Tag Archives: happiness

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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Pharmacy for the soul, Osho


In the list of Osho’s book that I liked the most, this is at the last place.

It is a list of different kinds of meditations, but at the beginning of the book the author warns you not to apply them all: you have to take one, that you feel the most suitable for your issue, and go on with that for the time indicated (or more, if you want/can).

But the meditations are a lot… and each of us has more than one issue to heal. As a result: either I chose one meditation and go on with it (but in this case it is useless to go on reading the book) or I try to apply them all, one after one. After one. After one. After one…. till I will become 70 years old and I will understand the one that was most suitable for me.

No problem, in each book there is always something to save. In this case, it is the chapter about the moods.

I try to translate some sentences:

Unhappiness makes you special. Happiness is a universal phenomenom, has nothing special. Nobody like a happy person (…). If you are happy, you are individual, if you are unhappy, you are part of the mass. (…) When you are unhappy, you are conformist and society loves conformity. (…) If someone is unhappy, help him but do not get on with him; Do not give him the impression that unhappiness is something worthy.

This is 100% true. If you are happy, you authomatically become envied, as if there would not be enough happiness for everyone in this world, as if you had stolen something that is available only in little quantity on this earth.

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The Reluctant Buddhist – William Woollard

imageLet’s talk about Nichiren’s Buddhism.

William Woollard, scientific TV author, got first introduced to Buddhism during his travels in the far East. Then – after his divorce, that left in him a deep scar – he met Sarah, who became his girlfriend, and who already was buddhist. Wollard started studying this “religion” just to find some arguments to rebut hers.

He was convinced that Buddhism had nothing to do in our current world, full of consumism and work: he still had in mind the stereotyped Buddhism, not the true one.

Actually page after page, practice after practice, meeting after meeting, he discovered a more profound meaning, something that went beyond the statues and the incenses. He found out the he felt better.

A lot of self help books, nowadays, try to help people to find happiness just taking some isolated suggestions of Buddhism.

Its aims is to find happiness. Happiness is not something that we can find outside; we all know this, and despite this we go on looking for richness, partners, holidays, houses, cars, jewelry and so on.

Happiness is a choice. It has nothing to do with religion, if with this word we just mean some outside practice and obedience. It is all about self confidence: the certainity that we can become better than we currently are.

Somethimes we just forget it. Therefore: just memento!

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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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The 21 Success Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires – Brian Tracy


imageIn this book I found some things that I liked and some other ones that I did not like at all.

I liked that many suggestions do not refer to money alone.

Tracy tells you to find a job that you love, so that you do not need to work (actually, this was a Confucio’s suggestion), to write down your goals, to make big dreams that nobody is more intelligent than you, that it is not necessary to be rich to be happy, to read a lot, to stay with positive people, to avoid plaintive friends, to take care of own health

On the other hand, when he explains what to do to become richer, I am in dismay.
What? Shall I save 10% of my wage each month? Why does he need to tell you this? Does it mean that in the USA it is normal to live without saving anything, through debits and credit card and overdrawn accounts?
Frugality is the keyword for Tracy. Spare and invest, spare and invest.
OK, but why should I live sparing and investing? The goal is to become rich in the mature years, it seems. To enjoy the life when you are old and retired.

Above all I did not like the chapter about the maximum commitment. I mean: I commit to my job, I like to go home after having done what I had to, but Tracy is going much further. He tells you to work harder and harder, much more than the 40 hours each week: self-made millionaires work around 59 hours each week, you should do the same!!!

And then: do not waste time. Do not chat with your colleagues and tell them that you cannot talk, if they try to involve you in some kind of time wasting. Work all the time, do not lift your head, stay on the paper and you will drawn attention on you… go to work one hour earlier, work during the break, stay on the workplace one hour later…


Yes, says Tracy, this is how you can build your best reputation on work.
Well, best reputation with the boss, maybe, but what about relationship with colleagues? This guy is worse than me.

I still have the bad sensation that, when he says that you must take care of other people, he always says this because you myst then get something back.

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You deserve the Best – Lucia Giovannini

imageLucia Giovannini is a former fashion model. She has a Doctorate in Psychology and Counselling and she is member of American Psychological Association. She is a NLP trainer and she has founded BlessYou! association, wich aims to personal and social consciousness.

Although the main tecniques she mentions are the same ones of Tony Robbins (for instance, the “Questions” tecnique), I like giovannini for her personality.

She has reached her self consciousness through a very personal path, she has travelled all around the world to study different spiritual ways, and her approach doesn’t aim to success, but to happiness. It could seems the same thing, but the change of words is a change of mindset.

The part I like most is the one about habits and training.

Little gestures make the difference. Big transformations are due to piling up of many little steps and little results. Everything starts from habits wich lead our lives. We do not choose our future, habits do it.

The secret of our future is written in our daily routine.

The only way to change a habit, is to create a new one. You can choose calm instead of anger, for instance and thus reinforce the neuronal path of calm.

In the daily life you forget the power of choices. You forget to choose.

You take what you find in your path, you do not look for something else. You are content with this house, this husband, this work, this country. As if you do not deserve the best.

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What do you really want for your children? – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

imageThe more I read on children management, the more I grow convinced that, before working on children, we must work on ourselves.

If a child curses, doesn’t eat, spits, is sad, first of all you, parent, shall work on yourself, because you probably curse, have some eating disorder, spit, are sad.

Do you lack of resilience? So will probably your child.

Do you suffer from depression? So will probably your child.

Do you always give the fault of your situation to other people, economy, world? Well, so probably will your child

You would never guess that you harm your son by telling him to put gloves and cap before going out in the snow, would you? Well, it depends how and how often you tell this. You could nurture in him the fear for his health. And a fear, wichever it can be, it is alten a self-fulfilling prophecy.

My son is almost seven years old. Each day, while I wait for him coming out from his classroom, I watch the parents and the relatives chatting on the courtyard and on the road. Have you ever noticed how few persons are joyful? How few human beings are smiling?

Have you ever listened to their chats? They are usually criticizing other parents for doing or not doing certain things. If not, they are deploring taxes, low incomes, illnesses, weather, prices, meals, facebook, relatives, roads, doctors, jobs, neighbours, traffic, diets, religions, movies…

We are training children to grow exactly like we are.

We are stopped by our fears, and we tell them day by day. pay attention to this, pay attention to that… We focus on problems, instead of solutions. We live in the past or in the future, forgetting the present. We regret to be judged, but we judge every step we take.

We are opting for heavy lives and are robbing our children of choice power.

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Your Erroneous Zones – Wayne Dyer

imageWich is the problem?

Where does it come from?

How to fix it?

These are the three points that Dyer touches for each of our erroneous zones.

You know what? I have all of these Erroneous Zones. All of Them! But at the end, far away from depressing myself, after the reading of this book I am more inspired that ever. Because lack of self esteem, appreciation needs, rage, laziness, restessness and so on, are all the results of our thoughts and habits. Therefore, they are curable.

My biggest problem, anyway, is my memory. I forget that the erroneous zones are curable! I forget to monitorize them. And, similarly to a lot of other people, I fear, I forget that I have them. This is why I go on reading such books: to remind myself that the work on oneself never ends.

Lack of self confidence? It can break out in several ways: gossips, red faces, envy… but if you want to declare war to this erroneous zone, do start with something little. A nice present foryou, for instance. Or you can simply tell to your chatterbox friend to wait one minute and to let you place a sentence on the matter you (she) are discussing.

Are you restless about your future, the politics, the weather? Try with action. Do something: go out, call an old friend, cut some flowers, clean the house, go swimming, lack your nails…

Are you unhappy for unknown reasons? Try to learn something new, something you have never done…

Little things.

Our moods are the results of our thoughts. We always claim for freedom and we do not notice that we often are the biggest slave-traders of our souls.

I already read some Dyer’s books in the past, but I wondered why in these weeks the book shops where full of his essays: he is dead. He passed away this August. When I discovered this, I felt a little more unhappy, although he was not a person I ever met. So, what to do? Let’s learn something. Let’s read one of his books, for instance.

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