Better Than Before: Mastering The Habits Of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin | Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Better Than Before: Mastering The Habits Of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin | Book ReviewBetter Than Before by Gretchen Rubin
Published by Crown/Archetype on March 17, 2015
Genres: Self-Help, Personal Growth, Success, Happiness
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9780385348621

New York Times Bestseller | Washington Post Bestseller   The author of the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, tackles the critical question: How do we change?    Gretchen Rubin's answer: through habits. Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. It takes work to make a habit, but once that habit is set, we can harness the energy of habits to build happier, stronger, more productive lives.   So if habits are a key to change, then what we really need to know is: How do we change our habits?   Better than Before answers that question. It presents a practical, concrete framework to allow readers to understand their habits—and to change them for good. Infused with Rubin’s compelling voice, rigorous research, and easy humor, and packed with vivid stories of lives transformed, Better than Before explains the (sometimes counter-intuitive) core principles of habit formation.   Along the way, Rubin uses herself as guinea pig, tests her theories on family and friends, and answers readers’ most pressing questions—oddly, questions that other writers and researchers tend to ignore: 

• Why do I find it tough to create a habit for something I love to do? • Sometimes I can change a habit overnight, and sometimes I can’t change a habit, no matter how hard I try. Why? • How quickly can I change a habit? • What can I do to make sure I stick to a new habit? • How can I help someone else change a habit? • Why can I keep habits that benefit others, but can’t make habits that are just for me?

Whether readers want to get more sleep, stop checking their devices, maintain a healthy weight, or finish an important project, habits make change possible. Reading just a few chapters of Better Than Before will make readers eager to start work on their own habits—even before they’ve finished the book.

I first became aware of Gretchen Rubin when a blogger I admire reviewed The Happiness Project years ago. I purchased a copy immediately, intending to read it. That copy has collected dust on my shelf for years. However, I ended up subscribing to Rubin’s blog which to my mind was kind of the same thing as reading The Happiness Project. When the opportunity to read Better Than Before: Mastering The Habits Of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin arose, I seized it because habits are fascinating and I am absolutely a creature of habit. It really appealed to my to-do list maker sensibilities.

I think the title of Rubin’s latest book aptly sums up what the book is about. Like The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg, Better Than Before explores habit formation. It explores how not every strategy for forming a habit is going to work for every person. There is no one size fits all method. The book also explores commonly held wisdom about habits and breaks down whether it’s true or not — like the whole doing something for thirty days makes it become a habit. This actually is not true. Better Than Before delves into what triggers a habit into forming and also what may inadvertently prevent a person from forming long term habits – such as rewards which can decrease one’s enjoyment.

Rubin has a very readable and accessible writing style. She takes this topic of habits and writes about it in conjunction with her own experiences forming habits and trying to train others in her life to form positive habits. I like that she took what could have been a boring topic and made it really interesting. She also writes in such a way that I felt able to apply it to my own life. For example, Better Than Before divides people into four major categories: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels going on to detail which methods work best for each different type of person.

In the back is a quiz where you can categorize yourself. I am an Upholder. So I paid special attention to her methods recommended for Upholders. They are people who love making to do lists and crossing off tasks. The blurb says that if you read this book you will find yourself wanting to go out and start habits before it finishes — I can attest to that. I wanted to try her methods immediately.

If you read this book expecting to learn how to master a very specific habit, you might be disappointed, as it’s a very general book as opposed to specific. However, if you loved The Power Of Habit and want to explore more of this topic or you really want to know how to transform your habits and life rituals for the better, pick up Rubin’s latest.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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