A Happier Home

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, talks about her new project to improve her home life. Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life is an account of her nine-month experiment to make her home a place of greater simplicity, comfort, and love.


Gretchen Rubin

Comments [11]

caroline byrne

Huh? If this is not satire then there is no God.

Sep. 05 2012 12:52 PM
tom LI

this quote from the Amazon page sums up everything about the author and the book/s.

"...about the year I spend test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happy, to see what really worked."

A year? test-drivng the wisdom of the ages? Scientific studies and pop-culture on how to be happy...? Are you shilling me? And I do mean shill!

A year!!! Typical American no depth analysis...! A year!

Sep. 04 2012 04:29 PM
Jennifer from New York

I am surprised by all of the negative comments on here. I read Ms. Rubin's first book and really enjoyed it. I have been dealing with major financial and family issues so I guess I, too, could rail at Ms. Rubin for her luck in life and her audacity to write such books. Instead, I'm glad she did so.

Sep. 04 2012 02:38 PM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

... still very annoyed about her "shrine." It's a little too precious for my taste.

Sep. 04 2012 01:18 PM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

Rubin offers solutions to your wealthy white people problems. She doesn't believe in feng shui but she does believe in all or nothing. Why should I care about what she has to say? What an obnoxious twit.

Sep. 04 2012 01:04 PM
Mimette from NY

Yes, I agree with Bob. I'd love to be happier at home, but I'd have to drop one of my 3 jobs to get there.

Sep. 04 2012 01:02 PM
Andrea from Manhattan

As a Feng Shui practioner, I must correct Ms. Rubin, Feng Shui isn't a religion and not something you "believe" in, Feng Shui just simply is, whether you "believe" or not. Feng Shui is working with the energy in a space and improving its flow. (Many people are more comfortable with the term "Environmental Psychology") I encourage her to learn more about Feng Shui.

Sep. 04 2012 12:59 PM
Maria from Morningside Hts.

I read a profile of Ms. Rubin in the NYT describing her home and family life. I was struck by two things: one is that her husband is a hedge-fund manager, so presumably money is not in short supply in her household. She has, to be sure, Virginia Wolfe's "500 pounds a year and a room of her own." The other is that her hedge-fund husband offers to help clean up! Not only helps but initiates it.

“My husband is neat, too,” she said. “He’ll say, ‘Let’s take 20 minutes and tidy up.’ We’re both pathologically prompt and that leads to harmony for us.”

Sep. 04 2012 12:58 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

"perfect bliss" is easy when you swim in seven decimal places. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Sep. 04 2012 12:57 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Along with buying self-help books, women tend to be the ones who:

Hire personal trainers for exercise

Have life coaches and career coaches

Believe more in astrology and those rocks/stones/minerals (I forget that they are called) and visit psychics

Why is this?

Sep. 04 2012 12:56 PM
Bob West from Cranford, NJ

From an Amazon review of former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin's daughter-in-law's first book:
Would you read a book called "The Happiness Project" if the cover depicted a bored, skinny, highly connected multimillionare leisurely staring out of her Manhattan mansion from her bed, rereading her favorite childhood books, fretting over her weight, gazing indifferently at her collection of bird memorabilia, and finding fault with her multimillionare husband while a nanny watched her children and a housecleaner tidied her home?

No you would not, and Harper Collins knows this, which is why the cover features humble tenements and handwritten script and omits any detail that would make you think she's not just an arty mom from Brooklyn looking to focus on the bright side of life.

Who is she really? The way she tells it, she's a lawyer who boldly gave up a law career to pursue her passion, writing. She neglects to mention that this was not much of a risk given that she is married to the son of Robert Rubin, former Treasury Secretary under Clinton, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup guy who personally helped ensure that derivatives stayed unregulated, netting millions for himself and billions of taxpayer bailout for his companies.

Once you know this, the story is unpalatable. Rubin and Harper Collins know this, and go to great lengths to maintain the ruse that Rubin is an everywoman, writing that she hesitates to purchase a $2 pen, or a new blender, or new shirts. Yet how can she really write an honest happy project if she is not truthful?

It is deceitful that she would say how tidying her home made her so much happier when you know that she has had a staff all along that can help her with just that. It seems odd that she encourages parents to remember "the days are long but the years are short" (an old saying she curiously takes credit for) when apparently she is spending much of her time reading and working on her pet project while a nanny looks after her baby. It seems unfair that she uses herself as an example of pursuing your dreams when you know she had years and years of leisure time to do anything or nothing she wanted, given her family's economic situation, not to mention extraordinary connections that would have given her tremendous advantages over another aspiring writer.

Maybe Rubin really did want to be a little happier, and that's fair. She's not a bad writer, and some of the ideas are good. (Minus flavoring salads with aspartame to stay slim.) But if she is going to sell her project to people who are probably genuinely suffering, quite likely at least a few of them in some part due to her own family's actions, then she should be honest about who she is and what her circumstances are like.

Sep. 04 2012 12:51 PM

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