About the Book

2betterthanbeforeBetter Than Before was an instant bestseller:

Washington Post bestseller

New York Times bestseller

Wall Street Journal bestseller

-Indie bestseller list

Globe & Mail bestseller (Canada)

Sunday Times bestseller (London)

-“Best Books of the Month” in iBooks

Better Than Before will be published in more than fifteen countries.

Gretchen Rubin, author of the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, has helped millions of readers to get happier. Now she tackles the critical question: How can we make good habits and break bad ones?

With her signature mix of rigorous research, easy humor, and personal experimentation, she investigates how we can change our habits—really. In a book that’s bursting with big, provocative ideas, Rubin shows readers how to create the habits that will transform their lives, even if they’ve failed before.

As observed in the review in the New York Times Sunday Book Review, “The Happiness Project lays out life’s essential goals…Her new book, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, serves as a kind of detailed instruction manual on how to achieve them.”  Or, as her husband says in Better Than Before, “’With your books about happiness, you were trying to answer the question “How do I become happier?” And this habits book is “No, seriously, how do I become happier?’”

Many habit experts offer one-size-fits-all solutions. But as we all know through hard experience, no magic formula exists. The secret, Rubin explains, is to pinpoint the specific strategies will work for us. From finding the right time to begin a new habit, to setting up a counter-intuitive system of reward, to using the pleasure of treats to strengthen our good habits, Rubin identifies the 21 strategies that will allow every reader to find an effective, individual fit.

Along the way, Rubin uses herself as guinea pig, tests her theories on family and friends, and answers readers’ 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?
  • I want to help someone else make a change. But how?
  • Why do practically all dieters gain the weight back—plus more?
  • How quickly can I change a habit?
  • How can I get myself to stick to a new habit?
  • Do the same strategies work for shaping simple habits (like wearing a seat belt) work for complex habits (like drinking less)?
  • Why can I make time for everyone else, but can’t make time for myself?


Better Than Before gives readers the thrill of recognition and relief, because at last, they’ll have the vocabulary and framework to change their habits successfully. Questioner or Rebel? Dependent on external accountability—or by inner desire? Love habits—or resist them? Solutions exist.

Better Than Before identifies the many strategies that we can use to make or break our habits. The most fun strategy? Treats. The funniest? Loophole-Spotting.

Whether readers want to get more sleep, eat more healthfully, stop checking their phone, or finish a project, habits make change possible. Reading just a few chapters of Better Than Before will start readers working on their own habits—even before they’ve finished the book.

Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. 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.

Better Than Before will be published in ten languages—and counting.

Available now!

Read an excerpt of Better Than Before. Click here.

To listen to a sample clip and order the audiobook, click here.

Contact your favorite indie bookstore (Rainy Day Books is my terrific hometown indie), tell your library you’d like to read it, or order here:

United States




Gretchen Rubin talks about writing Better Than Before and what she learned about the challenges of habit change. Click here to download the free interview.

Advanced Praise for Better Than Before

“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, New York Times bestselling author of Quiet

“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, New York Times bestselling author of The Power of Habit

“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 New York Times bestselling author of Thrive

“Is there a habit in your life you’d like to change? If so, here’s your first step: Read this book. It’s loaded with practical, everyday tips and techniques that will guide you to success.”
—Dan Heath, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Made to StickSwitch, and Decisive

“Almost everyone wants to be ‘better’—slimmer, smarter, better looking, more interesting, more productive—and we want to know we’re improving, we want the reinforcing evidence. Gretchen Rubin’s new masterpiece, Better Than Before, shows us how. She shows how to turn vicious cycles into virtuous cycles and how to turn ruts into roads less traveled. The key is in starting and supporting the habits that will turn us into who we want to be. Unlike other books on habits, Rubin’s book gives us the specific tools and a blueprint for getting back on track—the fast track.”
 —Brian Wansink, Ph.D., New York Times bestselling author of Slim by Design and Mindless Eating

“Gretchen Rubin’s superpower is curiosity. Luckily for us, she’s turned her passionate inquiry to the topic of making and mastering habits. Weaving together research, unforgettable examples, and her brilliant insight, Better Than Before is a force for real change. It rearranged what I thought I knew about my habits, and I’m better for it.”
—Brené Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection

“With bold and original insights, Gretchen Rubin reveals the hidden truths about how to change our habits—from resisting junk food and hitting the gym to ending procrastination and saving money. Better Than Before is a gem, and the first habit you should form is reading a chapter every night.”
—Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take

Praise for Gretchen Rubin

“Gretchen Rubin is a writer after my own heart—seriously brilliant, very warm, and funny. I think she’s amazing.”
—Anne Lamott, New York Times bestselling author of Bird by Bird and Operating Instructions

Better than Before)