Happier at Home: Book summary and reviews of Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin

Happier at Home

Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control, and My Other Experiments in Everyday Life

By Gretchen Rubin

Happier at Home
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  • Published in USA  Dec 2013,
    320 pages.

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Book Summary

In the spirit of her blockbuster #1 New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin embarks on a new project to make home a happier place.

One Sunday afternoon, as she unloaded the dishwasher, Gretchen Rubin felt hit by a wave of homesickness. Homesick - why? She was standing right in her own kitchen. She felt homesick, she realized, with love for home itself. "Of all the elements of a happy life," she thought, "my home is the most important." In a flash, she decided to undertake a new happiness project, and this time, to focus on home.

And what did she want from her home? A place that calmed her, and energized her. A place that, by making her feel safe, would free her to take risks. Also, while Rubin wanted to be happier at home, she wanted to appreciate how much happiness was there already.

So, starting in September (the new January), Rubin dedicated a school year - September through May - to making her home a place of greater simplicity, comfort, and love. 

In The Happiness Project, she worked out general theories of happiness. Here she goes deeper on factors that matter for home, such as possessions, marriage, time, and parenthood. How can she control the cubicle in her pocket? How might she spotlight her family's treasured possessions? And it really was time to replace that dud toaster.

Each month, Rubin tackles a different theme as she experiments with concrete, manageable resolutions - and this time, she coaxes her family to try some resolutions, as well. 

With her signature blend of memoir, science, philosophy, and experimentation, Rubin's passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading just a few chapters of this book will inspire readers to find more happiness in their own lives. 

Reader's Guide
Excerpt
Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Manifesto

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

Some of the recent comments posted about Happier at Home. Join the discussion! You can see the full discussion here.

[Couples] "who look the most alike report the happiest marriages."
I'm not sure, I definitely know couples that are very similar in those areas, but the majority of couples I know are different in big ways. My brother and sister in law are opposite ends of the political spectrum, and my parents' close friends are ... - mystinamarie

Being older
When you get older, its the small things that count. Smelling a babys head, wildflowers, starry nights, a hug when you need it. - carmen s

Did reading this book make you want to try one of the resolutions? Which one?
I will try to be a little nicer to my spouse. I let my husband read some of the points but I don't think they took. I liked the resolution a kiss at night and a kiss in the morning. - carmen s

Do like some of the author's ideas.
I think the author's ideas are interesting. For me personally, they were hard to relate to and I found this book a difficult read at first. Once I just appreciated that it was a very detailed look into someone else's thinking, I could read it more ... - ssh

Do you agree that clutter affects your happiness?
Absolutely. I find that a cluttered home leads to a cluttered mind--one that is preoccupied and less focused than usual. My Mom always used to say " a place for everything and everything in its place". I didn't understand that clearly as a child but ... - candaceb

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"...This perceptive sequel offers elegant musings about the nature of happiness combined with concrete ways to make the place where we sleep, eat, and watch TV truly a home." - Publishers Weekly

"With her characteristic mix of delightful charm, thoughtful research, and insightful advice, In Happier at Home Gretchen Rubin shows how to add fun, joy, and harmony to your home life. As usual with Rubin's work, I couldn't put this book down." - Susan Cain, New York Times bestselling author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

"Gretchen Rubin's inventive approach to creating a happier home life is as inspiring as it is informative." - Cheryl Strayed, bestselling author of Wild

"In her brilliantly insightful book Happier at Home, Gretchen Rubin shows how small changes can make a big difference to our everyday happiness. What better place to start than in our own homes?" - Chris Guillebeau, author of The Art of Non-Conformity, and The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future

"It's a rare book that inspires personal change and takes you on a rollicking adventure through history and into the minds of great thinkers. I'm grateful for Gretchen Rubin's work." - Brené Brown, Ph.D. Author of #1 New York Times bestselling book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way we Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

"In Happier at Home, Gretchen Rubin brilliantly shows us how to create an environment that embraces the people and the things that give us a sense of comfort, tranquility, and joy." -Harlan Coben, bestselling author of Six Years and Stay Close

"Rubin's warm, doable and sweet tips seem small when you check them off one by one. But the advice, added together, is a big ball of happy... Every mom will find gems in this book." - Parents.com

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Kate
Happy all the time
J.D. Salinger said, "what I like best is a book that's at least funny once in awhile....What really knocks me out is a book that when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call (her) up on the phone whenever you felt like it." That is how this book appealed to me. Gretchen Rubin seems like someone I would enjoy getting to know even better. This is not a manual of self help. This is the start of a conversation. Ms. Rubin doesn't always succeed in following her own rules and some of her descriptions of failures made me laugh. An example was when she yelled at her daughter through the bathroom door demanding that the child control herself. If we sat down and conversed about some of her ideas I would sometimes have cheered her on, sometimes suggested she rethink them and sometimes joined her immediately in her experiment. I would have been happy to share her pleasure in her projects. I am grateful that she shared her year with us.
I hope that others enjoy her writing as much as I did.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Asha
Inspiring, if you are open to it.
As a genre that I don't naturally veer toward, getting this from Bookbrowse for a club read, mandated that I read it. I am happy that I did, although most of the insights in it are pretty obvious.

All I can say is that after I read the book, I decided to try the author's approach of creating a shrine in my cluttered but favorite area at home.

It worked! I did sacrifice 5 hours of my Sunday to do it, but the end product was worth it.

I would recommend this book to those who need that little extra push to get started.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Diane S
Happier at Home
Written in an engaging and easy to read style, I still felt that much of this was just plain ol' common sense. How to be happier at home by sections, show more affection to those you live with, spend some time each day doing something you love, show interest in others personal interests, etc. See common sense, but a good read for those who need reminding or those who are at a lost. May find something in it that will help those who are looking for answers and those who are questioning if what they are doing is going to work.

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More Information

Gretchen Rubin is the author of several books, including the blockbuster #1 New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project. Rubin started her career in law and was clerking for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor when she realized that she really wanted to be a writer. Raised in Kansas City, she lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

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