This book is a worthwhile read for everyone, everyone that is who is interested in improving their lives. Of course most people just want to live their lives without being pestered into changing what ever it is that they are doing. This book isn’t for them, because it is definitely into poking and prodding its readers into being better people, and moving into a higher social class. Of course if you do read this book to the end you will probably try some of the suggestions and become a happier and more productive person.
Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Livesby Gretchen Rubin creates her own personality profile based on what she names “The Four Tendencies”; they are Upholder, Questioner, Rebel and Obliger. On page 267 there is an easy quiz that helps you define which of these basic types you most conform to, and that is helpful when reading the book, so you can better create new habits for yourself. This book is based on personal experience, and feedback from her personal web site of other people’s personal experiences. It isn’t science, but it provides a basis for experiments that might be put to more rigorous testing to discover if the four categories presented will change their habits and behaviors as Rubin implies.
When we are setting up a new habit she says accountability is the powerful factor in habit formation, and a ubiquitous feature in our lives. If we believe that someone’s watching, we behave differently. page 91 That future someone can be ourselves if we have the habit of observing our own actions and have cultivated the habit of taking responsibility for our actions. That idea followed the epigraph “Tell me with whom you consort and I will tell you who you are: if I know how you spend your time, then I know what might become of you.” Goethe, Maxims and Reflections.
Another fine epigram is on page 45. “All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits—practical, emotional, and intellectual,—systematically organized for our weal or woe, and bearing us irresistibly toward our destiny.” William James. Talks to Teachers And Students
Three years ago I wrote a post, Why we can’t Trust the Ruling Class. It was about people of which Gretchen Rubin is a choice example, and with this book she is pointing the way for people of the new ruling class to live better. The trend clearly has its good side for those people who go to Harvard, Yale, MIT etc. because they have been selected out of the general population for their exceptional abilities. When at these institutions they meet and breed with other exceptional people, and their children are even more exceptional. This has gone on for three generations, and is continuing at an ever more selective level of refinement. It has now formed a new elite such has never before existed on Earth; brilliant, beautiful, well educated, and well connected. What’s not to like? The problem is that this very procedure has drained and is continuing to drain those very qualities away from the general population. The 99% are becoming more dull, uglier, stupider, and disconnected from society. Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 by Charles Murray, provides the scientific proof of that assertion.
You can be better than before, but the window of opportunity is closing.