Publishing Date: March 17, 2015
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Pages: 320 pages
Health & Well-Being
The Premise: From the New York Times Bestselling book, The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin has a new self-help book, titled Better Than Before. This new text from Rubin tackles the idea that in order to make changes in our everyday lives, we must begin at our habits. Rubin states earlier on that habits matter so much because "with habits, we conserve our self-control. It takes self-control to establish good habits. But once the habit is in place, we can effortlessly do the things we want to do" (5). Rubin begins the text exploring the pillars of habits and how there are different solutions for different people. There are the four tendencies which she goes through and in determining your tendency first, you can determine how to begin working with your habits.
My overall thoughts and review: I'm a big fan of self-help books. I grew up reading a bunch of them and now, it has been a while since I've read one that I enjoyed like this one from Gretchen Rubin. What Rubin encourages is not drastic changes, but rather, a solution that is in a way, catered for you. Everyone will have a different solution and the key is in finding, what kind of person you are first. I learned early on in the text that as much as I would like to be an Upholder, I am ultimately more of an Obliger. Rubin does not say that you should all strive to be a certain type of tendency, but rather organizes the book that finds solutions and tips for the type of tendency that you are, to help you work towards a better you.
I particularly really enjoyed the Pillars of Habits section because Rubin gets into how monitoring works - such as monitoring your diet and exercise and I really connected with this part particularly, because I've tried to monitor my diet and exercise, and I have yet to find a solution that I really enjoy. I think what I took most from this book was not having to find one singular solution that I might like and I learned that, that was perhaps the problem to begin with. Finding an immediate solution. There is no magic formula for all and I learned with this text is that, small changes can be made over a length of time, as opposed to a giant drastic change all together: "First things first--but we must all decide what comes first, for us" (73).
I really enjoyed this text for many reasons. Firstly, Rubin's writing was incredibly accessible and I just loved how easy it was to dive into each section with ease. I particularly liked her section on page 42 where she describes the various different habits of different authors (ex. Murakami and running!). But mostly, what I enjoyed was that, she does not simply offer alternatives to habits you already have, but how to look at the habits you currently have in a different light. It is a very "not-one-solution for all" kind of book and the book encourages you to do additional homework on the outside. Once you finish Rubin's text, you take what she has given you and you will integrate them into your life accordingly, based on what suits you best and it encourages a lot of self-reflection. I really loved this book and I think if you are a fan of her previous book, The Happiness Project, this is definitely one to add to the collection because it will definitely help you be happier too in your everyday life, starting with your habits!
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)
Now available for purchase at:
You can follow Gretchen on twitter @gretchenrubin and read more about here on her website! (There are a ton of links for downloadable content for habits which I definitely recommend checking out here!)
I also wanted to quickly share that Canadian Living is hosting an event with Gretchen Rubin on April 9th in Toronto! :D It will be an evening with Gretchen Rubin where you get the chance to meet Gretchen and receive a signed copy of her book. There is the cost of admission, but I believe the swag bag will make up for that of course! I will be in attendance, so if you are thinking of going, definitely let me know in the comments below. For more details - you can head over to the event page: here!
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Random House Canada for consideration/review. All opinions are my own.