Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Great Books for the New Year {On Happiness}

This week I'm sharing recommended reading to kick start your New Year. Each day will have a theme, and cover two excellent titles on the topic. Nothing like the turning of the calendar to motivate lifestyle changes, and nothing like a great book to inform and sustain changes. Happy reading!


The first thing I have to say in this post is that I believe true, lasting, and ultimate happiness can only be found in knowing and savoring Jesus Christ. 

To quote the Scriptures, "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?" {Mark 8:36}. You can be a very happy person in this life, with all of the money, family, friends, dream job, and possessions a heart could desire... but you die in the end, and if your faith wasn't put in Christ, no good thing in this life could ever make an eternity in hell worth it. 

I heartily agree with John Piper when he says, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." Jesus gives my life meaning and worth. Jesus gives me joy in every trial because I know that He is in control, and has promised that all things are going to work together for good for those who love Him {Romans 8:28}.

So with this very basic and essential foundation of happiness laid, I'd like to point you to two books. They aren't written from a Christian perspective, but I do find them to be chockfull of interesting and helpful information that everyone can benefit from.

Gretchen Rubin's book The Happiness Project was one of the first books I read last January. It was the perfect time of year to read it, because her one year examination of how to be happier involves many resolutions. I was fascinated by her disciplined and systematic approach. 

I could hardly put it down. While a memoir, this book is also packed with scientific facts and findings, and gorgeous quotes by a variety of classic figures. So well-researched, Gretchen Rubin is a go-getter who really knows her stuff.

She has so many good principles- what really makes us happy doesn't always feel fun at the time, personal discipline is a huge factor in happiness, and having an orderly environment makes for a calmer person. It was a fun and inspirational, very happy read.

Gretchen's second book on happiness is called Happier at Home. Being obsessed with all things home, I of course had to pick it up. In this title, Gretchen explores some of the most intimate components of our happiness: the place we live and the people we live with.

While I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the first, I still picked up many valuable tidbits. For instance, did you know that the number one sign of trouble in a relationship is eye-rolling? Made me think twice about ever rolling my eyes.

I loved so many of her resolutions- going on weekly adventures with her daughter, kissing her husband more, and replacing the broken items in her apartment that bothered her all the time, but just never got taken care of. Lot's of good common sense and fun ideas to implement. Plus, aren't her books covers so pretty??

Gretchen Rubin has a new book coming out in March titled Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, and of course I can't wait to read it. I find myself drawn to masters of personal discipline because it is an area of my life that I struggle in, and desperately want to improve on.

Have you read either of Gretchen's happiness books? Thoughts?

Want to know how I fund my book habit? One word for you: Swagbucks! Swagbucks is a rewards program that gives you points for searching the internet, watching videos, and shopping {among many other things!}. I like to cash my  Swagbucks in for Amazon gift cards, and then use them to buy books on my wish list. Right now Swagbucks is offering 70 bonus bucks to Purposeful Wife readers who sign up for the first time. The code is Purposeful1, and is good through January 16th. You can sign up by clicking here.                                                                                               

The links in this post are affiliate links. This means that when you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. However, you should know that I've checked these books out from my local library, and you probably can too. Thanks for your support!

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