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 chronicles Gretchen Rubin’s year long project to see if she could increase the amount of happiness in her life. The book blends her personal narrative with facts from her research into a wonderfully fulfilling read. The book is truly brilliant and I highly recommend it.
At the beginning of the book, Gretchen formulates her “Secrets of Adulthood” that she uses to help ground her project. Here are a few:
- People don’t notice your mistakes as much as you think.
- It’s important to be nice to everyone.
- If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.
- If you can’t find something, clean up.
- By doing a little bit each day, you can get a lot accomplished.
The book is full of fascinating little facts about happiness. Here are a few random ones that I found particularly interesting:
- An extra hour of sleep each night will increase your happiness by the same amount as a $60,000 raise. (We have a three month old baby and my wife says she thinks the value is slightly higher.)
- According to some study, cutting down on clutter can reduce your housework by 40%.
- It is easier to decide what to wear when your closet offers fewer choices.
- People who use Botox are less prone to anger because they can’t make angry faces. Act the way you want to feel.
- You need to hug someone for six seconds to promote bonding.
- People will transfer to you the traits you ascribe to others. Gossip about others’ faults will make you look bad.
- 49% of people making over $100,000 say they are happy. 24% of those making under $30,000 say they are happy.
The book is fun to read because it tells an engaging story, but beyond entertainment, it changes how you look at your life and your priorities. You can visit the Happiness Project website to find out more about Gretchen’s book. She also has a one minute video called The Days are Long, but the Years are Short that is well worth watching.