The Happiness Project

Book Cover Makeover and Review

First the Makeover:


This Cover Makeover Challenge was two weeks ago, but Jack wanted to read the book first so he could help me figure out what to design. I chose an Edmund Dulac illustration and a bluebird illustration from a vintage crate label. I would never have known to put the bluebird on the cover unless Jack hadn’t read the book!

library croppedCover Makeover Artist: Toby


Sponsored by Lucile de Godoy and DesleyJane.  Go HERE for all the covers for the previous week’s challenge!  

Now for the original cover and the review:


 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

Gretchen Rubin
Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2009

So apparently there’s been this happiness movement I’ve not been a part of – I only discovered the book through another blogger who challenged her readers to makeover the cover (Toby finally finished the cover – see above).  Interesting subject – making happiness a project. That’s something cats don’t worry about; we are about as blissful as you can get most of the time. But you humans – you really need help. So with the help of Toby’s humom, here’s what we thought of the book:

There are thirteen chapters – the author divided up her project by working on a specific concern each month plus an introductory chapter. I’ll try to synthesize the chapter into one thought or quote!

Getting Started – I really liked the Secrets of Adulthood list, which includes: “You don’t have to be good at everything.” “What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you – and vice versa.” “Over-the-counter medicines are very effective.”  –   Simple but profound advice.

January: Boost Energy – “I dreaded doing the clutter cleaning, because it seemed like such an enormous job, and it was an enormous job, but every time I looked around and saw the extra space and order, I registered a little jolt of energy.”  Pg 31   –   Toby’s humom liked this chapter so much she has started another purge through their house.

February: Remember Love – “When you give up expecting a spouse to change (within reason), you lessen anger and resentment, and that creates a more loving atmosphere in a marriage.”  Pg 68   –  The same holds for any relationship, really. For instance, my humom (Toby’s aunt) expected me to stop wanting to go outside and to stop patrolling my territory. Since she has finally given up the notion of keeping me tied down, I am a lot more affectionate with her (‘cause she’s not smothering me!!)

March: Aim Higher – “. . . I realized that for my own part, I was much more likely to take risks, reach out to others, and expose myself to rejection and failure when I felt happy.” Pg 88    –  In other words, rejection sucks but it is a necessary part of growth.

April: Lighten Up – “The days are long, but the years are short.”  Pg 97   –   Humans need to understand what the superior feline knows instinctively – that life is to be lived and savored moment by moment. Look at the peaceful cat curled up on your laptop. She is not concerned at all about your deadlines. She simply knows that is the best place to sleep in that moment and so that is what she does.

May: Be Serious About Play – “. . . happiness isn’t something we should consider only when life is going well and also isn’t something we should consider only when life is going badly.” Pg 140   –   Yes, even adults must play. For fun I like to harass Psycho, the cat next door. Now, that’s what I call play time!!

June: Make Time for Friends – “Friendship thrives on interconnection, and it’s both energizing and comforting to feel that you’re building not just friendships but a social network.” Pg 160 Especially when you’re all howling at the moon.

July: Buy Some Happiness – “Money. It’s a good servant but a bad master.”  Pg 190   –  Me? I love money because it buys me food that I don’t have to catch. Other than that, I don’t need it to  be happy!

August: Contemplate the Heavens – “Surely, I’d hoped, I could change my life without changing my life, by finding more happiness in my own kitchen.”  Pg 210    –  Sometimes we have to commune with our spirit in order to contemplate the Spirit.

September: Pursue a Passion – “ . . . I first had to recognize my passion. Done. My next step was to make time for it, to find ways to integrate my passion into my ordinary days, and to stop measuring myself against some irrelevant standard of efficiency.”  Pgs 222-223  –   This is a big thing to the humans in my life. They find it much easier to ignore what they love in order to do what they must to get through the day. And you know what’s at the end of the day? The end of the day. The difference is, are you happier at day’s end or worried about tomorrow?

October: Pay Attention – “This month, I sought to find other strategies that would help me pay attention and stay in the moment. I also hoped to stimulate my brain to think in new ways – to jolt myself out of automatic behavior and to awaken sleepy parts of my mind.”  Pgs 237-238  –  Another human issue!! You need to spend more time chasing bugs or weird red lights on the wall to sharpen your focus and brain!!

November: Keep a Contented Heart – “One fact of human nature is that people have ‘a negativity bias’: we react to the bad more strongly and persistently than to the comparable good.” Pg 273  –  I have nothing to say to that one!!

December: Boot Camp Perfect – “When I reached out for them, I found that the ruby slippers had been on my feet all along; the bluebird was singing outside my kitchen window.”  Pg 289  –  Where? Where’s the bluebird? – ’cause I want him!!

I really enjoyed this book; the author’s passion for the subject is infectious and it makes me want to change my life right now (without changing my life, of course!). Her ideas and suggestions for making and keeping resolutions are simple – simple in a deep, life-changing way.  Her book is immensely readable – nonfiction can be boring at times. By writing potentially dull material that is peppered with personal memories the author keeps the information both light and profound at the same time. The book I read was a library book, but it is one I will potentially reread, so we will be getting a copy for our own stacks. It will go on the shelf labeled “Read once a year for continued personal growth.”

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws

jack 071115aaReviewer: Jack

  Gretchen Rubin

Some of her other books