Tag Archives: Gretchen Rubin

Better Than Before – Gretchen Rubin


I do not like the way the title of this book has been translated into Italian: it means “It is easy to change”. You just wait that the title goes on with “if you know how to do it”… but this is the way italian editors work.

Well, at first sight it seems that the author is obsessed with self-improvement, and this can give you the impression that she is rather perfectionist and fuss-pot, thas she is Always looking for a better way to spare time, read more books, write more, meet more people, be lean, be a good mother and wife and so on. I must admit that this first impression did not let her be very funny to me.

She often uses phases and episodes taken from the lives of her fans in internet or from chats with her friends, because she like to share her current passions with everybody to test if her opinions are true. Anyway, this method is rather subjective.

This is why I do not consider this book as a real self-help book. I rather consider it like a good chat with someone who is trying to improve herself. This is not little.

How many people do you know wich purpose is to become better than before? Maybe you know someone who tries to be the best in something, the best manager, the best mother, the best athlete and so on, but this is not the same thing. I would rather consider it like the opposite, in a certain way.

Gretchen Rubin does give you some nice tips on how to get good habits. The first tip is to work on yourself, to know yourself (although I think that her classification method is rather strict). One of her mantra is “be Gretchen“. We must learn to know ourselves and be ourselves.

What I do not agree on, is her diet habit.

I became vegan after having read a lot of books on diet and health, not only by vegan authors. I think I discovered the true secret to understand if a scientific research is good or not, and this secret is the time.

I bet that she has lost weight with a high protein diet. Of course she did, everybody does, it is physiological because our body normally works by carbs burning. And if you look at all high protein diet researches, you will see that they are tested on the short run (max one, one and a half year). On the long run, people either gain again their initial weight or they develop illnesses. At the end, I do not think that Rubin’s diet habit is better than before. Maybe better than the standard american diet, but in this case she is just leaner than before.

I hope that she can read some books of plant-based doctors (Esselstyn, Campbell, Barnard, McDougall, Fuhrmann and many Others). She is a book lover, I do not doubt that sooner or later she will put a question mark on her high protein diet habit.

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The happiness project – Gretchen Rubin

imageWhy do you work? Why do you spend your time with family and friends? Why do you cultivate your hobbies? Why do you sing? Why do you meditate? Why do you watch TV?

Maybe you would like to give a different answers to all these questions. Actually, the answer is just one: to be happy.
Happiness, as discovered hundreds of years ago by most important philosophers, is the final goal of each of our actions.
Pay attention: happiness, not pleausure. You feel happiness when you invest in somethingl, in growth, for you or for others. You feel pleasure when you consume something.

This book is a self-help memoir. Gretchen starten her personal Happiness Project by programming it during a Whole year. Each month focused on one issue:

– January: energy and vitality
– February: marriage
– March: work
– April: parenthood
– May: leisure and hobbies
– June: friendship
– July: money
– August: eternity
– September: your passion (in her case: books)
– October: Mindfulness
– November: attitude in doing all these things
– December: happiness in general.

She did not want to change her life from top to bottom. She wanted to be happy exactly where she was, with her family, job, city. This is one thing that we hardly understand: we dream to change work or to expatriate to the Caribbeans (well, a book cannot make me change my mind…), but if by chance we manage to do this, we notice that we face the same Self. Well, not a case that one of her comandments was “Be Gretchen”.

Do not try to love something because you think that you should love it. I would like to love more classical music and jazz, but I do not. On the contrary, I love pop music, above all when I can follow it well during my running. I would like to love shopping, just to have something to chat with some ladies, but I do not. I would like to love romance books, but I do not.

The changes that Gretchen introduced into her life were all little: starting a reading Group, uncluttering, controlling her tongue when rage was starting, stopping nagging.

Above all she experienced that new things/event/people/activities boosted her happiness level.
I would never follow her suggestion about diet (she is a great fun of coffee and for sure, no vegan), but she has unclosed a forgotten wisdom mass that we shall Always remember: if you want to be happy, think and act happy.
Nothing more. So simple.


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