Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 6641 MSFocus Summer 2016 Gretchen Rubin realized life is too short to waste time on things that don’t truly matter. After that insightful moment on a New York City bus, Gretchen set out to find out how to make herself happier. She shares her insights in the New York Times best- seller 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. The author explained that making a radical change, such as moving halfway around the world, or dropping all of her responsibilities, wasn’t an option. Instead, she wanted to be happier in her own environment and appreciate life. “I didn’t want to look back at the end of my life, or after some great catastrophe, and think how happy I used to be then, if only I’d realized it.” Gretchen researched things that make people happy. She references a number of readings throughout history and pop culture including Oprah Winfrey, Virginia Wolf, Psychology Today, the Dalai Lama, and Aristotle. When asked if it was possible to make yourself happier, Gretchen said yes, but she didn’t sugar-coat it. She applied the set-point theory to happiness, meaning everyone has their own basic level of happiness which generally doesn’t fluctuate much. She believes people have an inborn disposition that is set within a certain range, but they can jump to the top or fall to the bottom of their happiness range because of their actions. The author doesn’t reveal some never-before-heard secret to being happy. Instead, she chronicles the practical steps she took to achieving her own happiness. She dedicated one year to her own happiness project. Through research and self- examination, Gretchen created 12 personal resolutions and set out to accomplish them, focusing on a new goal each month. She charts her progress with each resolution and breaks it down into logical steps. She explains everyone’s happiness project would be different. However, the book is filled with personal anecdotes during the project because Gretchen believes everyone learns best from “idiosyncratic experiences” versus universal principles. The author hopes her own experiences will inspire readers to create their own happiness projects with personalized goals and charts to achieve a happier life filled with gratitude. Her blog www.gretchenrubin.com also includes links for a monthly newsletter, resources, and free downloads. Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. To borrow this and other titles, call the MSF Lending Library at 888-MSFocus (673-6287) or visit www.msfocus.org. Click on ‘Lending Library’ under the Programs and Activities heading. By Gretchen Rubin Review by Marianly H. Primmer 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, 368pp. $9.19