Review: This isn’t a business book per se—it’s more of a self-help memoir of a happy person who wants to be sure that she’s focusing on the things that really matter. It may be difficult to relate directly to the author’s experiences, after all Gretchen Rubin clerked for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor before she decided to write full-time, she’s in a stable relationship without apparent money worries, and has the time and space to devote to increasing her happiness. That said, she was able to test-drive the scientific research and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier which can benefit all of us.
Among the topics she addresses:
- Is it possible to become a happier person?
- What is the role of money vis a vis happiness?
- Will taking a systematic approach to seeking happiness work?
She chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent exploring the topic. While some of her conclusions are expected (money can help buy happiness if it’s spent wisely, good relationships, acting in a loving and generous way, and engaging creatively with the world contribute greatly to happiness, and novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness), rarely do you see someone take such a systematic approach to finding out what will really increase their happiness. Following her detailed path is thought-provoking and her conclusion that very small changes made the biggest difference and that, in fact, she was able to become happier through her own efforts is inspiring.