Better Than Before

Better Than Before

Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

eBook - 2015
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From the author of the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers The Happiness Project and Happier at Home comes a book that tackles the question: How do we make good habits that are easy, effortless, and automatic?
Habits are the invisible architecture of our lives. Rubin provides an analytical and scientific framework from which to understand these habits--as well as change them for good. Infused with her compelling voice and funny stories, she illustrates the core principles of habit formation with dozens of strategies that she tests out on herself and others. In doing so, she discovers answers to questions such as:

* At times, I've picked up a habit overnight, but other times, it's taken years to develop. Why?

* Why do some people resist habits, while others adopt them eagerly?

* I want to help my child/spouse/colleagues make a change. What can I do?

* Why do I resist other people's advice on how to change, even if I think they are right?

* How do I make good habits convenient and easy?
Rubin provides tools to help readers better understand themselves, and presents a clear, practical menu of strategies so readers can take an individualized approach. She tackles each strategy herself, and in doing so shows us the importance of knowing ourselves, and our own habit-tendencies. Armed with self-knowledge, we can pursue the habits in ways that will truly work for us, not against us. Going to the gym can be as easy, effortless, and automatic as putting on a seatbelt. We can file expense reports, take time for fun, or pass up that piece of carrot cake without having to decide. With foundation of good habits, we can build a life that reflects our values and goals.

-- Included in Oprah's Super Soul 100 list
Publisher: Toronto :, Doubleday Canada,, 2015
ISBN: 9780385679466
Characteristics: 1 online resource


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Jul 02, 2019

Gotta be honest, seriously disappointed. I loved The Happiness Project. This kinda felt like a recycled quote book from a thrift store. Nothing new or interesting, no sense of personal connection.

Jan 08, 2019

This book was very insightful in regards to the different types of people and how we form our habits. Gretchen does an excellent job of explaining diffferent concepts or “Strategies” and provides specific examples of how they apply to her life and the lives of others she interacts with. She keeps the reader engaged and is relatable.

Nov 25, 2017

I did found this book somewhat useful but didn't like it as much as her earlier books. There is a lot of repetition, a lot of filler, and I was sometimes annoyed that Rubin's advice seemed to apply more to other people than herself (the diet cola, for instance).

3 stars

Oct 28, 2017

This will start you on the life-changing magic that is Gretchen Rubin. It's hard to underestimate the effect this book will have on your day and your life, and the advice that comes out of your mouth when people are dealing with issues of any subject. It's like the best mom advice ever, plus stories, plus reassurance that you're just fine just the way you are. And more.

From this, I read all her other books and listened to her podcast, every one at least once, even though I can't stand her voice and definitely cannot stand her sister's voice. But they're adorable and positive, and if I were a rich girl I'd want to grow up and be just like this woman. She could have been a rich lawyer, married to the son of a famous Treasury Secretary and been rich, rich, entitled, rich. But she isn't at all like this. She seems so . . . human. So almost relatable. Most of the time.

So much valuable information that has made me a better person, and in turn made everyone I know a better person. I've bought this book about a dozen times to give as gifts and every person who received it has also become a huge fan. She's got something and if you ask me, this is her best effort so far.

Jul 07, 2016

Most useful self help book I have found simply because it emphasizes doing what's right for you while helping you recognize what works for you. Just two insights and practices are making a wonderful difference in my life! Yay!

Feb 14, 2016

SPL also has a podcast of her appearance -

Feb 10, 2016

Loved the beginning. And then just when I thought the book would start repeating itself, the author surprised me with her intensity. Gretchen Rubin is fiercely determined to life-hack her way to humanity 2.0.

A couple of thoughts while reading:

- I appreciate Gretchen's methods. From her POV, all good habits are achievable in some form or another. Plus, she's diligent about self-evaluation. I don't have the mental energy to devote my time the way she does, which I suspect is part of her Upholder tendency. I prefer a play-to-your-strengths / leverage-your-energy approach. Take the habits that come easy and focus on those. Rethink the hard ones. In effect, don't swim against the tide.

- Gretchen must be aware of how extraordinarily fortunate she is to have both the flexibility and the financial resources necessary to pursue mastery of her habits. This isn't an excuse for the rest of us to slack off, but surely she must realize the majority of her readers, even those with a comfortable middle class lifestyle, have to juggle career and family and personal fulfillment within a stark range of inflexible constraints.

- According to the tendency categories from early on in the book, I am undoubtedly a Questioner. That said, I question her seemingly blind devotion to the habit over what quality improvement it's supposed to aid. Exercise is an excellent example. As a lifelong acquirer and reformer of habits I'm extra sensitive to the trap of going through the motions. With exercise it's easy to do a lot while accomplishing very little. (And sometimes very little could be something unwelcome like repetitive strain injury.) Proper exercise needs to be focused, frequently varied, and never overdone; otherwise its value goes way down. Coincidentally, this was what I was thinking when I read this line from Gretchen, "The fact that I can easily read magazines while I exercise may suggest that I'm not exercising very hard—and I'm not. But at least I'm showing up." Gretchen, I know from the rest of the book that you're better than that. Maybe it's my Questioner tendency speaking through, but habits need to produce qualitative outcomes. Otherwise they should be banished or reformed. (She seems to realize this by the end of the book regarding her mediation practice. The sessions weren't giving her the ROI she was hoping for so she stopped.)

- And finally, I loved the "Secrets of Adulthood" bits of wisdom scattered throughout the book.

letitiapepper Aug 12, 2015

I listened to the audio book of Better than Before, and it was so good that I decided to read the print version. This is a sensible self-help book, one that recognizes that one size does not fit all when it comes to ways of improving one's self.
The audio book was great, and was read by the author, which made it even more enjoyable. I've actually incorporated some of her simple thoughts into my own way of dealing with things as they come up.

Jun 26, 2015

I love this book! It is written in a very engaging way. I gained insights into my own behavior and tendencies, and I learned some new approaches to building good habits. It helps that I share many of the author's traits, so I could really identify with her. I was fascinated how different techniques would work better with some types of people than with others; not everything that works for me would work for others. I recommend this book to anyone who has a desire to improve his or her life. Isn't that everyone?

May 29, 2015

What I like about Gretchen Rubin's books is that she writes like she would speak. I find that she addresses even the most complicated Psycho-social concepts in such a simple fashion, and often touched with humor, that I can grasp the idea. I never feel threatened by what she is saying and I feel confident that I too can benefit by the ideas mentioned in the book.Here she talks about the different types of people and how they should approach changing their habits or making new habits. I'm sure that anyone reading the book and practicing will be "Better than Before." It is best to purchase your own copy since you may want to highlight several lines.

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