Gretchen Rubin’s *The Happiness Project*

The book is now out and yes it does add to her blog.

My current take on "happiness" (not the same as Gretchen's) is:

1. I believe in the "set point" theory, at least when our health and the health of our loved ones is at an acceptable level.

2. People should strive to be more interesting and more responsible.  Happiness may result as a byproduct, but those are more important values.  I would like to read a book called The Interesting Project.

3. Shopping and going to the public library (i.e., shopping at p = 0) make people happier, at least for a while.  You can do these activities repeatedly.

4. Most people aren't as interested in being happy as they claim, or seem to claim.

5. On net, Gretchen's tips will enhance your happiness.

Here is Gretchen's post on making effective New Year's resolutions.


Being interesting is more important than being happy? Really?

Interesting + Responsible sounds like the ideal person both inside and out. Write the book!

One could reconcile "set point theory" and Gretchens advice. Try to be happy but never reach equilibrium. Always keep shifting that set point.

Scott Adams of Dilbert fame discussed his theory that in order for a person to be happy he or she needed to do well in four categories:

1. Health
2. Income
3. Network of friends/family
4. Purpose in life (meaningful work)

Makes sense to me.

People should strive to be more interesting and more responsible.

Unfortunately, the two may be at odds with each other. I don't know about you, but some of my most interesting experiences occurred when I threw responsibility to the winds. Focusing overmuch on responsibility may make people less interesting, since people will assign a higher importance to their interpersonal obligations than to their individual experiences.

If people just wanted to be happy, they could get lobotomies. Happiness makes no sense as a goal in itself; it's an epiphenomenon of working towards and/or achieving a worthy goal.

How to be interesting:

My two main filters on people are interestingness and sense of humor (or, is the person fun to be with).

"But 'interesting' is a cop-out. It adds nothing."

"Better to be interested than to be interesting." -- Agreed

"People should strive to be more interesting.." -- Being interesting implies satisfying other people's curiosity or at least it is dependent in some way on someone other than yourself. Making a significant component of your happiness dependent on external validation doesn't sound like a great idea.

Better to doggedly pursue your interests without care for what others might find interesting.

Happiness? Responsibility? Interest? Huh? I thought the whole point of everything was Utility.

I'm a big believer that people have "set points" for happiness.

I had a broke, alcoholic friend whose life was falling apart. Yet, he genuinely seemed happy. He took great pleasure in the small things in life (books, movies, friends, etc...)

On the other hand I have a friend who is making 6 figures, has a beautiful wife and kids. Regardless, he has major issues with depression and was on the brink of suicide.

Gretchen, this is good, real good. If I didn't already have the book, I would buy it from just watching this. A large number of people are going to gain a lot from your work.

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Excellent article, thanks.

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