thought she came across as refreshingly honest about her life. In this book, I thought she came across as someone who was difficult to live with, snaps at her daughters regularly and who doesn't seem to know how to have fun. I realized that I actually am happier at home than she comes across. For instance, right now I am sitting in my cozy living room with my peppermint candle burning, with one dog licking her paw and the other dog jealously guarding her new Christmas squeaky toy. My daughter is sitting here on the floor in front of me singing songs from Les Miserable off of her IPhone, and I have a bag of chocolate candy that I'm dipping into. There is a light dusting of snow outside, but only on the trees and grass and not on the roads, so it's pretty but not hazardous, plus I'm chilling and writing book reviews for Goodreads. To me, this is a happy evening at home and easy to create. I don't have a problem with Gretchen being uber rich and not mentioning it, as money can't buy happiness. But after reading the book, I realized that she doesn't participate in a lot of the things that most people enjoy, such as traveling, trying new foods, shopping, eating dessert, having a drink now and then, having a pet. Well those are very basic things that add richness, variety and dare I say happiness to most people's lives. Why would I take advice on how to find happiness from someone who shuns most of the tried and true methods that we've already established add joy to everyday lives? I thought the example of her trying to get her husband to agree to go on a monthly adventure kind of a sad story...he just wouldn't go along with it and she just gave up on it, saying they were probably too busy. And then the admission that they never took their daughters to the carousel in Central Park, and how they thought they should do it, but then she writes that they still never actually got around to it. That's when I realized that Gretchen and her hubby just march to the beat of a different drummer and I cannot relate to their inability to get themselves out of the same old same old and have some fun.

  • Carmen
    2019-04-15 17:08

    A couple of years ago, I read Gretchen Rubin's memoir and first offering on happiness, The Happiness Project. I was keenly interested in the topic of happiness, but I felt that her whole project was a little forced and contrived at first. I know that part of the problem is that I've read WAY too many books wherein the author takes on something really really hard for a year in hopes of self-improvement and then writes about it. I'm actually a sucker for these memoirs, but the stunt journalism aspect here diminished the impact for me, but, then again, maybe it didn't after all.I suppose I did let her ideas simmer for a couple of years because I found myself much more receptive to her second book on happiness, Happier at Home. Now much of her own discoveries on happiness are recycled in her new book (both books look remarkably similar and I'm sure it would be easy to mix them up), but that really didn't bother me much at all. I actually needed to see how those earlier changes from The Happiness Project had transformed her life for the happier. Some might conclude that Rubin is self-indulgent, but I really didn't see her that way. I really see a woman living more deliberately and discovering who she really is. Somehow, it's making all the difference in how she approaches life. She drafts twelve personal commandments and Eight Splendid Truths (Check out her website for these) that guide her in living her life happily. Except for a few of her commandments, most of these aren't original, but she distills centuries of happiness writing to make it more accessible to the modern mind. She does approach happiness from a more secular avenue, but doesn't leave out faith in her happiness research. St. Therese of Lisieux, for example, became one of her biggest influences in happiness. There are a couple of these truths and commandments that are going to change my life in ways that make me both more deliberate and mindful so that I am happier too. I think happiness deserves some deep thought. Rubin definitely has done her homework and her insight on happiness is something worth considering.

  • Maria Elmvang
    2019-03-26 12:05

    Fortunately I ended up enjoying this just as much as "The Happiness Project". I had wondered how much new stuff there would be to write on the subject, but I actually thought she managed quite nicely, and there were even some things I preferred about this book compared to THP (of course there were also some things I preferred about THP, but I had expected nothing else).As the title indicates, this book focused on being happy at home. It wasn't about changing your life, it was about making your home a happy place to be. With a move coming up, this meant even more to me than it probably would have otherwise. Many of Gretchen Rubin's resolutions here were more of a 'one time deal' thing than actual resolutions. Also, they were a LOT more Gretchen-specific than those in THP. Not that that's a bad thing, it just meant there were some things I had a harder time relating to.I was grateful to her for pointing me towards Demeter Fragrance Library though. They have a perfume called "New Zealand"!!!!

  • Amy
    2019-04-15 15:46

    I'm afraid Gretchen Rubin has become that unemployed or underemployed "friend" on Facebook who posts on a sleeting Monday "I think I'll stay in bed with a mug of hot chocolate and a stack of Cary Grant DVDs today!" And you or, okay, I, want to respond that you are delighted they will be warm and cozy while you are shivering waiting for a bus that is 20 minutes late so that you can pay your mortgage, save for retirement, and hopefully keep the public safe from exploding pipelines.This book is about 50% "myopic privileged person who would be well-suited for a NYT Sunday Styles profile," 40% things that you could try at home which might make your life better, but do you need to pay $25 for advice that your kids should knock before coming into your study, and 10% actually useful information that could make you saner.

  • Diane S ☔
    2019-03-31 19:12

    Written in an engaging and easy to read style, I still felt that much of this was just plain ol' common sense. How to be happier at home by sections, show more affection to those you live with, spend some time each day doing something you love, show interest in others personal interests, etc. See common sense, but a good read for those who need reminding or those who are at a lost. May find something in it that will help those who are looking for answers and those who are questioning if what they are doing is going to work.

  • Stacey
    2019-04-05 18:54

    Fans of the show Ally McBeal will know what I'm talking about when I say "smile therapy": this is when John's therapist recommended that he smile more, and it would result in a general sense of well-being. What it actually resulted in was him walking around with a crazed grin and dead eyes as he braved his day's horrors as an attorney. I bring this up because a) Gretchen Rubin is a Yale-educated attorney who almost certainly once watched Ally McBeal and b) a lot of her advice boils down to this: act happy, be happy. There is a nugget of truth to that, but only insofar as you are in Rubin's camp--that is, relatively happy to begin with. I am in her camp, so enjoyed the book since I can take her little first-world-problems pieces of wisdom and apply them to my own life--like, Jeez, what do I do with all those Shutterfly pictures that are totally wrecking my buzz? If you are on ANY LEVEL seriously unhappy, this is not the book for you. Rubin is a Happiness Junkie. I read her first book somewhat mandatorily for my book club, and liked it enough to pick up this one. But seriously, how happy can one woman get? Half of her book is talking about how "grateful" she is, and how amazing her life is, and how she wants to appreciate that. Then she goes on to devote entire chapters to how to spend more time with her children. Here's an idea: stop writing about happiness all the frickin time! I keep picturing her kids in a psychiatrist's office in twenty years, like, "My mom was obsessed with happiness and I never got enough attention! Now I'm a stripper!" Anyway, this is all an ad hominem argument, where I have issue with the somewhat irritating author and not her content. The content I actually find helpful, and I do appreciate that this self-helpy book is quite literary and well-researched; she quotes from Voltaire and Samuel Johnson and Thoreau, which makes me feel less guilty about reading her book instead of one of theirs. Also, she recommends making resolutions--PLURAL--to help stay on track with your own happiness attainment. Cripes, I can't keep ONE resolution through January 3rd. But overall, I like her perspective, and that it gives me perspective. She's a good writer, and even if her ideas don't resonate with you, a lot of her sociology/psychology examples are fun knowledge to have at parties--you know, those things that happy people go to.

  • LeighKramer
    2019-04-03 11:57

    In the last month, I read both The Happiness Project and Happier at Home. Consider me a convert. In Happiness Project, Rubin explores the theories of happiness and focuses on a different aspect each month. She creates resolutions tailored to her life and I learned a lot about myself in reading where her monthly goals took her. In Happier at Home, Rubin focuses on exactly that: happiness in the home.In showing her desire to be happier at home, Rubin also appreciates how much happiness is there already, from relationships to possessions. She also defines happiness leeches, which is a resonating concept. She shows how some of the things which make us happy require a little unhappiness in the process, such as completing menial tasks. I get this: I know I'm happier once I've cleaned my house but I hate cleaning.I love Rubin's mix of research, memoir, experiment, and information. While there's much about her happiness projects that simply don't apply to me now, I tucked many tidbits away for future reference. Rubin's story, as well as her commitment to telling readers the ups and downs of her resolutions, empowered me to see where I could seek happiness in my home. And she also enabled me to see areas needing improvement. The book inspired me. I've probably brought it up in most of the conversations I've had the past couple of weeks. (I'm sorry, friends. And: you're welcome.) I hope Rubin will keep writing about the subject of happiness. We could all stand to be more mindful of how we impact our own happiness and that of others. And the home is a great place to start.

  • Roanne
    2019-04-24 14:57

    I absolutely adored Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project. I couldn't wait for this to become available, because I am all about HOME ... I am a true home-body, much like Gretchen. That said, this book is a major disappointment. Happier at Home covers so little new ground that I am puzzled as to why it exists at all; why not just put out a new expanded edition of the original The Happiness Project Book? MUCH of this is simply a reiteration of her original rules and resolutions. And I realize that everyone is going to have their own idea of what constitutes being happier at home, but I found that the few new ideas she did bring to this book were rather annoying or even silly. (Shrines all over the place? She loathes clutter but assembles shrines? Really?) Happier at Home almost feels like an effort to cash in on the original. I feel mean-spirited to think this way, but I can't help it. I am so disappointed that, if it wasn't for the April chapter, Neighborhood, I would have only given it one star.

  • David Yoon
    2019-04-11 17:14

    Really it's a tiny death to preface a review with "it's not terrible". How can you not be wary of a book that embarks on a quest to be happier at home? It could have easily been a tired sort of humble brag novella like Eat, Pray, Love so I'm grateful for small ideas presented as small ideas. Nothing earth shattering, but it's ok to point out the little things, that in hindsight are painfully obvious, that can make people happier. It just felt a bit formulaic to help the medicine go down. Reveal small idea like "go on adventures". Back with several pithy quotes from appropriate authors and poets. Insert coincidental conversation with friend/party guest/hairdresser that teases out opposing viewpoints. Admit to fumbling but making progress and finish with a "just be you" pat on the head. Nothing wrong with that but I'd no sooner closed the book than I had completely forgotten everything within.

  • Debby
    2019-04-23 14:56

    Like many readers here, I enjoyed Rubin's first book, The Happiness Project, and looked forward to more ideas in the second book on how I might change my thinking or habits to appreciate the blessings in my own life. But also like many readers here, I was disappointed when I finished it. There are some obvious aspects of happiness that Rubin does not address. Most studies of happiness and well-being indicate that spending time outside in nature, whether playing in the park with your dog or kids, walking through your town, lounging at the beach with a book, or tending a garden, has a significant positive impact on happiness. Yet in neither book does Rubin address this. While I understand that it is her personal project, and she lives in the city, and does not care for having so much as a bouquet of flowers in her apartment (where does she think the base for her scent collection comes from?) much less tending a balcony garden or a community plot, interacting with nature on some level is so important, it is nearly therapy for some. It would have made her project more authentic if she had at least tried an outdoor/nature resolution.Same with travel. At the beginning of the "Neighborhood" chapter, she admits that "I've never had much wanderlust..." but again, having novel experiences, and even a change of scenery from time to time, is important to most people's happiness. As she is an intellectual, I was surprised to read she has no desire to visit the historical sites connected to the people and ideas she writes about. How about the Bodleian Library in Oxford? A research trip to Greece for the book project with her sister? New York is not the only important city in the world. Same with interior design of the home. I expected that a book focused on home would have discussed comforts that we sometimes overlook, replacing worn out linens with quality cotton sheets, attractive mugs and plates in the kitchen to cheer the family on wintry Monday mornings, etc. How can a chapter on "Interior Design" not include any discussion of experiments in making your home more cozy, more attractive? Again, I understand Rubin is not personally interested in this, and probably has a decorator and a housekeeper to do this for her family, but it does ring hollow that she did not even attempt to set a home-based resolution and experiment with home objects other than replacing her broken toaster. My biggest issue, however, is not with the book, but with the over-promotion of it. I too signed up to be a super-fan, thinking Rubin would email readers to answer fun questions about our own sources of and experiments in happiness, providing feedback on the types of questions Rubin asks daily on her Facebook page. Instead, we are constantly asked to promote her book on social media and by word of mouth. Given that her first book has been on the best-seller lists since publication, her publisher (and I work in the industry) will have provided a marketing budget for the sequel that most authors can only dream of. The most recent email I received asked us to help her emphasize to potential buyers how the new book was not just a rehash of the old book, perhaps in response to reviews like those here...if her publisher's marketing department didn't do a better job of writing the jacket copy and ABI (advance book information) copy that goes to sites like Amazon, that's not our problem to fix. Or perhaps, there really is too much overlap, in which case reviewers are reporting the truth as they see it. I am giving this book three stars because I like her appreciation for photographs and her encouragement to record happy memories with our family and friends; her encouragement to greet one another with full attention as we come and go, rather than be focused on our cell phones and computer screens; her determination to confront her fear of driving (we all have some fear that, when conquered, removes stress from our lives); and her quest to "find her own Calcutta," an issue that moved her to volunteer and help effect change. Volunteering is documented as one of the most significant influences on happiness, particularly in this terrible economy when so many are out of work and feeling value-less. Despite Rubin's obsession with work and her own pursuits, the fact that she got outside of herself and contributes what she can to encourage organ donation, and encourages her readers to find their own causes to support, was the greatest redeeming quality of the entire book. While this cause may be self-serving to Rubin and her husband, and while she may not get her hands dirty by serving meals in a soup kitchen, cleaning cages in an animal shelter, or tutoring in an inner city school, it is a worthy start. It will be interesting to see the focus of Rubin's next book; if she and her agent decide to follow the pattern of books such as "The Purpose Driven Life/at Home/at School/at Work/for Teens/in Marriage, etc." there are going to be a lot of UNhappy readers.

  • Brittany
    2019-04-17 13:56

    "Why, I often wonder, is it difficult to push myself to do the things that bring happiness? So often, I know what resolutions would make me happier, but still I have to prod myself to do them. Every day, I struggle to give a kiss, to get enough sleep, to stop checking my email, to give gold stars. Every day, I remind myself to accept myself, and expect more from myself."“Be Gretchen.”from Happier at Home by Gretchen RubinI really enjoyed reading Gretchen Rubin's follow-up to The Happiness Project (which I somehow missed when it came out). I read Happier at Home from beginning to end in just a few reading sessions; from start to finish, I was completely engaged with her writing. The book is an interesting blend of memoir and "moral essay." Full of quotes on the nature of happiness taken from philosophers both ancient and modern, it also provides the reader with numerous concrete, easily-implemented strategies for improving one's own "practice of life." If you are already acquainted with Rubin's Happiness Project book and blog, some of the concepts may already be familiar. However, this was my first encounter with Rubin's ideas, and I drank them all in greedily. The book is organized thematically; after an introduction on the basic themes of her newest happiness project, Rubin provides a detailed account of her tackling each new theme every month. The project begins in September at the start of the school year, and the focus for the month is on making peace with our material possessions. I loved that Rubin doesn't tell us that we must get rid of everything we own! How many times have I read that and felt terrible guilt? Throughout the book, the writer reminds us that happiness is never one-size-fits-all and above all we must be ourselves. I loved that! Over the course of the year, she also focuses on the following areas: Marriage, Parenthood, Interior Design (self), Time, Body, Family, Neighborhood, and Now ("Remember Now").One of my favorite quotes from the book is, "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Rubin applies this quote to her decision to create "good-enough" photo albums and move on with her life. Until recently, I had six years' worth of pictures sitting in boxes, impatiently waiting for divine scrapbooking inspiration to overwhelm me. I am plodding away with my own humble three-ring binder "scrapbooks" and feel a huge sense of relief. I highly recommend this book! It was tremendously inspiring and full of useful information that I look forward to putting in practice.*Free eARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley*

  • Lisa
    2019-04-16 17:09

    "I'm very good at making myself do things I don't want to do, but sometimes I'm better off not doing those things at all." A good book to remind me to be mindful about those things-- my life is the sum total of my choices. How I spend my time, my attitude, and what "stuff" I choose to have around me all contribute greatly to my happiness. I appreciated that the author presents this as a memoir of sorts. This is what she did, and how and when she did it, to improve her happiness. Several times she points out that we each need to identify our own sources of happiness and act upon them. For example, her experiences around her daughters did not resonate with me. Seeing "collections" of my kid's stuff strewn around the house saps my happiness, it does not contribute to it. Sometimes her writing about motherhood, and even more, her obsession with happiness and studies thereof, did prompt me to think she's a tad bit insufferable. Rubin (and my friend Heidi) did motivate me to make some small changes after finishing the book. I finally put together the reed diffuser I received for Christmas, and I'm enjoying the new fragrance when I arrive home. I also took this weekend to clear out a bunch of clutter that's been waiting to be donated or thrown out, and we simply hadn't made time to do it. I feel ridiculously happy looking at how tidy our side yards are now. I'd recommend this book, and want to read Rubin's first happiness book (which she alludes to several times, and seems to assume that I've read). It did not make as much of an impression on me as The Simple Living Guide, which isn't about happiness but that profound effects upon my own.

  • Kate
    2019-04-08 14:46

    I received happier at home as a first reads giveaway. I was excited to receive the book, and had been thinking about picking up her previous book before. The book started out well enough, and I was excited to learn some little tips to make my home a happier place. My home is a pretty happy place... But we have only been here a year, and have a lot to do as far as decorating and making the place more "homey". Anyways.... I don't feel that the books was true to its title. There were a few obvious tips... I already know that clearing clutter will make me happier. And I understand that Your relationships with family members are the heart of the home... So I can understand why you would want to work on those. But it seemed like most of the authors problems were to stop getting so upset with family members and to stop making her "mean" face..... It just seemed like she is a high maintenance person, to be honest, and I'm glad I don't have to worry about interrupting her or not paying enough attention to her when she's talking. I guess that's the reason I don't love this book... The author just started to bother me. That seems to happen a lot with these blogs turned books.... Perhaps I should just stay away from the whole genre.There were a few tidbits that I did like. I do plan on trying to make the positive argument whenever possible now. I'd love to go on monthly adventures with my husband, just don't know that there's enough time. And I should defiantly start spending out.