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Happier at Home
This book will inspire readers to find more happiness in their own lives.
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Gretchen says that she has always been pretty happy. Did you find her reflections on happiness helpful, nevertheless? Or do you think it’s more valuable to read an account by someone facing more difficulties?

Created: 01/06/14

Replies: 14

Posted Jan. 06, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

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Gretchen says that she has always been pretty happy. Did you find her reflections on happiness helpful, nevertheless? Or do you think it’s more valuable to read an account by someone facing more difficulties?

Many memoirs recount the author's struggle to be happy in the face of a major challenge like cancer,
divorce, an unhappy childhood, massive weight loss, and the like. In the book's opening, Gretchen says that she has always been pretty happy. Did you find her reflections on happiness helpful, nevertheless? Or do you think it’s more valuable to read an account by someone facing more difficulties?


Posted Jan. 06, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sweeney

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 26

RE: Gretchen says that she has always been pretty happy. Did you find her reflections on happiness helpful, nevertheless? Or do you think it’s more valuable to read an account by someone facing more difficulties?

I think there are things that can be learned from both points of view. In some ways, Gretchen is using a scholarly method versus being batted about by the waves of life. I believe there are always insights from anyone that can be helpful...sometimes it just needs to be at a certain time in your life to connect with the lesson.


Posted Jan. 06, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
mystinamarie

Join Date: 12/19/12

Posts: 33

RE: Gretchen says that she has always been pretty happy. Did you find her reflections on happiness helpful, nevertheless? Or do you think it’s more valuable to read an account by someone facing more difficulties?

I personally didn't find Gretchen's reflections on happiness to be all that relatable. I know I'd be hard pressed to find somebody writing a book with all of my same life challenges to relate to, but Gretchen's life seemed pretty bland to need to reflect on finding happiness.


Posted Jan. 06, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kathleenr

Join Date: 12/07/12

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RE: Gretchen says that she has always been pretty happy. Did you find her reflections on happiness helpful, nevertheless? Or do you think it’s more valuable to read an account by someone facing more difficulties?

I did find the reflections of a generally happy person helpful. I share many of the benefits that can be the source of happiness, such as friends, family, work, comfortable home. But I was happy to share her thoughts on happiness and the ways she sought to increase it. Books written by people who are miserably unhappy at the beginning don't speak to me. They start with thoroughly dysfunctional lives brought on by poor judgment or terrible luck and barely get it together by a miracle at the end. Those don't interest me.


Posted Jan. 06, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

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RE: Gretchen says that she has always been pretty happy. Did you find her reflections on happiness helpful, nevertheless? Or do you think it’s more valuable to read an account by someone facing more difficulties?

What I also found helpful was that she wasn't unrealistically happy, either. She didn't expect to be happy all the time, she was simply striving to be happier. I don't think I would have enjoyed the book as much if she were super-super chipper.


Posted Jan. 06, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Beth350

Join Date: 04/15/11

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RE: Gretchen says that she has always been pretty happy. Did you find her reflections on happiness helpful, nevertheless? Or do you think it’s more valuable to read an account by someone facing more difficulties?

Because Gretchen's life has gone pretty smoothly, she is an "expert" on happiness. However, I am not at all convinced that using someone else's ideas of happiness or their methods of achieving happiness can be effective. Each individual situation, chemical and hormonal balance, philosophy of life, and challenging cohorts are different and require individualized attention. For some, happiness isn't the "end all, be all" in life. They may find usefulness or contentment to be higher on the pantheon of desirable feelings.


Posted Jan. 07, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kathleenw

Join Date: 04/16/12

Posts: 15

RE: Gretchen says that she has always been pretty happy. Did you find her reflections on happiness helpful, nevertheless? Or do you think it’s more valuable to read an account by someone facing more difficulties?

Gretchen's reflections were not helpful to me. It was hard to relate to someone who graduated from Yale Law School, clerked for a Supreme Court Justice, is obviously financially well-off, striving for happiness. There were too many personal stories for my taste, and some seemed like too much information.

What I did find extremely useful, however, was Gretchen applying her touchstone to "Be Gretchen" and find specific, measurable ways to make her life happier and more meaningful. She used examples from her life, which was practicing what she preached, but often felt like a peek into issues that the upper class face.


Posted Jan. 07, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 63

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RE: Gretchen says that she has always been pretty happy. Did you find her reflections on happiness helpful, nevertheless? Or do you think it’s more valuable to read an account by someone facing more difficulties?

I am generally a cup-half-full person myself, and I'd much rather read a story like Gretchen's than one by a miserably person who achieved the same net increase in happiness. I thought much of what she had to say was commons sense, but she organized the common sense and offered simple principles that could be useful to anyone, even an unhappy person, who wanted to improve his or her outlook.


Posted Jan. 07, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
debrav

Join Date: 08/16/11

Posts: 10

RE: Gretchen says that she has always been pretty happy. Did you find her reflections on happiness helpful, nevertheless? Or do you think it’s more valuable to read an account by someone facing more difficulties?

Gretchen has (obviously) not lived a hard life. Having enough support to give up a career that is not making you happy is a gift! Many people continue to work at careers/jobs that are not fulfilling (or worse) because they have to put food on the table. I think she has constructive, positive things to say about personal happiness -- but also believe that you need a little help from life to be happy!


Posted Jan. 08, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
terriej

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 88

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RE: Gretchen says that she has always been pretty happy. Did you find her reflections on happiness helpful, nevertheless? Or do you think it’s more valuable to read an account by someone facing more difficulties?

I think happiness resonates happiness. If more dialog was given to strife, it would take longer to get to the happiness that one can find within oneself.


Posted Jan. 13, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lynnw

Join Date: 09/01/11

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RE: Gretchen says that she has always been pretty happy. Did you find her reflections on happiness helpful, nevertheless? Or do you think it’s more valuable to read an account by someone facing more difficulties?

I suppose my life has been more like Gretchen's than people who have endured truly difficult situations. I think when you read how someone has pulled themselves up from dire situations and found real happiness it just has a lot more meaning and makes me personally feel that almost anything is possible.


Posted Jan. 13, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dianes

Join Date: 05/16/11

Posts: 53

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RE: Gretchen says that she has always been pretty happy. Did you find her reflections on happiness helpful, nevertheless? Or do you think it’s more valuable to read an account by someone facing more difficulties?

It served as a reminder more than new helpful advice. I think much of this is common sense and I too think everyone looks for their own ideals of happiness. Sometimes these books make people who are already content and happy, feel like maybe their expectations are too low.


Posted Jan. 13, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

Posts: 102

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Happiness

I love hearing that others are happy, it is always hard for me to know that people I care about are not happy.
I do find it interesting to read or hear about someone who has overcome adversity, but usually find those people have a strong internal core they are sometime content even in their time of trouble.


Posted Jan. 23, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
mystinamarie

Join Date: 12/19/12

Posts: 33

RE: Gretchen says that she has always been pretty happy. Did you find her reflections on happiness helpful, nevertheless? Or do you think it’s more valuable to read an account by someone facing more difficulties?

KathleenW I definitely agree, there was a lot of dialogue, which not having her educational and employment background, I wasn't able to relate to.

debrav, yes, like I said in my original post, her life seemed kind of bland to have needed to strive so much for happiness. She was afforded a lot of freedoms to have a comfortable life, be able to quit her job, have a happy healthy marriage, have healthy kids, and a good education and career history. Most people don't have all of those at once, so I think those people won't benefit as much from the book because they have to face obstacles Gretchen didn't and still make it through those to find their happiness.


Posted Jan. 23, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
gigik

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 11

RE: Gretchen says that she has always been pretty happy. Did you find her reflections on happiness helpful, nevertheless? Or do you think it’s more valuable to read an account by someone facing more difficulties?

I cannot say I could even relate to her reflections at this age and stage of life. Looking at the other books being discussed, I'd say this book did not lend itself to much discussion for some reason. Gigi


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