Instaread Summary of The Happiness Project Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin
Five out of five stars
The pursuit of happiness is an ideal that has been with humans for thousands of years and is codified in the American Declaration of Independence. However, the book being summarized is unusual in that it is a report of a year-long experiment in Rubin trying to maximize her happiness. This was not a case where the author was initially experiencing a difficult period of life, at the beginning of the experiment, Rubin was in fact in a position that most people would envy. Yet, one day when she was riding a public bus, Rubin experienced the thought that perhaps she could be happier. Since she was a writer, the experiment was in many ways the gathering of data for her latest book.
There was a different focus for each month of the year. For example, in January the goals were to unclutter and to get more sleep and in February the goals were to strengthen her marriage by being more appreciative of her husband and to be less irritated with him. During March, Rubin would be more ambitious by starting a blog about her happiness project and organized a writer’s strategy group.
It is clear from this summary that the project being reported on is largely one that was developed in order to write a book about it. The project was conducted in a very systematic manner and most of what Rubin did involved tasks that many people would like to do. The segmentation of the tasks by month will strike many people as odd. From the summary, “She spent April trying to lighten up in her role as a mother.”
This summary is well written and gives the reader a full understanding of the contents of the book as well as the style. The best line of the summary is the last line.
“Instead, Rubin uses the rigor and discipline she learned from her legal days to cover accessible subjects, such as happiness, with precision and clarity.”