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October 19, 2015

Better Than Before

better_front_FINAL.inddBetter Than Before

By: Gretchen Rubin

Known for her books The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, in her latest book Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin switches from a focus on happiness to the specifics of habit-making and -breaking that can lead to more happiness in our everyday lives.  Her point is not to recommend certain habits or instigate a life makeover, but rather to help her readers make their lives better than before, however they might define “better.”  For that reason, everyone’s own habits and changes will differ.  Moreover, one of the most valuable aspects of this book is Rubin’s delineation of all the various styles and tendencies people of differing personalities bring into their processes of habit-formation.  Even though I have read numerous books on personality theory, while reading Better Than Before, I discovered many helpful new aspects of my own personality, discoveries that should prove very helpful in improving my approach to habit-formation.

Another reason I highly recommend this book is Rubin’s writing style and prolific use of examples.  Even for those who typically stick to novels, I suggest giving this book a try, as Rubin’s style reads more like a memoir than a scientific treatise.  In fact, I found myself reading much longer in one sitting than I usually do with a similar type of book.  Rubin is not so interested in laying out principles as she is in illustrating them in her own life or the lives of those around her.  It feels as though she is taking you with her on her journey into understanding her new topic of interest.  And she does this deliberately, as she says observing and listening to the experiences of others is far more helpful to her than generalized principles when she is learning something new, even if she has very little in common with the person she is observing.

If you are at all interested in meeting new goals, improving your lifestyle, finding more everyday happiness, or understanding the factors involved in forming good habits, I suggest you put this book at the top of your self-improvement reading list.

Review By: Alison Orpurt