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The Gratitude Diaries
Cover of The Gratitude Diaries
The Gratitude Diaries
How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life
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In this New York Times bestseller, Janice Kaplan spends a year living gratefully and transforms her marriage, family life, work, and health.  On New Year’s Eve, journalist and former...
In this New York Times bestseller, Janice Kaplan spends a year living gratefully and transforms her marriage, family life, work, and health.  On New Year’s Eve, journalist and former...
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  • In this New York Times bestseller, Janice Kaplan spends a year living gratefully and transforms her marriage, family life, work, and health. 

    On New Year’s Eve, journalist and former Parade editor in chief Janice Kaplan makes a promise to be grateful and look on the bright side of whatever happens. She realizes that how she feels over the next year will have less to do with the events that occur than her own attitude and perspective. Getting advice at every turn from psychologists, academics, doctors, and philosophers, Kaplan brings readers on a smart and witty journey to discover the value of appreciating what you have.

    Relying on both amusing personal experiences and extensive research, Kaplan explores how gratitude can transform every aspect of life, including marriage and friendship, money and ambition, and health and fitness. She learns how appreciating your spouse changes the neurons of your brain and why saying thanks helps CEOs succeed. Through extensive interviews with experts, and lively conversations with real people, including celebrities like Matt Damon, Daniel Craig, and Jerry Seinfeld, Kaplan discovers the role of gratitude in everything from our sense of fulfillment to our children’s happiness.
     
    With warmth, humor, and appealing insight, Kaplan’s journey will empower readers to think positively and start living their own best year ever. 

Excerpts-

  • From the book

     

     

     

    Given that I am working on a new project about gratitude, I should have woken up on this early April morning to sunny skies, singing birds, and friends gathered in my living room singing “Kumbaya.”

    Instead, everything that could go wrong did.

    But somehow, I kept seeing rays of sunshine.

    To start, my old Volvo wouldn’t spark and jumper cables had no effect. The neighbor who came over to help saved the day by driving me to the train station, twenty minutes away. I got to the city and stepped onto the rainy, windy sidewalk just as a bus raced through a huge puddle and sent a thick stream of muddy water all over me.

    “Yuuck!” I screamed, though my language might have been a bit more colorful.

    A few passersby clucked in sympathy, but I didn’t want to go to my important meeting looking like a survivor from a Tough Mudder race. My favorite J.Crew was just a few blocks away, so I dashed over, quickly bought a bold-print skirt, and changed in the fitting room.

    I got to my meeting on time, but the CEO I had come to see had a fake tan and extremely overmoussed hair. He texted while I talked and managed to look up only at the end. “Hey, you look hot in that skirt,” he said.

    Since I was pitching a project, not cruising Match.com, I should have been furious. But instead, I laughed and told myself I’d been saved from working with a man who spent more on hair products than I did.

    I went to have coffee with my best friend, Susan, whom I have known since we met in summer camp at age eight. She is intensely loyal, fiercely critical, and relentlessly blunt.

    “You must be miserable,” she said when I outlined my day.

    “Not really. I’m trying to be positive.”

    “How can you be positive about a dead car?”

    I took a deep breath. I could do this. “The car was fourteen years old and had 150,000 miles on it. I never expected it to last this long. More important was that I have a nice neighbor who came to help.”

    “Yeah, that was good,” Susan admitted. “How about getting soaked on the sidewalk?”

    “Look at the funny side. The idiot CEO complimented my skirt. And think how lucky I am that I could buy a new outfit without breaking the bank. “

    Susan dumped two packets of Splenda into her coffee and stirred furiously. For years she’d heard me gripe about needing more money, so this appreciating what I had was a switch.

    “I’m your best friend. You can bitch and complain all you want.”

    “I don’t feel like complaining,” I said, surprising myself as much as her. “I can’t change what happened, so it feels good to change how I think about it.”

    Susan took a long sip of coffee. She has an ambitious, hard-driving nature. Though inordinately successful at work, Susan is often stressed, pressed, and occasionally depressed. Like all of us, she gets so busy concentrating on what she wants that she forgets to be happy for what she has. I worried my good spirits might grate on her. But she just raised an eyebrow.

    “If this is that gratitude stuff you’ve been working on, I think I need it. How do I sign up?”

    It was time to share my secret. So on the top of a napkin, I wrote the heading Three Reasons I’m Grateful Today. Then I pushed the napkin across the table and handed Susan a pen.

    “Fill it in,” I said.

    Susan stared at the napkin for so long that I finally took it back and crossed out Three Reasons and changed it to...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 4, 2015
    Kaplan (I’ll See You Again) shares her journey of embracing a lifestyle of gratitude for one year, and the practice’s remarkable effects on her physical and mental well-being. Over the course of the year, Kaplan focuses on being thankful for her husband, children, sister, career, and financial status. She keeps a “gratitude journal,” adheres to a “gratitude diet,” and begins reframing negative situations to accentuate the positive. Kaplan consults a number of experts, asking a social psychologist about privilege and entitlement, a “gratitude guru” about ambition and achievement, and a medical doctor about the stress-relief and immune system regulation components of gratitude. Nonprofit maven Henry Timms discusses “Giving Tuesday,” his antithesis to Black Friday, and Kaplan’s friend Jackie Hance remarks on crawling out of a bleak depression after the deaths of her three young daughters in an automobile accident. Other topics include teaching kindness and empathy to children as a means of cultivating gratitude, the value of quality experiences over material possessions, and appreciation as a motivating tool in the workplace. Kaplan’s study is insightful and loaded with compelling research and solid techniques for positive thinking, and her own example provides the most convincing testament to her ideas. Agent: Alice Martell, Martell Agency.

  • Kirkus

    May 15, 2015
    How a year of being thankful led to big changes in a woman's life. When editor and producer Kaplan (A Job to Kill For, 2008, etc.) made a New Year's resolution to take a full year and show more appreciation in life, she didn't realize what a difference that pledge would make. Since she had participated in a survey funded by the John Templeton Foundation on the idea of gratitude, she knew that "less than half the people surveyed said they expressed gratitude on any regular basis." Determined to conduct her own experiment, she began by focusing on being more grateful to her husband, and she discovered little comments made a huge difference not only in her own attitude toward him, but life in general. She then extended her expressions of gratefulness to include her children, income, career, and health. Each week, she made a point of writing down the things, events, or people she was most appreciative of at that moment. Kaplan's plan to be more grateful is approachable for anyone. Her conversational tone is encouraging, like talking to a good friend who's having a great day and wants to share it with you. These days, instead of grumbling about the weather or other things that used to bother her, the author finds the humor and bright side of each moment. Having a positive attitude has been proven to change the neural pathways in the brain and rewire a person's automatic responses. By practicing the art of gratitude, a person can make a subtle change in life, and the ripples can have far-reaching effects. "If we put good into the world," writes the author, "maybe, just maybe, it starts to be returned." There's no harm in trying, especially when one reads how successfully it turned out for Kaplan. Simple, effective procedures that can be easily incorporated into even the busiest lifestyle.

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life
Janice Kaplan
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