Free «The Happiness Project» Essay
Born Gretchen Craft Rubin in Kansas City, Missouri, she is the author of four books. She is a graduate from the Yale University school of Law. During her student years at the university, she was the editor-in- chief of The Yale Law Journal. . Later, Gretchen served as a lecturer in two schools at Yale University: Law and Management. Her portfolio also includes the post of a chief advisor for the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It is during her time as a clerk for Justice Sandra D. O’Connor that she developed an interest in writing. Her first book Power Money Fame Sex: A User’s Guide is a critical approach to societal life crafted in a user manual like fashion. Her next two books were succinct biographies of Winston Churchill the U.K prime minister and President John F. Kennedy. These two best sellers were titled Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill for the former and Forty Ways to Look at JFK for the latter (Huffintonpost,1).
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Her fourth book entitled The Happiness Project is a detailed description of her one year quest to happiness that encompassed a trial of every known principle in the spheres of knowledge and academia. Her exploits entail a broad spectrum of any convincing historical, logical, scientific, philosophical and rational approaches that would be employed to achieve happiness. Her epic journey goes back into history and Aristotle’s philosophy is borrowed, Dalai Lama’s counsel is sought, Martin Seligman, Benjamin Franklin and Oprah Winfrey are also consulted.
Gretchen Rubin’s body of work is so systematic and meticulously delivered that the nexus of her writing is unequivocally understood. This is all demonstrated right from the introduction to the subsequent chapters. She is focused on her subject matter and drags her readers all the way to the end without losing them. Her status quo as a happy person is well understood right from the beginning of the book. However, Rubin experiences an epiphany. She comes into realization that she has not reached the zenith of her happiness and there is provision for her being happier. She even quotes Collete the author when she says “What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner"(Rubin, 3). It is beyond a shadow of doubt that her goal is to attain happiness. Preliminarily preparations are characterized by avidly reading inspirational books and imbibing the knowledge from them. Her experimental phase of living every month of the year by a certain credible principle is so inspiring given that she borrowed a leaf from Benjamin Franklin. She made a chart that was instrumental to monitoring her progress in achieving happiness.
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The author’s scholarly authority is wielded in several sections of the book. Her eclectic approach makes her body of work credible based on her perspective. This can be exemplified the manner she attempts to discard impediments to progress in her life. She categorically refers to them in terms of clutter: nostalgic clutter aspiration clutter and conservation clutter. She illuminates on these by describing nostalgic clutter as unnecessary keepsakes, aspiration clutter as things we always want to do but we never do them because of procrastinating and finally conservational clutter are those things which are of no use but we save them for a rainy day that never comes. This chapter is most aptly and adeptly fashioned by using logical and indisputable ways to handle life quagmires. This approach can bee used to discard any deterrent thing in life that is non-beneficial (Rubin 17-37).
Philosophical methods applied by the author were objective and a sign of sobriety in her state of mind .The fallacies and the truths she illuminates on are genuinely eye opening. She reveals to her readers that the human nature predisposes us to "Unconscious overclaiming." It is an inevitable fallacy that inherently makes an individual feel better than the rest (Rubin, 70-76). Another fallacy is the “arrival fallacy.” It is a delusion that self actualization and satisfaction can only be arrived at in the event we attain a certain goal. She covers almost all facets of life including parenting. The author is callously honest in describing children on her subject on parenting. She says that apart from being bundles of joy, children are predisposed to be "a tremendous source of worry, irritation, expense, inconvenience, and lost sleep." (Rubin, 90).Rubin systematically explains how to handle such situation that would subliminally make us to digress from our goals. Her methodology is beyond reproach and very pellucid as much as it is systematic.
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Her quest was orchestrated by working from a point of knowledge thus she made informed decisions through out her accounts. Her numerous reference to prominent people’s philosophies of life in her approach is adeptly used. Rubin has a Socratic approach to advice on happiness. She does this by invoking provocative thoughts and setting the reader at liberty to use his rationality and the direction she has availed to find happiness. She is therefore a guide since her personal mistakes are documented in the book. Her persona is admittedly not an infallible one in her body of work. Rubin therefore manages to establish the credentials to write on this subject. Discrediting or exuding cynicism concerning this book would be an erroneous judgment on helpful information laced with charm that is artistically woven together. All her points are articulately advanced with the demeanor of a lawyer that she is by profession. She posits methodologies based on concrete information and not myopic speculations and insinuations.