Book Review: Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

At a glance

Core topic: Habits
Content: Observational and experience-based perspective of how to change old habits or implement new ones with research references
Writing style: Conversational / Informal
Who might enjoy this book: Anyone who enjoys non-fiction and is interested in some practical strategies to change their habits


A refreshing look at habits from a practical and thoughtful perspective. Gretchen Rubin uses herself, friends and family as guinea pigs in her experiential approach to understanding habits, uncovering some interesting insights and observations on what encourages good (and bad) habit formation. I particularly appreciated her honesty in her willingness to accept when strategies that worked for her didn’t work for others as expected. It helped me immensely in becoming more consistent in my own habits in two particular areas:

  1. Where appropriate, I associated the habit with something that I considered a core personal belief (know thyself); and
  2. I decided on the habits and then “decided not to decide”. I found removing the option and just doing it made it so much easier to maintain my habits.

The book is packed with many other effective strategies and is well worth the read. You’re sure to come away with some useful tips if you are looking to make some changes to your habits.

By the numbers

Overall: 4.5/5
Content: 4/5
Readability: 5/5
Length (in relation to content / ideas): 4/5