Better Than Before

Better Than Before

Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

Book - 2015
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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.
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, [2015]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780385348614
Branch Call Number: 158.1 R824
Characteristics: xii, 298 pages : illustration ; 25 cm


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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.

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.

Apr 30, 2015

I have followed Gretchen Rubin’s blog for the last year or two so was quite familiar with many of the key concepts in this book. Even so, there was some interesting new material and it was useful to have it all in one place.
For anyone not already familiar with these ideas, the book is definitely worth reading and could be life-changing. The emphasis on knowing yourself is hugely important – forming successful habits does not come in a one-size-fits-all package. Once you know yourself – your psychology and values – you can begin to adopt strategies that will have the greatest chance of success in forming useful habits or breaking harmful ones.
The book is well organized, well written and easy to read.

mvkramer Apr 23, 2015

Normally, I don't read self-help books because they make me feel bad about myself, but I'm very glad I picked this up. It's all about making changes to make your life better. I loved how the book emphasizes that you have to do what's right for you and not necessarily what's worked for other people. I also loved the idea that you shouldn't just have habits of self-denial, but habits of pleasure, of treating yourself, to keep you from burning out. Thanks to this book, I'm changing some of my own habits - and in some ways, I already feel a little better.

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