Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Have You "Met" Gretchen Rubin?

I first encountered Gretchen's writing in Real Simple magazine in about 2010, where she made a really useful distinction that really struck a chord with me:
There are two types of decision makers. Satisficers... make a decision once their criteria are met. Maximizers want to make the best possible decisino. Even if they see a bicycle or a backpack that meets their requirements, they can't make a decision until they've examined every option. Satisficers tend to be happier than maximizers. Maximizers expend more time and energy reaching decisions, and they're often anxious about their choices. Sometimes good enough is good enough.
With this, she caught my attention, and I went on to read her first book, The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. I'm sure some would categorize this (and her more recent books) as a "Self-Help" book, but I think it's more of a "practical memoir". She decided to challenge herself with a project in which she would apply in a very tangible way the results of her studies on what makes people happier. The result is a humorous and memoir, with a lots of useful tidbits of inspiration and information that are very applicable to the lives of ordinary human beings like us. I appreciate the breadth of her research (everything from Aristotle's wisdom through the most modern research). I also found that she approaches a subject with humility, balance, and openness to the truth.

And, of course, I couldn't help but appreciate, from her secular point of view, the advice she gives that everyone needs a spiritual guru - and hers is St. Therese of Lisieux!

I must admit that I am behind by a book. I have not yet read her second "practical memoir", Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control, and My Other Experiments in Everyday Life.

Yesterday, she released the third book along these lines, which I have now in my possession and am most eager to read, Better Than Before, Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives I've only managed a quick peek so far, but it looks excellent.

P.S. I also enjoy her blog,

Oh yeah, and "Enthusiasm is a form of social courage." - Gretchen Rubin  :)

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