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
Ok, I’ll be honest: I don’t read much non-fiction, because I find most of it to be incredibly dull to read. And recently my standard for enjoyable non-fiction has been MWF Seeking BFF, because it was just funny and relatable, while also being motivating and useful. Sadly, while The Happiness Project was interesting and followed a similar one-year-quest formula, I didn’t really find it enjoyable. In fact, I struggled over several long weeks to make it all the way through. I like the idea it was exploring and it did have some useful tidbits, but I just did not like the author’s voice or writing. I didn’t find her writing funny or relatable, and in fact found myself thinking several times that if this lady is anything like her writing in real life she’d probably annoy the crap out of me. There’s a subtle better-than-thou, pushy attitude that comes through, and it often felt more like lecturing than talking to the reader. This wasn’t helped by the fact that probably a good third of the book (at least) is her quoting other things – commenters on her blog, famous and obscure people, etc. It was distracting and annoying. I get that her background biases her heavily towards research paper kinds of writing, but for me that just made the book fall flat. Which is a shame, because again I think the idea behind it is interesting. So, I don’t know. It’s hard for me to separate the voice of a book from what it’s about. I liked some parts, I didn’t like others. I didn’t find it particularly useful, but it did provoke some thought. And there are some good charts in the back. So it gets a solid middling rating from me.
What do you think? Have you read this?
I give it 2.5/5 stars.