Thriller or Filler: Better Than Before

This month's book review features Gretchen Rubin's Better Than Before.

By Gretchen Rubin

Published by Crown Publishing

"I really want to exercise more… eat healthily… be better at keeping in touch with my friends… get to work on that book…" etc. If you have these types of thoughts, this book could be for you.

It deals with forming good habits and growing out of bad ones. In Rubin’s words, in life we take our hands off the wheel of decision, our foot off the gas of willpower and rely on the cruise control of habits.

This book goes into great detail about potential pitfalls and tricks. Personally, I found it all a little…irritating. The author is a self-proclaimed know-it-all – think an older Hermione Granger, without Harry and Ron to help keep it real.

They say the world is made up of two types of people: those who divide the world into two types of people, and those who don’t. The author is most definitely in the former camp – many pages are devoted to whether you are an ‘obliger’ or a ‘questioner’: an ‘owl’ or a ‘lark’? A wooden table or a brick wall? (I may have made that last example up, but after many of these, I’d lost the thread – and the will to live.)

And while I get what she’s trying to do, it’s just all too much. But credit where it’s due, I have
decided to give it a go: the main habit I’ve decided to break is paying David Lloyd lots of money to not attend his gyms. Now wait… instead, I’m creating a habit of ‘moving more’ (believe me, this is a big step for me) and I’m forming a habit of walking at least 30 minutes a day… so far.

Reviewed by Sandy Lindsay, chair, Tangerine; and project director, The Juice Academy

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