The Happiness Project -- the updated paperback edition

On of my favorite books from last year was Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project, in which Gretchen tried out a bunch of different old and new techniques for becoming happier and reported on the results (see my review here). The book was a huge hit, and her web site based on the book has taken on a life of its own.

Today, the paperback edition of The Happiness Project came out, and I asked Gretchen if she could tell me a bit about the new material, as well as what she's learned since the hardback came out:

happiness-project.jpgThe paperback has additional material -- among other things, a call-out to email me for a starter-kit, for people doing happiness-projects together, in a group.

It has really surprised me -- and been very gratifying -- to hear how many people have started their own happiness projects after reading the book. Even more surprising is the fact that so many people want to start or join a group in which they work on their happiness projects, together. I myself didn't do this, but I think it's a great idea! Just being part of a group helps make people happier, and being in a group helps give people the accountability necessary to make change. Groups like Weight Watchers or AA are examples of how helpful the support of a group can be.

Often these groups already know each other; for instance, I heard about a group of nurses doing it together, and a Bible study group that wanted to do it, and a family that was going to do it. Sometimes, people start these groups with strangers -- say, on Meetup or through other ways.

I also included a book group guide. I love books group and am in four book groups myself (excessive, I know!) so it has been thrilling to think that my book is being discussed in book groups!

Buy the paperback edition of The Happiness Project on Amazon


  1. The paperback version is almost half the price of the Kindle version on Amazon. Clearly one costs a lot more to produce than the other.

    1. I just checked Amazon and saw the same thing. $7.99 for the paperback, $12.99 for a limited license to read the ebook when and on what devices Amazon decides you’re allowed to. Same price for the kobo, which is at least an epub, but still DRMed.

      stupid, stupid, stupid.

      and they wonder why people torrent books.

  2. Man this whole project bugs me — rich, very privileged, very well educated, thin, white woman in New York leaves high paying legal work and experiments for a year with different strategies to be happy?

    If she wasn’t able to find happiness just in her privileged life there is something dramatically wrong!

    1. Do you live a privileged life? If so, are you happy? If not, how do you know a privileged life makes people happy?

    2. I have some similar reservations. Though it makes me curious to see what actually is in the book.

    3. A hug from my son,vanilla cupcakes,kindness from a stranger,curling up in my bed on a rainy day(reading the Happiness projecy of course) makes me incredibly happy.This is such a cool book,I think it should be a prerequisite read entering adulthood.It is quite obvious from your really unfair judgement,that you havent read the book.Send me your adress,I’ll buy you a copy,sounds like you could use a boost of happiness

  3. Bad URL linked in the words “her website” – it goes to some other guy, who actually seems pretty interesting himself.

  4. If you buy the e-book, rip it to epub, and give away one copy, you’ll have spent the same as two paperbacks. Not that I’m advocating pirating a positive, socially uplifting book…

  5. I guess yeah, the skeptical part of me continues to think “Well yeah, and when I get millions of suckers to give me money for frittering about and venting my upper class angst I bet I’ll be pretty darned happy too.”

  6. If she wasn’t able to find happiness just in her privileged life there is something dramatically wrong!

    You hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately, the nail was aimed at you. Maybe, just maybe, this book says something about the idea that money and privilege are not faultless keys to happiness.

  7. i don’t mean to harsh, but i found it a bit amusing that the examples of “how helpful the support of a group can be” were WW and AA– both of which have FAILURE rates hovering above 95%.

    The problem with buying into groups is that the fundamental change never happens; That is, the person isn’t happy, they just become dependent on the group to distract them from this fact.

    Largely, unfortunately, happiness comes from fulfillment. You don’t get true happiness by doing things that are loosely associated with being happy, but rather from having a purpose and a passion.
    Sleeping more, exercising more, not complaining, etc. do a good job of casting the illusion of happiness, but until you’ve found a thing that truly makes you excited, something you don’t mind staying up late or waking up early to do– a true passion (or even an obsession), you’re sorta just going through the motions (most of which come from books like these).

    1. This is why I’ve dedicated my life to debauchery. There’s not much more out there worth staying up late for, or waking up early for (when necessary).

      I have a great job that doesn’t make me happy. I drive a beautiful new car that doesn’t make me happy. I buy whatever shiny things I want and that doesn’t make me happy. The latest games, the hottest clubs, the best restaurants… whatever. Nothing makes me happy. Yet getting wasted and fucking my girlfriend is consistently awesome. There is nothing more fulfilling than producing bliss in someone you love.

      Kids, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise:
      Sex and drugs can make you happy!

  8. I think the huge truth that everyone is missing is that it’s not actually very hard at all to be happy. The real problem is that very few people _prioritize_ being happy. Everybody has other, more important goals apparently. Maintaining a lifestyle, raising kids, feeling important, assuring security, and so much more.

    1. Yeah. I realized raising kids was a bummer. Once the state came in and took those brats off my hands life got a lot better! Well, except for the jail time and the fines and stuff.

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