The Happiness Project - A New Year's Resolution

Happiness project  Over the past day, as our family made our way back from Buenos Aires, I read a new book called The Happiness Project. The author of The Happiness Project
is Gretchen Rubin and I met her last year (the one that ended yesterday) as she was finishing the book and building an audience for it on The Happiness Project blog.

It's a great time of year to read a book like this. I consider myself a very happy person. I love my job, I've got a great wife/partner in the Gotham Gal, my kids are wonderful, and I have been able to build a life where I can do most anything I want to do. And yet, I got many excellent ideas on how to be happy/happier from this book.

Basically Gretchen decides one day a few years ago that she could be happier. She undertakes six months of hard core research into happiness, then spends a year putting all that she learned into practice. And, of course, she comes away from that year a happier person.

I hope many of you choose to pick up this book
and read it. It took me less than a day of on and off reading to get through it so it's an easy read. Gretchen's an established author and she writes in a flowing easy way. You'll get lots of practical tidbits on things you can do to become a happier person.

The thing I liked most about the book are Gretchen's "Four Splendid Truths" which she discovers one by one throughout the year she practices happiness. Gretchen outlined them on her blog earlier this year and they are:

First Splendid Truth
To be happier, you have to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.

Second Splendid Truth
One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy;
One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.

Third Splendid Truth
The days are long, but the years are short. (click the link to see my one-minute movie)

Fourth Splendid Truth
You’re not happy unless you think you’re happy. 
You’re happy if you think you’re happy.

I can see myself adopting these, particularly the first two in my daily life. My dad once told our family that he realized that making my mom happy made him happy. I always like that advice and I am going to try to do it myself (my new year's resolution).

I'd like to end with a few words on Gretchen's adoption of blogging and social media during her happiness project. In the second month of her twelve month program, she decides to start a blog. It becomes the Happiness Project blog. She figures out how to set up a TypePad account, she decides to blog six days a week religiously, and she starts using Facebook and Twitter. That's how I met Gretchen. Her husband, who is featured prominently in the book and who I've known for a dedade, emailed me last summer and said "my wife Gretchen is getting totally into this social media stuff and I wonder if you might give her some advice". We met for lunch and I gave her a bunch of advice, but was impressed at how much she had already figured out on her own. My best contribution to her social media toolbox was Nathan Bowers, who redesigned my blog and hers last year. Like the old AVC, the Happiness Project blog had become cluttered with widgets and was in need of a facelift.

But regardless of how she used social media, it is featured prominently in the book. Every chapter after she starts blogging is filled with comments from her readers outlining the ways in which they adopt the core  techniques differently than she did. It gives the book a completely different feel. Instead of reading about how Gretchen gets happier, you read about how lots of people get happier in their own words.

And she built an audience for the book in advance. I did some rudimentary web metrics yesterday afternoon and its hard to tell with blogs, but I believe the Happiness Project blog has about 2/3 of the monthly audience this blog has. That would put it somewhere around 75k to 100k readers every month. Her twitter has almost 14k followers and she has about 1,800 friends on Facebook.

And guess what? The book's been out a few days and is currently number 30 on Amazon's list of bestsellers and number 15 on Amazon's list of "hot new releases".

So let's all buy her book
, get a bit happier, and show that social media can put an author at the top of Amazon's bestseller list. That would be a great thing to see.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Alex Schultz

    thank you for this I have bought the book and I loved the short film. I feel that way every minute I spend with my parents. Great work on your blog and keep it up whenever anyone asks me how to “do blogging well” (which I don’t) and build a community around it I point to this blog as an example because of the way you engage with everyone. Nice job.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks Alex. that short film is really great

  2. Dan T

    “A happy wife is a happy life” – I agree. Gretchen is great to connect with on facebook, about once a week, she sends a thought provoking “Happiness Project” email.

  3. daryn

    Loved the quote on your tumblr yesterday, which really resonated with me, as well as the back-story here. The four truths are something I can get behind. It reminds me of Tony Hsieh’s talks on happiness at sxsw and startup school last year. This isn’t the type of book I usually choose to pick up and read, but who doesn’t want to be happier. Sounds like the perfect way to start off a new year!

  4. gorbachev

    “Like the old AVC, the Happiness Project blog had become cluttered with widgets and was in need of a facelift.”Does that imply that the new AVC is not cluttered with widgets?:)Happy New Year!

    1. fredwilson

      Not as much anymore

  5. jwaller

    Great Post. Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos also does a fair amount of research into the science of happiness. It’d be interesting to see how their conclusions compare.

  6. david_sp

    One way to put a lot of this happiness (and positive psych) research into practice is w/the Live Happy iPhone app. My firm built this app in conjunction w/Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky (UC Riverside, author of “The How of Happiness”); it translates her research around what’s been empirically proven to boost mood and happiness into an actionable program in a mobile format. (

  7. Dave Pinsen

    I’ll definitely check out this book, and may come back and comment on it here after I do, but I’ll offer a couple of comments first based on the above. The first is that Ms. Rubin’s second “splendid truth” resonates with me as well because I heard a variation of it before — in my case, from an old Jamaican clerk at drugstore where I worked as a teen. He always had a smile on his face and sang a little tune from back home occasionally that started off like this,Time to be happy is now / Place to be happy is here / Way to be happy is to make others happy…I forget the rest of it. My second comment is in response to your penultimate sentence in this post,So let’s all buy her book , get a bit happier, and show that social media can put an author at the top of Amazon’s bestseller list.Social media success in this case would have something to do with having the access and support of prominent bloggers such as you and your wife. This reminds me of a discussion I had with Andy Swan in a comment thread on this blog a month ago, in your post about “The Fall and Rise of Media”. Back then I noted,There are still velvet ropes; it’s just that top tier bloggers (including multimedia stars such as Breitbart or Godin) have their own velvet ropes now. The average person starting a blog today doesn’t have much more voice than he did when his broadcasting options were limited to writing letters to the editor of newspapers, calling into talk radio, or going on public access TV.Gretchen Rubin got past the velvet ropes of your blog (and signed on the Gotham Gal as a legitimate affiliate) in part apparently because you’ve known* her husband for ten years. Not exactly social media success ex nihilo.*Edited as per Fred’s correction.

    1. fredwilson

      the last point you make is a legit one so let’s make sure we have all the facts out there.1) i’ve known her husband for ten years, but we aren’t “friends”. until recently i’d never even had a meal with him.2) she built her audience and blog without any help from me. with our without this post, she’s already a social media success story.3) i read the book, enjoyed it, got value out of it, and passed that along. had i hated it, i would not have trashed it, but i certainly would not have blogged about it.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        “1) i’ve known her husband for ten years, but we aren’t “friends”.Fair enough. I’ve edited my previous comment accordingly. The salient point remains that she had a real world, non-social media intro to you.2) she built her audience and blog without any help from me. with our without this post, she’s already a social media success story.OK, but did she have help from other prominent bloggers along the way? Not that there’s anything wrong with that (I’m trying to do the same thing myself), it just goes back to my point about how social media has its own gatekeepers. 3) i read the book, enjoyed it, got value out of it, and passed that along. had i hated it, i would not have trashed it, but i certainly would not have blogged about it.Of course — I’m not contesting that at all. That’s why I noted that Gotham Gal (and by the extension of this post, you) meets my three criteria* for being a legitimate affiliate. *As I wrote in the comment I linked to above from your Etsy/San Telmo post, the criteria are being able to answer the three questions below in the affirmative, as you and Gotham Gal clearly can:- Would you use the product or service yourself?- Do you respect and trust the person or organization that produces it?- Is it relevant to your audience? Happy New Year, by the way, to you and my fellow commenters here.

        1. fredwilson

          this is a really important discussion.this stuff has to be authentic and the newcomer has to be able to play on alevel field

          1. Dave Pinsen

            As a newcomer, I wouldn’t expect the playing field to be level. It’s natural that many of those who are well-connected in social media will have been well-connected in the real world. But if you’re in the mood to do a little field-leveling, I have a new product scheduled to launch in a couple of weeks. Perhaps I can run it by you via e-mail at that point, and let you kick the tires on it, and we can take it from there.

          2. Woody Benson

            amen to you Fred. I have been following Gretchen’s work for awhile now and I too, find value in it. i am looking forward to her book as well. And, i thought your Etsy post was fresh. Good honest thinking. HNY

          3. Dave Pinsen

            Having read your blog for several months, and having seen you write similarly thoughtful-sounding comments when I bring up an issue like this, I suspect this is the end of the conversation for you rather than the beginning.

          4. fredwilson

            doesn’t have to be. what do you suggest as a next step?

          5. Dave Pinsen

            Why not look at that product I mentioned when it launches, and — if you think it is one that can fill a need for a significant number of people, as I do — give me your thoughts on how a newcomer might get the word out about it?

          6. fredwilson

            done. pls email me when you want me to look at it

          7. Dave Pinsen

            Thanks, will do.

        2. Dave Pinsen

          BTW, Hackensack Gal informs me that Gretchen Rubin appears on Slate (owned by social media start-up The Washington Post Co.), is a former prominent attorney (including a stint as Supreme Court clerk for Justice O’Connor), and daughter-in-law of former Goldman Sachs chief, former U.S. Treasury Secretary, and former Citigroup consigliere Robert Rubin. Again, there’s nothing wrong with any of that, but it supports my initial impression that this wasn’t an example of social media success ex nihilo.

          1. Mark Essel

            We’re all woven together Dave. Your success will slowly grow from dedicated giving to your authentic audience (of which I’m a friendly member).Give it time, if you stick around long enough and keep on posting from the heart, instincts, genuine need. The audience will appear as if by magic.Fred didn’t have to say he enjoyed her book, but he did out of a genuine need to share something he admired. He builds his own rep and helps spread the word to his network. I hadn’t heard of Gretchin before, now I can take a peek at her blog and decide for myself. Blog marketing is like magic to folks outside of the social media velvet ropes, but it makes perfect sense of you write often enough. You just keep giving, sharing, and communicating. Eventually enough folks notice to make it all worthwhile. For me that number was very small 🙂

          2. awaldstein

            I’m with you on this Mark. Fred mentioned the other day that he saw the evolution of the decades from transaction to social to communities which we are entering now. As an adjunct to that and to support your thinking above, I’ve been pondering the change from ‘crowd sourcing’ to ‘community sourcing’ as part of this big step. This is what is going on here.

          3. Mark Essel

            It’s great how much I enjoy what disqus has done to promote that community. I can see many of us AVC’ers at Mark Susters, Howard Lindzon’s, as well eachother’s blogs.

          4. Dave Pinsen

            I have definitely warmed to Disqus recently, and will be loading it on my new blogs.

          5. awaldstein

            Yup there is a magic in the Disqus thread that I’ve not yet been able to articulate. It is an antidote to isolation; or maybe it is just a smart connector to communities that make a number of places feel like home.

          6. ShanaC

            There are secondary issues- Jumping communities or crossing communities..

          7. awaldstein

            Hey there Shana. You mean secondary as abstract? Off topic?I’ll humbly assume the latter. Let me try and simplify and close the loop.What i was trying to get at, no matter how obscurely, or off topically (sp?) was the idea that crowd-sourced communities brought folks who didn’t know each other together topically. And crowd-sourced communities needed link or people ranking systems so that those with the most influence or the most ‘crowd’ cred rose to the top. Within a community structure (like this one), the need for abstract algorithms to ‘rank’ goes away and reputation, community cred are just functions of knowing people and you are never more than a link away (with Disqus) from peeking at their backgrounds. Simpler. More natural. Not scalable of course as well.And so, even if the dispute between Dave and Mark is clarified, a reference from Fred or you within this community is part of the social graph system of simply taking input from your ‘friends’.Nothing more.And yes Shana…Happy New Year!!. It’s gonna be a good one.

          8. ShanaC

            Thanks, I hope it will be a good year. I make no judgements about the year until after it has ended. I do hope it will be a good one though, in which I learn and grow a lot. I can tell you I grew three inches, lost 10 pounds, and learned a ton in the last decade – I found my middle school yearbook recently, apparently I graduated 8th grade in 2000!I was thinking more about communities that cross over or expanding interests, or diversified interests.. I read a number of blogs that in fact may not use anything, or if they do use anything are using JSKits’ stuff as a replacement for Haloscan’s whatever (which they were using for years) Occasionally I will participate under a psudeonym which I’ve had for a number of years. The question is how do we get these communities to interlink: that’s where useful information start coming together. (FYI these will be hard sell communities, not tech savvy, and want a lot of anonymity, since religion and ethics are difficult to talk about on the web)

          9. awaldstein

            Good year, not so good year will be seen. You most certainly have perfected the intersection of wry humour and abstract thought. Always a pleasure to chat with you ;)Intersecting communities is the always approaching dot on the horizon but we can begin to see it. Disqus does it to some degree. Facebook thinks it does. Others are following.Re: non tech and anonumity. I don’t get any value from anonymous interactions and don’t participate in them. If there are topics that are hard to be public about, then chose smaller communities. Or at least that is what I would do. I’m fine to live in public and so far, this has been abused not at all.Enjoy.

          10. ShanaC

            There is a style associated to all of this. A lot of text citing. A lot ofvery long comments, even if people dither in circles. People live in thesevery closed communities where everyone seems to be three degreesof separation from the next person- they are very afraid of the gossip andpotential harm that comes from posting under real names, especially when itcomes to very flammable ideas. And post-modernism and radicalism is in theair on the Internet, if you care to notice it.So I watch generally, occasionally stepping in. You can learn a lot, but itis a very very flammable environment. Despite the one place actually iswell watched by academia…nothing seems to help, too much fear untilsocieties, particuarly more conservative ones, itself seems to settle downfrom the social shifts that the internet causes…

          11. awaldstein

            Got it. A look into a foreign world to me.Interesting enough, academics is where I once was/thought I wanted to be at one time.Much happier unfettered and doing what I want to.

          12. Dave Pinsen

            If you feel like concretizing that with some examples, I’ll be happy to engage with your explication.

          13. awaldstein

            Dave–my attempt at explaining is above in response to Shana.Happy new year to you!

          14. Dave Pinsen

            Happy New Year to you as well, Arnold.

          15. Dave Pinsen

            Mark,As I shared with you via e-mail yesterday, I’ve had a handful of examples of folks showing appreciation for my humble blog this week, so I understand your point. I consider myself a friendly member of your community as well, but as your cynicism guru I have to ask you to re-read my exchange here with Fred. I am not criticizing Fred at all for blogging about something he admires. I am merely pointing out that Ms. Rubin’s success at getting the word out about her product seems to be less an example of social media success per se, as Fred’s post suggested, and more a result of her having access to social media gatekeepers because she is well connected in the real world.When you find out that she is published on Slate, is a former Supreme Court clerk, and is the daughter-in-law of Robert Rubin, it doesn’t seem like the same scrappy social media success story you might assume from a first glance at Fred’s post. As Hackensack Gal notes, “it’s not like she’s some housewife somewhere who started a blog”.

          16. Mark Essel

            Fair enough Dave. As my mouth is on fire from overdosing on hot sauce at a burrito joint on broadway, I have grown a new respect for cautionary perspective.

          17. Dave Pinsen

            You’re a good guy, Mark. I hope whenever your product is launched, those who you’ve complimented and supported are there to offer a hand in promoting it. I’ll be happy to let you mention and explain it on my small soapbox.

          18. Mark Essel

            Thanks Dave. Going with a slooowwww release. Howard Lindzon was interested in throwing up an ad widget in order to support giving to a cause, so we’re zeroing in on a stable and healthy version of the ad widget. Shana gave me some great feedback (widget ugly, and keywords need work) both of which I was aware of but not improving fast enough. External perception can help laser beam focus efforts.

          19. curmudgeonly troll

            haha, I thought I was the resident cynic.’Happiness’, aka positive psychology, is a ray of light in a benighted field. It is also a giant business.I’ve been reading her blog, and seeing it turn into a mini social media and publishing empire. But hey, where does it say you can’t be crafty and self-promotional and successful and at the same time be happy and help people?Isn’t that what this blog is about? For instance, there are other blogs and a communities with a more worldly and sophisticated way, but some of them are run by tools – . If you don’t think business isn’t about creating win-win for you and your customers, you’ve crossed over to the dark side.So anyway, since others have taken the cynical view, I’ll disagreeably take the opposite view and say, Fred, keep taking people at face value and seeing the best of people and building a community and businesses that are win-win.And us cynics will keep coming back to occasionally rain on ’em.Few good lectures on positive psychology at Ted – including from the guy who started it…also recommended Happier, by Tal Ben-Shahar – ( ) – Harvard took his lectures down but some of them are still floating around YouTube and elsewhere

          20. Dave Pinsen

            It’s your straw man, so I guess you should have fun playing with him. But next time you reply to one of my comments, why not read it first, and respond to what I actually wrote?I have not said one negative thing about Gretchen Rubin’s book (which I haven’t read), and even noted above that one of her four truths Fred mentioned above resonated with me. I also have no problem with someone trying to help others while helping herself (why would I?), and I have no problem with win-win business propositions either (who would?). As I noted in one of my comments to Mark above,I am merely pointing out that Ms. Rubin’s success at getting the word out about her product seems to be less an example of social media success per se, as Fred’s post suggested, and more a result of her having access to social media gatekeepers because she is well connected in the real world.

          21. fredwilson

            a feel good comment by the curmudgeonly troll!

          22. ShanaC

            One thing I have to say: I have met Tal Ben-Shahar in a totally out of context meeting to his postive pyshcology stuff, but he was using his techniques. He is spot on. And I have that book. He is spot on. Though I was expecting more out of that book. I really wish I could write to him…

          23. ShanaC

            I’m not even thinking about these issues.I do think authenticity and development is a big issue: I think it is a huge development and timing thing. I keep thinking of the story of Alan Greenspan, who went back to school, night school no less, after being a Jazz player and hanging around Ayn Rand, which I think was a fully accidental meeting- and that’s how he ended up bossing around the FOMC as chairman of the Fed.He could have ended up a famous Jazz player, and he didn’t. It’s not just about who you know, it what you do and how you play the cards you are given. I get reminded all the time of this that a friend of mine, Josh Yuter, in spite of being the son of a famous rabbi and a rabbi himself, took him more than a bit of time to find a synagogue to take him on, primarily because he was single. He lucked out though, he got a very famous and historic synagogue in New York, mostly through the dint of his own hard work. (oddly through a lot of social media work, the synagogue was looking for something new in perspective if I had to make a guess)It’s rarely just your background: I have a friend who really wants to a be a property lawyer just like his dad- and can’t in his dad’s firm (anti-nepotism rules are written into the LLC). he’s going to have to stand on his own.So we shall see.

          24. Dave Pinsen

            We have to get some something to eat. I’ll deal with your comment and Arnold’s when I get back.* * * * * * *If memory serves, music was an avocation, and not a vocation for Greenspan.

          25. ShanaC

            Nope, dropped out of Julliard after two years to join the Henry Jerome Jazz Band (they did bepop). He usually played baritone sax but occasionally did flute and clarinet- and aparently was a pretty good improviser. he dropped this after a run because he knew he was extremely good but not exceptional. He somehow ended up in the NYU night program in 1945 because he realized while with the band that he liked math. That’s his back story. He was thinking at one point about composition or conducting in the early 40s…. He also dropped out before getting his phd from NYU, he didn’t have it when he joined the Fed, he has already started a prestigious economic forecasting firm. They awarded to him after he became Chairman once they saw his later papers…Yes, I realize this all sounds really strange. The ex-Chairman of the Fed could have been a jazz Musician. But hey, such is life.I figure that is sort of the life I want. Not the economic crash part, just the oddballness, semi-anti-prestige making your own way part. He apparently worked very hard and just discovered stuff about himself along the way. Sounds like a plan to me.Even better:

  8. kidmercury

    i hope in all this happiness celebrating we will not overlook the value of sadness. after all happiness is best appreciated by those who have gone through its is true and self-evident that thinking happy will lead to being happy — attitude is everything. though too often the “happy thoughts” strategy leads to willful ignorance of unfortunate truths, like 9/11 being an inside job, trillions missing from the US pentagon, US congress threatened with martial law, etc.i want to start the sadness project in which we focus 100% on the saddest things, so that we can transform them into happy things.

    1. Mark Essel

      Only you Kid can connect the seemingly vaporous dots been happiness and 9/11As to the sadness project, is that like society working to improve it’s weaknesses instead of promoting its strengths?The multifaceted super organism which our social communities have embodied are capable of building both happiness and diminishing sadness, bringing up both sides of the envelope.It’s foolish for us to be blind of the more painful aspects of our world, I guess I support both sadness and happiness task forces.

    2. JLM

      In some ways dealing forthrightly with sadness enables us to contemplate being happy. It is every bit as real as happiness. Failing to deal with sadness or dampening its impact is unhealthy. I know this from painful personal experience. For years I surpressed a sadness which was legitimate and well earned. I surpressed it seemingly under the guise that I was too “tough” to be impacted by such a girlie kind of thing. I was only liberated from its strangelehold after I was able to let it out and let it go. I suspect that this is one of the core — and perhaps one of the only legitimate — issues with PTSS.

      1. fredwilson

        that’s Gretchen’s first splendid truthyou need to be able to feel good, feel bad, and feel real

      2. ShanaC

        There are other reasons why one would choose to suppress it…and it not a pure man versus woman thing. I was really shocked the first time I got really angry. One of my close friends had been waiting for me to get angry for years…

  9. bfeld

    Amy and I are huge Gretchen Rubin fans. I’ve think the Second Splendid Truth is pure genius. That’s how I try to live my life.

  10. johndodds

    To help you in your pursuit of the second splendid truth , I resolve to continually let you know how you can make me happy. It’s the least I could do. Happy 2010.

    1. bfeld

      Cute, but you have to combine this with a piece of Objectivist philosophy which is to “be self-interested”. If I don’t know you, or have a relationship with you, how exactly is it “rational” for me (in an objectivist construct) to unselfishly make you happy? If by me being happy, you are happy, that is good. However, doing things that make me unhappy just to make you happy makes no sense. So – step one is for you to be happy if I’m happy. And step two is for you to get to know me, in which case we both have a selfish interest in making the other person happy.Totally consistent with the Happiness Project.

      1. johndodds

        Ooops, there was a bit of transatlantic synchronicity there Brad. My remark was not a reaction to your almost simultaneous comment, but aimed at Fred who knows my sense of humour.Your point is entirely correct. I was simply highlighting that the poor phrasing of the second truth can imply self-interest. Perhaps better to switch it around and say “if you make other people happy, then your happiness will grow.”

      2. ShanaC

        I really dislike pure Objectivism. I have to say that. There are no real way of understanding children in Ayn Rand’s world, especially baby’s- which are a drain, especially if they cause post-partum. But babies are good for society.I wish there was such thing as soft objectivism. Such is life.

      3. Success In The Suburbs

        Ahhh, an Adam Smith disciple? Be honest, it just doesn’t sound as warm and fuzzy when you say it. Some fear the words “self-interested” and immediately conjure up visions of Gordon Gekko. The book actually addresses boundaries which, I believe, is your point. Over the years, I found myself doing just what you described, “working to make others happy and making myself unhappy.” Before I knew it I was a chubby, middle-aged, haggard four bedroom colonial suburban stereotype.If I were to have a single mantra to describe my own “Happiness Project” it would actually be exactly as you described.Putting the oxygen mask on myself first,Denise Burkshttp://www.successinthesubu…http://www.stepmotherintheshttp://www.successfulweight

    2. ShanaC

      You are very british…

      1. Mark Essel


    3. Mark Essel

      Count me in 🙂

  11. andrés alegría

    i’d never come across gretchen or her book, so thanks for blogging about it. happiness is sometimes perhaps overlooked when rushing for “bigger and better” things, but i consider it an imperative priority. i’ve added her blog to my rss feed and will read her posts. happy new year.

  12. virme

    Did you read it on your Kindle?

    1. fredwilson

      nope. i loaned the gotham gal the kindle for this trip and went back tobooks. time for me to get her one of her own now. she’s hooked

  13. Paul Jozefak

    I have a feeling this book may quickly have a similar trajectory just as Tim Ferriss’s “4 Hour Workweek” did using the social media path.

  14. ShanaC

    A new years resolution: Be happier but not in an OCD way where you try to figure out the best ways to be happier, otherwise you miss the point.That could totally happen to me…overshoot and miss the point. Glad I’m starting to figure that out, so I guess I’m on my way with this one…

  15. Mark Essel

    Surprised no one mentioned the 4 noble truths. Buddhism is a philosophy very much focused on freedom from suffering.I wrote briefly about satisfaction versus happiness back in May while describing the title of my first mini blog to book. Dan Gilbert gave a great TED talk on the topic (referenced).

  16. Ben Tanen

    Fred, in a happy bit of synchronicity, Canadian musician and composer Charles Spearin released an album last year called The Happiness Project. He recorded his neighbors speaking on the general topic of happiness and arranged the resulting melodies for his musician friends to play along with.I would have thought you’ve been exposed to it already, but then isn’t this blog partly about making sure you don’t miss things that you otherwise might have?So check it out at http://www.happiness-projec…Enjoy.-Ben

    1. fredwilson

      will dothanks!

  17. thisisananth

    I would definitely try this book out Fred. Thanks for the suggestion.

  18. Trying Again

    Thanks for the intersting post. Putting the book on my read list for 2010. I have some agressive goals this year and am blogging my way through my personal journey:http://tryingagainintwentyt

  19. alms

    Thanks for that. Hadn’t heard of the book. Love the premise. Cheers!

  20. Carl Rahn Griffith

    This has been a record minimalist ‘consumer’ Christmas for us, and – in spite of all the travails of 2009 – it’s been our happiest, by far.

  21. Jan Schultink

    Thank you for pointing me to this.Reading your post, I am reminded again how “traditional” movements aiming to give people’s lives meaning (religious, others) are failing to move from the printing press (since 1440) to the social web to spread their ideas.

  22. Marilyn Byrd

    Great post and resolution for 2010. I’ve always liked the Abraham Lincoln quote. “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.””happy” new year!

    1. fredwilson

      he had a wife who was very unhappy

      1. Marilyn Byrd

        More than likely she was the one he was talking to.

  23. aarondelcohen

    Fred:The film is beautiful. I hope people watch it I’m closing my laptop and hanging out with my daughter. Gretchen, taking my kids to school has always felt good and now it feels better.Aaron

  24. alexismichelle

    Good call! I started reading this book during the last few days of ’09, and made my whole family listen to an audio version of the intro and first chapter (where she gives an overview of the happiness project) in the car on our way to brunch yesterday. Its an annual tradition for us to kick off the year sharing intentions for the year to come, and I thought the happiness project would provide a great framework. One of my favorite aspects of the book (so far, I’m only about half way through) are the countless examples of how being happy makes us 1000x more effective and successful in so many areas of our life. I actually circulated to several friends the list of ways in which being happier makes us more successful at work. I think many believe that focusing on their own happiness is somehow a “selfish” pursuit, but my experience, observations, and interactions have suggested quite the opposite.

  25. David Smuts

    Thanks so much for sharing this Fred- I really needed something positive like this just right now. Loved that video too. I’m going to check this happiness project out.

  26. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Captain Sensible (formerly of The Damned) was way ahead of the curve … ;-)…

  27. Lawrence Oluyede

    Thanks for the post Fred. Just ordered the book from 🙂

  28. Prokofy

    Reading this article, I couldn’t help thinking of Philip’s Love Machine. If you’ve never met Philip Rosedale, you should set up an appointment with him when you next go to San Francisco or maybe he is at some of the tech conferences you go to (the inventor of Second Life). I think you would like each other because he’s very enthusiastic about what he works on and smart.He started a new company that has this system they used at Linden Lab whereby you send praise to people specifically related to a job they are going.'s happiness squared, you should like it : )

    1. fredwilson

      thanks for the tipi’ll check all of this out

  29. David Noël

    Ordered it after reading your post and the book just arrived today. Can’t wait to get started.