Looking for our happiness with Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin is changing the world..and teaching us to be happy along the way.

With four New York Times bestsellers, a podcast, speaker engagements, and being the creator of the Four Tendencies framework…she’s a real life happiness expert!

 

The Happiness Project

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany: “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to a happiness project. With humour and insight, she chronicles her adventures during the year she spent test driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Rubin didn’t have the option to uproot herself -nor did she want to- instead, she focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to Martin Seligman to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her and what didn’t.

 

 

Better Than Before

Tackling the critical question “How do we change?”. Gretchen Rubin’s answer is simple; through habits. Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. It takes work to make a habit, but once that habit is set, we can harness the energy of habits to build happier, stronger, more productive lives. So if habits are a key to change, then what we really need to know is: How do we change our habits? Better than Before answers that question. It presents a practical, concrete framework to allow readers to understand their habits and to change them for good. Infused with Rubin’s compelling voice, rigorous research, and easy humour, and packed with vivid stories of lives transformed, Better than Before explains the (sometimes counter-intuitive) core principles of habit formation. Along the way, Rubin uses herself as guinea pig, tests her theories on family and friends, and answers readers’ most pressing questions.

 

 

Happier at Home

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 realised, 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 energised 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. Each month, Rubin tackled a different theme as she experimented with concrete, manageable resolutions and this time, she coaxed her family to try some resolutions as well.

 

 

The Four Tendencies

Gretchen Rubin realised that by asking the seemingly dry question ‘How do I respond to expectations?’ we gain explosive self-knowledge. She discovered that based on their answer, people fit into four Tendencies: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels. Our Tendency shapes every aspect of our behaviour, so using this framework allows us to make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress, and engage more effectively. More than 800,000 people have taken her online quiz (here’s the link), and managers, doctors, teachers, spouses, and parents already use the framework to help people make significant, lasting change. With sharp insight, compelling research, and hilarious examples, The Four Tendencies will help you get happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative.

 

You can read Gretchen’s blog here and listen to her podcast here.

Enjoy!

Top 10 Most Clicked Books on Booko This Year

Some days choosing a book can be a little tricky…there’s just so many good ones out there that a recommendation would make things so much easier. Thankfully, we have a great little tab on the site that shows you what everyone else is clicking on to read next…and we have made finding that tab super easy as it’s called “Most Clicked” and the range of books our community is viewing, buying and researching is wide and varied. There is bound to be a title that piques your interest.

Here are the 10 most popular books so far this year:

 

#1 The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape

This is the only money guide you’ll ever need. That’s a bold claim, given there are already thousands of finance books on the shelves. So what makes this one different? Well, you won’t be overwhelmed with a bunch of ‘tips’ … or a strict budget (that you won’t follow). You’ll get a step-by-step formula: open this account, then do this; call this person, and say this; invest money here, and not there. All with a glass of wine in your hand. This book will show you how to create an entire financial plan that is so simple you can sketch it on the back of a serviette … and you’ll be able to manage your money in 10 minutes a week.

 

 

#2 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson

What does everyone in the modern world need to know? Renowned psychologist Jordan B. Peterson’s answer to this most difficult of questions uniquely combines the hard-won truths of ancient tradition with the stunning revelations of cutting-edge scientific research. Humorous, surprising and informative, Dr. Peterson tells us why skateboarding boys and girls must be left alone, what terrible fate awaits those who criticise too easily, and why you should always pet a cat when you meet one on the street. What does the nervous system of the lowly lobster have to tell us about standing up straight (with our shoulders back) and about success in life? Why did ancient Egyptians worship the capacity to pay careful attention as the highest of gods? What dreadful paths do people tread when they become resentful, arrogant and vengeful? Dr. Peterson journeys broadly, discussing discipline, freedom, adventure and responsibility, distilling the world’s wisdom into 12 practical and profound rules for life.

 

 

#3 The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers

From the best-selling author of The Circle, the true story of a young Yemeni-American man, raised in San Francisco, who dreams of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee but finds himself trapped in Sana’a by civil war–and his riveting tale of escape. Mokhtar Alkhanshali grew up in San Francisco, one of seven siblings brought up by Yemeni immigrants in a tiny apartment. At age twenty four, unable to pay for college, he works as a doorman, until a statue of an Arab raising a cup of coffee awakens something in him. He sets out to learn the rich history of coffee in Yemen and the complex art of tasting and identifying varietals. He travels to Yemen and visits countless farms, collecting samples, eager to bring improved cultivation methods to the countryside. And he is on the verge of success when civil war engulfs Yemen in 2015. The US Embassy closes, Saudi bombs began to rain down on the country, and Mokhtar is trapped in Yemen. Desperate to escape, he embarks on a passage that has him negotiating with duelling political factions and twice kidnapped at gunpoint. With no other options, he hires a skiff to take him, and his coffee samples, across the Red Sea. A heart-pounding true story that weaves together the history of coffee, the ongoing Yemeni civil war, and the courageous journey of a young man following the most American of dreams.

 

 

#4 The Unreal and the Real: The Selected Short Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin by Ursula K Le Guin

The Unreal and the Real is a collection of some of Ursula K. Le Guin’s best short stories. She has won multiple prizes and accolades from the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to the Newbery Honour, the Nebula, Hugo, World Fantasy, and PEN/Malamud Awards. She has had her work collected over the years, but this is the first short story volume combining a full range of her work.

 

 

 

 

 

#5 Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff

With extraordinary access to the Trump White House, Michael Wolff tells the inside story of the most controversial presidency of our time. The first nine months of Donald Trump’s term were stormy, outrageous and absolutely mesmerising. Now, thanks to his deep access to the West Wing, bestselling author Michael Wolff tells the riveting story of how Trump launched a tenure as volatile and fiery as the man himself. In this explosive book, Wolff provides a wealth of new details about the chaos in the Oval Office.

 

 

 

 

 

#6 The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Black Swan is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision making in a world we don’t understand. A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable, it carries a massive impact, and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives. Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities. We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we don’t know. We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorise, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the “impossible.”

 

 

#7 The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden

It’s comforting to imagine that superstars in their fields were just born better equipped than the rest of us. When a co-worker loses 20 pounds, or a friend runs a marathon while completing a huge project at work, we assume they have more grit, more willpower, more innate talent, and above all, more motivation to see their goals through. But that’s not at actually true, as popular Inc.com columnist Jeff Haden proves. “Motivation” as we know it is a myth. Motivation isn’t the special sauce that we require at the beginning of any major change. In fact, motivation is a result of process, not a cause. Understanding this will change the way you approach any obstacle or big goal. Haden shows us how to reframe our thinking about the relationship of motivation to success. He meets us at our level, at the beginning of any big goal we have for our lives, a little anxious and unsure about our way forward, a little burned by self help books and strategies that have failed us in the past and offers practical advice that anyone can use to stop stalling and start working on those dreams. Haden takes the mystery out of accomplishment, proving that success isn’t about spiritual awakening or a lightning bolt of inspiration, but instead, about clear and repeatable processes.

 

 

#8 Hickory Dickory Dash by Tony Wilson, Laura Wood

It’s so great to see a Children’s book in the top ten! Before the clock infamously strikes one, a poor mother mouse must search the house for her two missing sons. But she’d better watch out for the cat!

 

 

 

 

 

#9 Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2 by Elena Favilli

This book has been popular since it came out…as it followed on from its ground breaking #1 version (which you can click here for details). Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls 2 features 100 new bedtime stories, each inspired by the life and adventures of extraordinary women from Nefertiti to Beyonce. The unique narrative style transforms each biography into a fairy tale, filling the readers with wonder and with a burning curiosity to know more about each hero.

 

 

 

 

#10 Havana: A Subtropical Delirium by Mark Kurlansky

A city of tropical heat, ramshackle beauty, and its very own cadence, a city that always surprises, Havana is brought to pulsing life by New York Times bestselling author Mark Kurlansky. Kurlansky presents an insider’s view of Havana: the elegant, tattered city he has come to know over more than thirty years. Part cultural history, part travelogue, with recipes, historic engravings, photographs, and Kurlansky’s own pen-and-ink drawings throughout, Havana celebrates the city’s singular music, literature, baseball, and food; its five centuries of outstanding, neglected architecture; and its extraordinary blend of cultures. Through Mark Kurlansky’s multilayered and electrifying portrait, the long-elusive city of Havana comes stirringly to life.

 

Enjoy!