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Blogging for Books Review: Better than Before

Time for a Monday morning book review (it’s been a while)!  Next up…
Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, by Gretchen Rubin
The Amateur Librarian // May 2015 Reading Log
Here we are, the first Monday of January and the start of a brand new year! Seems like an appropriate time to talk about habits, right? Not that I have a long list of resolutions to keep up with this year… thanks to this book, I’ve finally realized why they never stick around. I’m an Obliger, of course!
I loved Gretchen Rubin’s practical advice from The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, and her latest book is no different. There is a ton of research that goes into her analysis of personalities and strategies that work for each one, and it’s pretty amazing that she was able to pull together so much disparate research and come up with her own theories.
Taking her happiness research one step further, Rubin delves into the study of habits, including personality tendencies and how to work with your own (and others’) nature in order to cultivate the right habits and actually keep them. I tend to get burned out by self help books (they can be kind of exhausting to retain each new principle and constantly apply new information to my own life… at least compared to learning something new from regular nonfiction or enjoying a fiction story) but Rubin is always interesting even while being very thorough. Her podcast Happier is a great supplement to the book, although it’s nice to have it all in one place.
Normally I wouldn’t bother copying/pasting the publisher’s description, but in this case it really does cover all the bases and accurately describe the contents:

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 received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.***
Quick note: I don’t have any intention of monetizing my blog, but I’m trying out the Amazon affiliate program on posts where I’m already linking to Amazon products – mostly books, of course! If you purchase anything on after clicking the link, I will get a small referral fee. Consider yourself disclosed!

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