Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

better than before

The subtitle of this book is “What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits ― to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life”. This alone was enough to make me take this off the shelf and devour in a weekend. In the idealised version of myself I wake up early, eat nutritious food throughout the day and rarely ever leave things to the last minute. However, in reality I’m a procrastinating mess! So could this book transform my life?

Gretchen Rubin is a writer who studies happiness. She is the author of the highly acclaimed ‘The Happiness Project’, which looks at easy ways and methods to make your life happier every day. In Better Than Before, she continues her research and concentrates on the areas of life that cause people the most stress and anxiety.

In Better Than Before, Rubin divides everyone into 4 groups. Identifying your group is critical in order to know how to make or break habits successfully. Gretchen explains the groups as follows:

– Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations
– Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense
– Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike
– Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves

Personally I am very much an obliger. Rubin provides real world and practical examples of how to ensure that you follow though on the habits you want to create. For an obliger like myself, it’s essential that I have someone hold me accountable to help me follow through but for a rebel this is the exact opposite of what they need.

I found the book really interesting with lots of helpful advice. I did manage to procrastinate a little less in the weeks after reading the book. And if you enjoy the book I would highly recommend listening to Gretchen Rubin’s podcast ‘Happier’. It continues on with the themes that Rubin writes about and offers weekly advice on how to live a happier and more productive life!


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

One thought on “Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

  1. Pingback: Books of the Year (Part 2) | Ballyroan Reads

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