On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you? Honestly. Right now.

Most people rate themselves as happy–as 7’s. In a 2006 survey 84 percent of Americans ranked themselves as ‘very happy’ or ‘pretty happy.'”

If your number is anything lower than 10, you can benefit from reading The Happiness Project. And even if it is 10, you can appreciate and understand your good fortune more by also reading this book. Our book club rated this book a 4 on a 5-point scale, and it generated more-than-usual conversation.

This book intrigues me because of its excellent marketing. Rubin created an outstanding “platform” four years ago through the establishment of a website which featured a blog that helped her write the book. In the book she offers the backstory of how her blog came to be, how she committed to posting six days/week (wow!), and the happiness benefits that resulted.

Through the blog Rubin built relationships to readers as sources who shared stories later published in the book. Of course, the blog readers also became book buyers and likely “buzz” generators. The processes of writing, interacting online, and marketing became intertwined.

Here are a few ideas I am going to try to implement after having read this book:

  • clean a closet and leave an empty shelf.
  • laugh out loud more than 20 times a day.
  • eat more vegetables and exercise regularly
  • consciously cultivate friendships new and old (including family)

The most important philosophical principle I derived from reading this book is that the search for happiness, when entered deeply and consciously, serves the welfare of others even more than it serves the seeker. One cannot be happy by oneself. We get happy by making other people happy.

The golden rule not only makes us moral. It also makes us healthy, wealthy, and wise.

This is a great book to give someone for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah,  or New Year. You can make your own resolution chart (an idea borrowed from Ben Franklin) and turn 2011 into your happiest year ever.

Shirley Showalter


  1. Richard Gilbert on November 25, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    I’m glad you flagged this book, Shirley. I’d stumbled upon her blog and also admired it and how it fed her project. It sounds worth reading.

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