2018 Reading List: Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

Against my better judgement, I downloaded Better Than Before, by Gretchen Rubin on my Nook. It’s been on my list to read for awhile, but I should have known better. I read Gretchen’s last book, The Happiness Project, and I determined that I just don’t like her. I should not have been surprised when I found I wasn’t a fan of this book either.

I want so badly to like Gretchen Rubin’s books. I even tried listening to her podcast! But I made it about 15 minutes into the frivolous banter with her sister and I called it quits. 

I think her ideas are great, in theory. Dedicated time to spend on the little things that make us happy; cultivating good habits that can help us get things done and become a better version of ourselves; determining what type of personality traits you have so that you can better manage your life according to your tendencies. It’s great stuff! I love that kind of self-improvement mumbo crap. I’m being entirely serious here.

But there is something about the way that Rubin delivers her message that irks me. She gets under my skin in a weird way. I still find her narcissistic, selfish and single-minded. Sometimes the way she writes comes across as really dumb, until she had a light-bulb moment that she had to schedule time for herself to work out. Like, really?  She puts so much effort and research and weight into some things that, to me, are common sense. And she makes it seem like this big, monumental decision. To be a happier person you have to – oh my God! – enjoy your morning cup of coffee! Who’d have thought?!

Again, she does have good ideas. I think that there are ways to research and talk about what makes people happier, what makes people stick to certain routines and not others, but she doesn’t do it in a way that makes me want to change my life.

So Gretchen, thank you for your contribution to the literary world, but I will have to gracefully say goodbye for good this time. I tried, but you’re not my type.


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