The Happiness Project (Giveaway!)

22 Sep 2011, 36 Comments »

I’m reading The Happiness Project. Devouring it. Breathing it in and out like air.

If it’s new to you, the #1 bestseller by Gretchen Rubin is a record of one happy-enough person (wife, mother, career woman) who wonders if she (busy, curious, critical, flawed, thoughtful, ambitious) could live a happier life. I’d love nothing so much as to write up a smashing review of the book, covering the breadth of its topics and the depth of its impact, but I hardly know what to say. I have too much to say.

I’ve underlined at least one line on every spread (and usually two or three or six lines), and the margins have become a shorthand reader’s journal of stars, exclamation points, question marks, and faces with all types of mouths, from up- or down-turned arcs to disgruntled squiggles. The abundance of insight the book contains means there’s something for everyone. In short: YOU SHOULD READ IT.

One of the things I love about the book (which I also loved about Meagan Francis’s Happiest Mom) is that it doesn’t direct so much as suggest; instead of telling readers what to do,  it invites us to ask and answer questions specific to our unique personalities and situations, in order that the result will be solutions that fit our lives rather than just the author’s life. (I’ve heard Elizabeth Gilbert criticized for failing to look outward in this way; this is my code for “It ain’t Eat, Pray, Love.“)

I’d seen The Happiness Project mentioned here and there online for months, but this is the video spot that caused my overhead lightbulb to glow:

If you think you could be happier, raise your hand.

If you’re open to discovering solid advice in a (well-researched!) memoir rather than just another self-help book, raise your other hand.

And if you want to win one of three copies Nice Things Now is giving away courtesy of Gretchen Rubin and her publisher, put both hands down on your keyboard and leave a comment below telling me what makes you happy. I’ll take entries until next Thursday, September 29, and choose winners at random.

Thanks to Gretchen Rubin and HarperCollins for sending me a review copy of The Happiness Project and allowing me to host this giveaway. Click away for more on the book (including excerpts), the ongoing Happiness Project (in blog form), and the HP community.

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36 Comments

  1. Sarah G says:

    This is the simplest, littlest thing, but I just this morning realized how happy it really makes me….

    Starbucks soy chai lattes.

    I can be having unhappy work week after unhappy work week, but every morning when I take my walk across the street to get my chai (usually from a cute barista who knows my name & drink by sight), that first warm, creamy sip makes makes me happy and I smile even if I’m dreading the work day ahead of me.

    • agirlandaboy says:

      That’s exactly how I am with my morning cup of tea. It’s the tiniest thing, and something I do every day, but it never fails to be a little jolt of happiness.

  2. Nicole says:

    I raised both hands and am now typing!

    I’ve checked her book out a couple of times from the library, but then it’s due before I get to tackle/finish/start it. It would be pretty fantastic to own it.

    And, I appreciate your code. :)

  3. Amanda says:

    i love a good book, and i’ll take your word for it that this is one.
    it makes me extremely happy when my hubs surprises me by doing something little like the dishes, or cleaning up the living room before i get home from work which means i can spend my evening doing something more fun.

  4. Jen says:

    Hoo boy, just this morning as I stood in our driveway while my husband installed a new battery in my car, both of us weary from a 4:30 a.m. wake-up call by one stubborn toddler, he asked me, “What can we change to make you happier?” I honestly did not know how to answer that question. So, my hand is raised.

    I’d love a copy of this book. Obviously I need it!

  5. Kristen says:

    Lots of things make me happy — my dogs laying their heads on my lap, listening to music while I take a shower, going for a run in the middle of the day. I’m a big fan of finding ways to make every day happier and would love to read this!

  6. Amy says:

    Ugh, this is a huge fear of mine. I spend so much time lamenting how quickly it’s passing that I forget to stop and enjoy it. What makes me happy: clean, snuggly kids at bedtime; ice cream; real letters from friends. And winning things in giveaways! :)

  7. Megan says:

    Little things make me happy, like having both kids nap at the same time and nothing else to do but read.

  8. Alison says:

    The biggest little thing that makes me happy is watching my dog sleep. He dreams a lot, so he’s always twitching, and squeaking, and it’s just so darn cute.

    I was so excited to see this book on here! I’ve read it three times, and I just love it. If I win, I want to do a Nice Thing and pass it on to someone who could use it.

    • agirlandaboy says:

      I love that you want to pass it on. What better gift than a plan to get happier, right?

      Also, I know what you mean about watching your dog sleep. When I was in labor, I hadn’t decided on a specific object or thought to focus on while breathing through contractions, but the image that kept popping into my head was our orange cat curled up in a ball sleeping. It came out of nowhere and it worked wonders (and then I got the drugs!). :)

  9. Lisa says:

    Right now, if I’m being truly honest, candy corn is making me happy. I could eat it until I turn orange and yellow striped. Thank you for the chance to enter, this book has been on my to-read list for a while now.

  10. Chris C says:

    OOoh, pick me, pick me! I’d love to read this book. Things that make me happy? Here’s a few: Yosemite (where I’m going this weekend, hurray), icy cold swims in cold mountain lakes, soft yarn in a really pretty color, uninterrupted time to read. :-)

  11. elsimom says:

    relaxation in my husband’s voice.

  12. Karen says:

    I am happiest when the whole family is home and we are having one of those rare moments when we’re all doing the same thing at the same time – whether it’s eating dinner, playing Uno, or watching the Red Sox. So often our schedules fly off in different directions that I’m really trying to appreciate those times when we all just happen to come together, because that’s what it’s all about.

  13. CharlieSue says:

    Just a few moments ago, THIS guy made me happy. :)

    http://youtu.be/OQBOC1OPWyU

  14. Lauren says:

    E-mails!

    E-mails from friends and family make my day. It’s hard being so far away from so many loved ones but getting an instant message from someone and being able to respond brings so much happiness.

  15. Jessica says:

    I think I am mostly a happy person, but there is nothing wrong with learning how to be happier! Or I’d let my SIL read it, she might need something like this! Piles of fabric and my sleeping baby boy make me very happy though.

    • agirlandaboy says:

      That’s another thing I really appreciated about the book: the author started out relatively happy herself, so the goal of the project wasn’t to transform from severely depressed person to shiny, happy person (RIP REM) but from happy to happier. I think everyone can benefit from that.

  16. Kristina says:

    I have so much to be happy about – my kids, my husband, rainy afternoons – but I’m in kind of a low spot right now. I would love to read this.

  17. Teri says:

    At this very moment, remembering to watch The Big Bang Theory for the first time in months makes me happy!

  18. Robin says:

    Reading a good book before bed… Something I miss terribly now that a little 19-month-old sleeps with us!

  19. Dani says:

    This is wonderful, and I actually came to the site this morning specifically to tell you how much I really love your site, and how it always puts a smile on my face. It’s kismet! One of the many things that makes me happy is this site, and all that is behind it. Husband and friends definitely make me immeasurably happy as well–they’re good people :)

  20. elizabetht says:

    i love this idea, and i have heard such great things about this book, but haven’t yet gotten a chance to check it out myself. as for something that makes me happy? today, it’s being allowed to wear jeans to work, and full pages in marble composition books. :)

  21. Shari says:

    Two sleeping kids makes me so happy! And two smiling kids after a good nap…

  22. Nolita says:

    Down time with the family doing nothing but maybe receiving a foot rub from my husband. Also, when the whole family gets in on a inside joke and even the littlest one (2) adds to it.

  23. sjb says:

    I’ve wanted to read this book for a while, but not gotten around it it. I’ve read bits & pieces of the accompanying blog and it was very interesting.

    The incredibly enthusiastic purring of my cat as she tries to install herself on me like a scarf makes me super happy. I interpret it as love. Also long hikes with not many people around on a beautiful sunny crisp fall day!

  24. Abby says:

    Waking up and realizing I can go back to sleep for another hour (best occurrences of this are on the weekend)

  25. Cathy says:

    Tea first thing on the morning served in my gigantic Jack mug, books that suck me in, sunny days and thrift store shopping/treasure hunting make me happy :)

  26. Lisa says:

    Seeing my daughter giggle while on the swings makes me happy. I’ve been meaning to read this book!

  27. Coming home to my fuzzy kitten. Spending time with my cousin’s daughters (otherwise known as the mini-cousins). Eating fresh green beans out of my garden. Finishing a quilt, and even bigger, gifting a finished quilt. There are many other small things, these are just a few.

    I’ve been meaning to read this book, but just haven’t picked it up yet. Wonderful giveaway!

  28. Danne D. says:

    I loved, loved, loved this book as well (especially as a type A personality who loves researching, organizing, and making lists about everything in my life).

    Was just lead to your blog by a friend and am an instant fan. Keep spreading the happiness and positivity!

  29. Kristin says:

    Hugs from my kids make me happy. Sitting with my cat in my lap purring while I read or watch tv makes me happy. Clean sheets make me happy. Coffee delivery from my husband makes me happy. This book sounds wonderful!

  30. Kizz says:

    My dog makes me ridiculously happy. Even on days when he’s being a dick (today!). Here’s a picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/31403417@N00/5973833002/in/set-72157603969964422

    My friends also make me crazy happy. I traveled with one friend to another friend’s wedding this weekend and all the laughing, talking, helping, singing, loving, crying we did had me walking on air. No picture of that…yet.

  31. Dawn K. says:

    What makes me most happy is that I’ve learned that my husband’s love for me is unfailing. I’ve recently has some challenging life/career choices to make, and he’s been behind me regardless of the outcome-he just wants me to be happy and to make the decisions I feel are right!

  32. Katie says:

    When my little boy tells me he loves me and snuggles up. He’s not a super affectionate kid, so when it happens it’s the real deal. And you feel like you won the lottery. Ooh, and talking to my mom on the phone. And ice cream. And cookies.

    I’d love to read this and find other little (and big) things to make me happy!!

  33. Kim Aylward says:

    Happy! We all want it, right? We all have moments of it…it’s just putting more of it into our lives that’s the challenge.
    My bookclub has JUST chosen this book as our next pick for our Oct. Read! I’m so excited. I’d love to win this contest and share the copies with the 6 other ladies (we’ll share!)
    Meanwhile, some things that make me happy: the smell of cut grass, a handwritten letter, a dirty martini on a Friday night!

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