Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin

I haven't read The Happiness Project (I regret not buying it in America when I saw it), so when I saw that another happiness book was out, I wanted to read it so badly. Happier at Home, which is a happiness project on how to make the home a happier place seemed like an intriguing read.

First off, my current home is a 15m squared room. I'm severely limited as to how I can customise it (dorm rules and such). But still, I'd like my room/home to be a place where I can feel safe (no small thing when studying overseas). While this book doesn't deal solely with the home (it goes into how your response to things), it's still pretty relevant.

The book follows her personal journey, which focuses on a specific incident month by month. Each month, this like Possessions, Neighbourhood, Interior Design (your character, not your house) is made the focus, and she shares with us her successes and failures.

What results is a very enjoyable read. There's no overload of information, but rather, it feels like she shares what she learns on her journey. Even though it's very specific, it is interesting to learn from her experience. In fact, I made quite a lot of bookmarks/highlights. (And also, when she mentioned how she wasn't adventurous, I felt an instant connection).

Most of the "advice" in the book is commonsense. Do one small thing at a time (and do it consistently). As Anthony Trollope said (and quoted in the book) "A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules."

Personally, I can't do a lot of the things that involve actual interior decorating (I'd like to have little miniature scenes hidden in my room but I have no money or space). So mostly, it's the character things that I'm going to try and adopt. The main one would be to be a tourist at home. I'm so lazy, that even though I live in Tokyo now, the furthest I've ever been is the Ramen Museum in Shin-Yokohama. I'm going to try to go to more places during the weekends.

Lastly, the phrase "Tiggers emerge in contrast to Eeyores, and Eeyores emerge in contrast to Tiggers" really struck a chord. I wondered why I sometimes suddenly become more energetic than usual. I used to think it was to irritate someone and I guess I was -partly- right. It makes sense that when I'm around people who are feeling down, I'd act even more cheerful; partly because I don't want to "catch" that feeling, and partly because I want to make them happy too. I guess I'll have to take care not to overdo that.

So, here's my rather random review. In fact, it's really more of a response to the book don't you think?

Disclaimer: I got this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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