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!
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.
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.
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.
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.