Better Than Before

Better Than Before

Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

Book - 2015
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"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 uses herself and tests out on others. 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 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 a foundation of good habits, we can build a life that reflects our values and goals"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, [2015]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385348614
0385348614
Branch Call Number: 158.1 RUBIN
Characteristics: xii, 298 pages : illustration ; 25 cm

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h
humming
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!

c
chrisabo
Feb 14, 2016

SPL also has a podcast of her appearance - http://www.spl.org/Audio/16_01_19_GretchenRubin.mp3

d
danielestes
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.

l
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.

s
sandraperkins
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?

w
writermala
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.

g
ghreads
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.

h
harrissusanc
Apr 02, 2015

This book has a wonderful power. It's self help and memoir that never looses sight of the big things in the little things that make life so amazing. It's so rich in story and memoir that the self-help guidance - you don't even realize you're following it while you're reading - until one moment something different seems to just happen. The sections also can stand alone if you prefer pieces.

b
bibliokrisp
Mar 26, 2015

Rubin does what she set out to do in this book--examine the way different personalities form habits, as well as how to figure out who you are and which habits fit your personal values. The book is organized around the main tenet that forming habits allows one to save time and energy, because if it's truly a habit that fits the person, he/she will do it without thinking, saving time for other thoughts/activities.

Rubin uses lots of examples from her research as well as her own life, her family members' lives, and people she knows. She does a really good job combining the research piece with the anecdotal parts, which made the book very readable and gave me lots to think about and plan for in my own life. Worthwhile reading.

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