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Summary

Best-selling author Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project and Happier at Home) explores habits - the invisible architecture of everyday life - and how they can make us more likely to be happy, healthy, productive, and creative. When we change our habits, we change our lives.

Gretchen Rubin, author of the blockbuster New York Times best sellers The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, has helped millions of readers get happier. Now she tackles the critical question: How can we make good habits and break bad ones? In a book that's crammed with big, provocative ideas, Rubin shows readers how to create the habits that will transform their lives, even if they've failed before. The secret, Rubin explains, is to pinpoint the specific strategies that will work for us.

From finding the right time to begin a new habit to setting up a counterintuitive system of reward to using the pleasure of treats to strengthen our good habits, Rubin identifies the 21 strategies that will allow every listener to find an effective, individual fit. Along the way Rubin uses herself as a guinea pig, tests her theories on family and friends, and answers listeners' 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? How can I get myself to stick to a new habit?
  • I want to help someone else make a change. But how?
  • Why can I make time for everyone else but can't make time for myself?

Whether listeners want to get more sleep, make and maintain weight loss, stop checking their phone,s or finish projects, habits make change possible. Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life.

Listening to just a few chapters of Better Than Before will start listeners working on their own habits - even before they've finished the audiobook.

©2015 Gretchen Rubin (P)2015 John Murray Press

Critic reviews

"Do you have a bad habit you're trying to shake, or a good one you wish you could cultivate? Gretchen Rubin is one of the most charming and erudite authors of her generation. Here, she uses her gifts to help you eat right, sleep well, stop procrastinating and start enjoying all that life has to offer." (Susan Cain, best-selling author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
"Filled with insights about our patterns of behavior, Better Than Before addresses one of life's big and timeless questions: How can we transform ourselves? In a way that's thought-provoking, surprising and often funny, Gretchen Rubin provides us with the tools to build a life that truly reflects our goals and values." (Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post and best-selling author of Thrive)
"Gretchen Rubin combines deep research and observations from her own life to explain how habits emerge and - more important - how they can change. It's indispensable for anyone hoping to overhaul how they (almost unthinkingly) behave." (Charles Duhigg, bestselling author of The Power of Habit)
"Gretchen Rubin is a writer after my own heart - seriously brilliant, very warm, and funny. I think she's amazing." (Anne Lamott)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • liz
  • BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom
  • 03-05-15

Rehash of First Book

I enjoyed the first book, however this is more of the same, less objective delivered with a big dollop of smugness. Disappointed.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant!

I absolutely loved this book. I had bought it a while ago but hadn't got round to reading it. I wish I'd picked it up sooner. Made me completely rethink how to approach things in the future and I would actually like to read this book again, something I have never done before.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Connie
  • United Kingdom
  • 25-01-16

Super helpful

Great tips and an easy read! I will listen again it was so good. This will probably help you in some way, loved it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Just perfect!

Why should I write mandatory 20 words review for an optional review here? :) I'm a 'questioner' btw. Read the book and you'll find out what I mean.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

best book ever on habits

this book has made me so much more self-aware! as a result ive stopped a habit of trying to lose weight and now feel so much closer to a normal day in utopia! great read and listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant. Just brilliant.

I loved this book. The book was insightful and offered alternative views to much of this genre. The ability to be liberated from decision by deciding once and just continuing that as a habit is a mantra I'm very happily living by. With personal references from differing personalities and perspectives there were real life examples that I've included in my own life. The research topic was broad and considered differing approaches for different personalities, differing motivational factors and different methods to sustain a habit. Highly recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent, well worth listening to

Very practical advice on building effective habits. Found the insights in the book very useful indeed, especially the insight about what type of person you are: upholder, questioner, obliger or rebel.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Another hit!

Another great book by Gretchen Rubin. I feel like you are changing my life a little more for the better with every book!

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Journey through good habits & how to acquire them

The book analyses the personal experiences (including friends and family) of the author in her journey to discover the key of success in acquiring good habits to hello us in our daily life.

The result is more examples and stories that actual conclusions and a limited sample for dinner if those but I will definitely keep her classifications and ideas in mind in the future!

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A few blogs entries expanded to be a book

Would you try another book written by Gretchen Rubin or narrated by Gretchen Rubin?

No

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Some interesting insights from an observant blogger, but that's it. Each chapter seems to be an expanded version of a blog entry. On a blog, you can be self-referential, talk non-stop about your family and all your insights from learning them, but to make the insights into a book that can last for some time, come on, you need better supporting info and research (which are everywhere). Therefore, the writing is very casual, extremely self referential, and way too long. The writer makes very strong claims such as there are 4 types of personalities that she herself defines and bases her habit-development tips on. Interesting thoughts here and there, but lost in her American centric endless stories and examples of family and close friends. Might be more enjoyable as blog entries, but please don't try to make them longer than they should be in order to make a book!

Do you think Better Than Before needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

NOOOOO! It's way too long for the content it delivers and poorly supported.

Any additional comments?

The writer should have looked deeper into past research so her writing can be supported by proper sources rather than her very small circle of family and friends.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-05-16

Excellent book..!!

Where does Better Than Before rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It is the very good book, best part about listening this is book is treat to listen Gretchen for 9 hours.. Good thing happened to be was, I started listening to her podcast much before I bought this book. so I was quite familiar with her voice and listening this book in her own voice was hell lot interesting . Book gave me good insight about knowing self .

What did you like best about this story?

Parts about different kinds of people. I found out that I'm an obliger.

What does Gretchen Rubin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Her voice :-)

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  • Em
  • 11-12-15

It's personal

I find Gretchen's thoughts and life philosophies interesting and relevant. I thought this book was much more of her own unscientific and unproven thoughts and ideas comparing it to "The Happiness Project" which was more about testing popular science recommendations. Still she sees things in a useful and thought provoking way and I enjoyed hearing her theories (I am a questioner)

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  • Peter
  • 11-06-15

Useful, but flawed

What did you like best about Better Than Before? What did you like least?

Best parts where the actual useful classifications and concepts.
The main issue I had was the way the concepts were elaborated upon.

Did Better Than Before inspire you to do anything?

Yes. It got me going with a habit or two I've wanted to start for a while, but couldn't bring myself to start due to previous failures.

Any additional comments?

Insightful and smart, but written for a different audience to myself.
The author managed to pick up the intricacies of habit formation, but the way they're explained made me grind my teeth sometimes. I understand the thinking of trying to explain concepts using personal experience and anecdotes, but it gets tiring when it's done constantly and in such a "holier than though" manner. I really wanted to rate this better, since I did learn quite a bit and it definitely made me think, but ultimately it is a book, so spending a fair few hours rolling your eyes and clenching your jaw does gets very tiring.