Four steps to happiness

By | 3rd January 2013

It never ceases to amaze me how one thing leads on to another.

Let me explain!

Recently, I was referred to a blog written by someone of whom I had never heard. Nothing unusual in that, you may say, but bear with me.

Jim Rosenblum of Stamford, Connecticut civil litigation, administrative and health care law firm Rosenblum Newfield, LLC referred the blog to me in an entirely different context from the subject matter of the piece. If I tell you that the piece was written by Gretchen Rubin and that it concerned her happiness project, for which she has become a number one best selling author in New York and that her subject is eight excellent tips for living given to her by her parents, you may conclude, not wholly unreasonably, that I have finally lost my marbles.

After all, what has that to do with a blog which tries to concentrate on e-disclosure?

You can and should read the piece here, if only because you can, and it is a bit of fun: Eight Excellent Tips for Living that My Parents Gave Me. [The Happiness Project, 21 October, 2009]

However, because I had never previously heard of Mrs Rubin ( apparently a well adjusted and happily married woman and mother of two living in Manhattan), I looked her up using our favourite search engine. I found that:

Gretchen Rubin is the author of several books, including the #1 New York Times and international bestseller, The Happiness Project—an account of the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. On her popular blog, The Happiness Project, she reports on her daily adventures in the pursuit of happiness.

As part of my continuing research, I discovered that our own Daily Telegraph’s Anna Tyzack had written an article about Mrs Rubin in September last year. I must have missed it and, in case you did too, here is a link: Gretchen Rubin’s four steps to happiness [The Telegraph, 18th September, 2012]

Reading the piece, I was struck by how simple the four rules were. I am for simplicity in most things and I offer up her “nuggets of good sense” which focus on the concept of domestic bliss. Gretchen suggests that in order to have a happy home you need to do four things:

  • Declutter
  • Reorder
  • Sleep
  • Know your nature

I was immediately struck, as you may be too, by the similarity with some of the golden rules relating to e-disclosure/e-discovery. For declutter, you can read preservation, collection, sorting, deduplicating, culling of data. For reorder, I suggest you should think processing and delivery to lawyers in a way which enables them to review what they have got. For sleep, I reckoned that deciding on non responsiveness of documents and discarding them from review was the right element of the e-discovery process. Finally, know your nature means analysis and review including early case assessment and predictive coding.

I concluded that, to follow the four golden rules, otherwise known to Mrs Rubin’s fans as the steps to happiness, would lead to a successful outcome to the disclosure process and a happy client (as well, of course, to a happy home).

Common sense really and certainly neat and simple!