Gretchen Rubin is the author of several books, including the #1 New York Times and international bestseller, The Happiness Project—an account of the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. On her popular blog, The Happiness Project, she reports on her daily adventures in the pursuit of happiness.
In her next book, Happier at Home, Rubin embarks on a new project to explore how to make home a happier place. Starting in September (the new January), Gretchen dedicates a school year—from September through May—to concentrating on the factors that matter most for home, such as possessions, marriage, time, parenthood, body, neighborhood. The book’s title was inspired by a line from Samuel Johnson: “To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition.”
Rubin has emerged as one of the most thought-provoking and influential writers on happiness to have emerged from the recent explosion of interest in the subject. Though her conclusions are sometimes counter-intuitive—for example, she finds that true simplicity is far from simple to attain, and that used rightly, money can do a lot to buy happiness—her insights resonate with readers of all backgrounds.
Response to Rubin’s writing on happiness has been overwhelming. The Happiness Project is more than books and a blog, it’s a movement. Happiness Project groups have sprung up across the country—and across the world. Rights to The Happiness Project have been sold for more than 35 territories. Dozens of blogs have been launched by people following Gretchen’s example. Psychiatrists tell their patients to read it, professors assign it to their students, book groups discuss it it, families pass it around, and people do Happiness Projects together. Exhausted parents and college students, senior citizens and professionals, clergy and social workers, people facing divorce, illness, and drift have written to tell her how she’s influenced them. The Happiness Project was even an answer on the game-show Jeopardy!
Rubin, an enthusiastic proponent of using technology to engage with readers about ideas, has a wide, active following on Twitter, on Facebook, and on her YouTube channel—not to mention her monthly newsletter and her daily email of happiness quotations. Rubin is a notable example of a traditional author using a blog and social media to create discussion around a subject and a book, even before publication. Rubin’s online presence set the stage for The Happiness Project to rocket to the top of the bestseller list, and to stay there for months. In traditional media, Rubin has a monthly column in Good Housekeeping.
A graduate of Yale and Yale Law School, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law Journal and winner of the Edgar M. Cullen Prize, Rubin started her career in law, and she was clerking for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when she realized she really wanted to be a writer.
Her bestselling Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill and Forty Ways to Look at JFK are succinct, provocative biographies. Power Money Fame Sex: A User’s Guide is biting social criticism in the form of a user’s manual. Profane Waste, a collaboration with artist Dana Hoey, examines the question of why owners choose to destroy their own possessions. She also has three terrible novels safely locked in a desk drawer.
Raised in Kansas City, she lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.