Must-Read Monday: The Happiness Project

 Typically, on Must-Read Monday I feature fiction, but today I thought I'd share a non-fiction book that I recently read and loved. Now, I know I'm probably behind the curve on this one because it came out a few years ago, but hey, better late than never. : ) 

If you stopped by the blog last week, I mentioned this book in my post about Journaling for the Chronic Journal Abandoner, but I didn't really go into details about the book. So here's today's recommendation:

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 by Gretchen Rubin


Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

In this lively and compelling account, Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference.

I picked up this book because I'd seen it mentioned on a few blogs and then found Gretchen's blog. I liked her voice and the concepts she was blogging about, so I was compelled to try it. And I'm so glad I did. I'm a pretty happy person by nature, but I'm always open to ways to make life more purposeful, meaningful, and mindful. Time does pass too quickly, and sometimes we go through our days unconsciously putting one foot in front of the other, unaware of time just falling away. So I really wanted to see what she had to say on finding happiness and meaning in every day life.

I really enjoyed her voice and the way the book was laid out with each chapter being a month of tackling new resolutions specific to on topic such as Vitality, Marriage, Parenthood, Money. And I found myself taking notes and making my own resolutions as I went. It really was a great book for self-reflection. Plus, I love making goals, resolutions, and commandments, and learning new ways to think about things. It's already affected how I've gone about my days since I've read it. And now I have my mom reading it, and she's having a similar reaction.

I really do think there is something in this book for everyone--great nuggets of wisdom and practical advice. And if you're unsure if you'd be into the book, it's worth checking out The Happiness Project blog to get a taste of what the book is like.

So, has anyone else read this? Thoughts? What books have you read that really made you stop and think about the way you were doing things in your life?