Book Review: Better Than Before

Author: Gretchen Rubin

Rating: 3 stars

Book Blurb: Most of us have a habit we’d like to change, and there’s no shortage of expert advice. But as we all know from tough experience, no magic, one-size-fits-all solution exists. It takes work to make a habit, but once that habit is set, we can harness the energy of habits to build happier, stronger, more productive lives.

In Better Than Before, acclaimed writer Gretchen Rubin identifies every approach that actually works. She presents a practical, concrete framework to allow readers to understand their habits—and to change them for good. 
Infused with Rubin’s compelling voice, rigorous research, and easy humor, and packed with vivid stories of lives transformed, Better Than Before explains the (sometimes counterintuitive) core principles of habit formation and answers the most perplexing questions about habits: 
Why do we find it tough to create a habit for something we love to do? 
• How can we keep our healthy habits when we’re surrounded by temptations? 
• How can we help someone else change a habit? 

Rubin reveals the true secret to habit change: first, we must know ourselves. When we shape our habits to suit ourselves, we can find success—even if we’ve failed before. 
Whether you want to eat more healthfully, stop checking devices, or finish a project, the invaluable ideas in Better Than Before will start you working on your own habits—even before you’ve finished the book.

What I Liked: I liked some of the suggestions in this book. For example, the book reminded me that I tend to follow through on things when I have involved another person so I can be held accountable. So this was a good reminder to make plans or engage a partner to achieve some of my goals. There were other good reminders. I say reminders because a lot of what is stated in the book, I had read elsewhere.

What I Didn’t Like: It felt like at times you were hearing what was best for her personally as opposed to what would work for the masses or different types. No problem with that per se – but that’s not what was advertised in the blurb. Don’t get me wrong – you would get a little bit about how you could apply this in different ways for people that think or feel differently than her… but then the book would zero in on how she felt or how she dealt with making habits.

Also the tone was a little I know what’s best, I read all these studies so sit down and learn. And more than once she seemed to adopt people around her as projects and try to encourage them to change. These people did not seem to ask for her assistance. I had a friend like that. We don’t hang out much anymore.

I also kept thinking I don’t know what your credentials are besides you read a lot and came up with all this? That is the first time I have thought that while reading a self help book. Her condescension got to me. She would state things as fact that were just… well let’s just say I didn’t agree.

I recommend this one because again, it had some good reminders about making habits. But I don’t think I will be reading more by this author.


4 responses to “Book Review: Better Than Before”

  1. I would like to sleep more. But still do everything else I currently do. So I’m thinking instead of me changing, the world needs to change to have more hours 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s one way of doing it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good review! I used to read Gretchen Rubin’s blog, years ago, so it was probably about productivity. Back then she seemed very personable, but maybe now she thinks she’s a big cheese. I’ve got her Happiness book to read when the spirit takes me, but that may be some time. It’s not like I’m unhappy and need fixing. I do find myself talking back to self help books. I definitely cherry pick the bits that I like the sound of and disregard the rest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do the same with self help books, I feel like if the book appealed to me it must have something to offer – even if I don’t agree with everything being said. I think reading different points of view other than your own is a good practice. But yes – I definitely cherry pick too 🙂 LOL


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