The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin: Book Summary

In this book summary of The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, you’ll find my notes, high-level ideas, valuable lessons, and important action steps.

The Happiness Project Summary

Each person is different, and that’s why each person’s happiness project should also be different.

According to research, genetics comprises about 50% of happiness levels, life circumstances is 10 to 20%, and the other 30 to 40% comes from the thoughts and actions of the individual. This means you can improve how happy you feel.

Some action steps to boost energy include going to sleep earlier, exercising better, organizing your surroundings, tackling an annoying task, and simply acting more energetic.

To improve your love life, stop nagging, don’t expect to be appreciated, fight fair, don’t dump on them, and show your love.

Gretchen found more happiness in work by launching a blog, enjoying failure, asking others for help, working smart, and appreciating the present.

Singing in the morning, acknowledging people’s real feelings, holding and sharing happy memories, and spending quality time on projects are a few ways to get more happiness out of being a parent.

You’ll find more enjoyment in leisure when you allow yourself to find more fun, joke around, do unexpected things, and begin a collection.

Finding joy in friendships can be improved when you remember birthdays, are generous, show up, don’t spread rumors, and make an effort to make new friends.

Money can make you happier when you modestly splurge, purchase things you need, don’t keep score of purchases, and give up something you don’t need to buy.

Reading about other people’s catastrophic personal events, keeping a gratitude journal, and imitating a spiritual giant can help your soul connect with the eternal aspect of life.

Passion and happiness go together, so the author Gretchen Rubin wrote a novel, made time for her passion (reading), forgot about the results, and mastered a new technology to become happier.

Mindfulness affects happiness, so meditation, thinking about why you make decisions, stretching the mind in new ways, and keeping track of what you eat may boost your mood.

Laughing more, having good manners, being positive, and finding a safe escape are likely to give you a good attitude and happy heart.

Putting all of your habits together is the true test for maximum happiness, though it is so worth it.

Gretchen’s best tool in her happiness project was her resolutions chart, which evaluated and reminder her of the month’s resolutions.

The whole point of doing a happiness project is to take action so you change and actually become happier for the long-term. Taking action is a necessity here.

Mini Summary

Spending significant time and energy on your happiness isn’t selfish. It can actually be the best for everyone because it improves your life and the lives around you.

Your daily habits influence your happiness far more than an activity you do once every month or so. Focus on improving your daily rituals is the surest way to become happier.

You don’t have as much time as you think because life is short. So you have to prioritize the things that matter to you and make you happy, before it’s too late.

Three Favorite Quotes

“One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.”

“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.”

“When I find myself focusing overmuch on the anticipated future happiness of arriving at a certain goal, I remind myself to ‘Enjoy now’. If I can enjoy the present, I don’t need to count on the happiness that is (or isn’t) waiting for me in the future.”

Action Steps For You

I always recommend you go a step farther and actually read the entire books I summarize—not just the summaries—though you probably need to prioritize reading this one above all. We’re talking about your happiness after all.

Your first action step is to order this book and read about the author’s own happiness project. During her experiments, you’ll pick up creative ideas that will add to your happiness.

Then begin your own happiness project:

1) Reflect on what makes you happy, plus what puts you in a bad mood.

2) Think of specific, concrete actions that improve your happiness.

3) Keep your happiness resolutions for as long as you live (or until they change).

Then I believe you need to make a consistent effort to check in on your happiness. This could be monthly, weekly, or even daily. Just set up a reminder on your phone or in a note that gets you to check in on how you’re feeling and why.

Whether you’re a 1 out 10 on the happy scale or a 9 out of 10, I took this book as a direct sign I need to prioritize more of my happiness. And so do you!

Order The Happiness Project

Buy this book.

Or check out other book recommendations to become more successful.

Brian Robben

Brian Robben is the founder of Take Your Success, a site dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs grow a profitable business and reach freedom. For in-depth training, visit:

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I’ve found that doing gratitudes before I go to bed and after I wake up has had a large effect on my happiness. Being thankful for what you have is very important. I was reading another post about minimalism and I commented that life should be about your friends, family, and yourself, not necessarily the stuff you have. By being grateful for the daily experiences you have, or the people around you, you will become happier 🙂 (To your first quote, when you make others happy, you can improve your own happiness)

    1. Brian Robben

      Cheers to making others and ourselves happier! Life is good, whether we always realize it or not.

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