Blog Post

Some Holiday Gift Ideas Suggested Specifically for the Four Tendencies. – Personal Development Article

It’s holiday season, so it’s time to choose gifts. This process can be frustrating when you’re not sure what someone would like to receive, so to provide some inspiration, here are some gift ideas based on the Four Tendencies. Yes! If you know whether your gift recipient is an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel, you can use that knowledge to make predictions about what that person might like to receive. No idea what the “Four Tendencies” framework is? Read about…

Read More

“I Try to Focus on My Breath, and Within Seconds, I’m Focusing on the Deadlines I’m Missing.” – Happiness Article

Interview: Dan Zevin. Dan Zevin is a Thurber Prize-winning humorist who has written for the New York Times, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Rolling Stone, Salon, Real Simple, Parents, and The Wall Street Journal, and as a comic commentator for NPR. He’s also the author of  Dan Gets a Minivan and The Day I Turned Uncool, which were both optioned by Adam Sandler. His latest book and YouTube series is Very Modern Mantras: Daily Affirmations for Daily Aggravations. I love aphorisms, proverbs, koans, paradoxes,…

Read More

Re-Think “Black Friday” to Tailor the Holiday to Your Values. – Self Improvement Article

Here in the United States, “Black Friday” is the day after Thanksgiving Thursday, and it’s a traditional day to go shopping for holiday gifts. Many people enjoy this tradition, and the excitement and festive spirit of so many people hitting the stores, but some people don’t like the day’s association with spending and consumerism. If you’re in the second group, you can re-think Black Friday to suit yourself. You can create your own individual activity or ritual to give the…

Read More

The Next Pick for the Happier Podcast Book Club: “Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me” by Adrienne Brodeur. – Personal Development Article

We’ve picked our next book for the Happier Podcast Book Club. Our next choice is Adrienne Brodeur’s gripping memoir, Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me. This book is generating a tremendous amount of buzz and was an instant bestseller. The New York Times Book Review described it: “Exquisite and harrowing. . . . gorgeously written and deeply insightful.” It has made numerous “best-of” lists, including those from The New York Times Book Review, TIME, People, Entertainment Weekly, and…

Read More

What I Read This Month: November 2019 – Happiness Article

For more than two years now, every Monday morning, I’ve posted a photo on my Facebook Page of the books I finished during the week, with the tag #GretchenRubinReads.  I get a big kick out of this weekly habit—it’s a way to shine a spotlight on all the terrific books that I’ve read. As I write about in my book Better Than Before, for most of my life, my habit was to finish any book that I started. Finally, I realized that…

Read More

7 Tips for Having a Happy Thanksgiving with Your Difficult Relatives. – Self Improvement Article

In the United States, Thanksgiving is approaching. For many people, Thanksgiving is a joyous holiday; for many people, Thanksgiving is a dreaded holiday. One factor that can make it tough is spending time with difficult relatives. Here are some strategies for keeping Thanksgiving dinner — or any holiday gathering, at any time of the year — pleasant: 1. Before you join the group, spend a few minutes thinking about how you want to behave. Don’t just react in the moment;…

Read More

10 Great Gift Ideas for a Podcast Lover—or Someone Who Should Be a Podcast Lover. – Personal Development Article

The holidays are approaching! And that means it’s time to think about gifts. I dislike hunting for gifts, but I love buying and giving a gift when I know I’ve discovered something that a person will genuinely be delighted to receive. There’s nothing more delicious than identifying the perfect present. In case you need some ideas, here are some podcast-related possibilities: 1. The Gift of a Podcast! Go to giftofpodcast.com to download the “gift certificate” and the cheat-sheet of instructions.…

Read More

By Popular Demand—Merchandise! Drink from Your “Choose the Bigger Life” Mug, Wear your “Tendency” T-Shirt, or Give as a Gift. – Happiness Article

At last! We’ve got merchandise! We’ve got t-shirts, both short- and long-sleeved. We’ve got sweatshirts, with the “Onward and Upward” motto. We’ve got mugs. Elizabeth loves mugs so much, of course we had to offer mugs. We’ve got tote bags. I do love a canvas tote bag. Just in time, too! “Merchandise” was #4 on my “19 for 2019” list, and we’re not far from the end of the year now. So take a look here and see what strikes your…

Read More

“More Failure = More Success.” – Self Improvement Article

Interview: Neil Pasricha. I’ve known Neil for years. We got acquainted long ago, through our blogs, when blogs still felt fresh and new. I was a big fan of his gratitude blog 1000 Awesome Things. From there, he’s released huge bestselling books such as The Book of Awesome and The Happiness Equation. He’s got a terrific podcast called 3 Books with Neil Pasricha—it’s “by and for book lovers, writers, makers, sellers…and librarians.” You can watch his TEDxToronto talk on “The Three A’s…

Read More

“Happiness Usually Comes from a Place of Stillness, from Feeling Like You Have Enough in the Moment.” – Personal Development Article

Interview: Ryan Holiday. Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying; Conspiracy; and many other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the New York Times to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as multiplatinum musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He’s written three books that explore ancient…

Read More

“Red Is the Salt of Color,” or, Why I Love the Short, Powerful Observation of the Aphorism. – Happiness Article

I love aphorisms, proverbs, koans, paradoxes, fables, and teaching stories. Lately I’ve been spent a lot of time thinking and reading about aphorisms. Now, what exactly is an “aphorism?” As with just about everything, people argue about definitions. Aphorism expert (yes, such an expertise exists) James Geary argues for “FIVE LAWS OF THE APHORISM: It Must Be Brief, It Must Be Personal, It Must Be Definitive, It Must Be Philosophical, and It Must Have a Twist.” Here’s how I define…

Read More

Lessons from the Life of Dolly Parton: My Fascination Continues. – Self Improvement Article

Thanks to all the listeners and readers who wrote to me to make sure I’d heard about the new podcast Dolly Parton’s America. It explores the life and achievements of brilliant Dolly Parton, whom I admire so much. I’ve had a chance to listen to the first two episodes, and I can’t wait to keep going. I allow myself to listen only on my morning walk (that’s the Strategy of Pairing), so I can’t just binge it all in one…

Read More

What I Read This Month: October 2019 – Happiness Article

For more than two years now, every Monday morning, I’ve posted a photo on my Facebook Page of the books I finished during the week, with the tag #GretchenRubinReads.  I get a big kick out of this weekly habit—it’s a way to shine a spotlight on all the terrific books that I’ve read. As I write about in my book Better Than Before, for most of my life, my habit was to finish any book that I started. Finally, I realized that…

Read More

The Next Choice for the “Happier” Podcast Book Club: “I.M.” by Isaac Mizrahi. – Personal Development Article

We’ve picked our next book for the Happier Podcast Book Club! Another memoir: I.M by Isaac Mizrahi. A New York Times bestseller, this memoir is thought-provoking, hilarious, beautifully written, fascinating. It’s a great portrait of a time and a place. You get a picture of glamor and celebrities, and also of the tremendously hard work of attaining mastery. You can listen to this 3-minute episode of “A Little Happier,” where I talk about a few passages that particularly struck me: “Reading…

Read More

“Now I Don’t Think of a Quick Hike or Hour in the Gym as Torture But as a Reward.” – Happiness Article

Interview: Laurie Santos Laurie Santos is a professor of psychology and cognitive science at Yale University, and the Director of Yale’s Comparative Cognition Laboratory and Director of Yale’s Canine Cognition Lab. She’s also the Head of Yale’s residential college Silliman College—which is my Yale college! At Yale, the “colleges” are like the Houses of Hogwarts, so it’s as if she’s my Professor McGonagall. Laurie Santos made headlines in 2018 when her class “Psychology and the Good Life” became the most…

Read More

“Sitting Under a Tree in a Pine Forest Is Happy Medicine.” – Self Improvement Article

Interview: John Jantsch. John Jantsch is from Kansas City (just like me!—I used to see his office sign on my drive home from the airport) and is a marketing consultant, speaker, and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine, SEO for Growth, and The Referral Engine. His latest book, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur: 366 Daily Meditations to Feed Your Soul and Grow Your Business, is a collection of daily meditations for entrepreneurs; by making ourselves better people,…

Read More

My Halloween Traditions: Holiday Breakfast, Seasonal Photo Gallery—and No Candy – Personal Development Article

In case you haven’t noticed (but how could you not?), it’s Halloween time! One central theme of my happiness project is memory. Time is passing so quickly; I worry that I won’t remember this stage of life, or what it’s like to have children this age. My shorthand aphorism for this worry is “The days are long, but the years are short” (of everything I’ve ever written, my one-minute video, “The Years Are Short,” is the thing that resonates most with people). One way to make time…

Read More

“Fresh Air and Being in Nature Always Give Me an Energy Boost.” – Happiness Article

Interview: Maki Moussavi. Maki Moussavi is a coach, speaker, and author of The High Achiever’s Guide: Transform Your Success Mindset and Begin the Quest to Fulfillment. A former corporate professional, she shares tools she’s used herself and with clients to help ambitious, goal-oriented professionals rewrite their programming and start living on their own terms rather than by the “rules” that have been set by others. I couldn’t wait to talk to Maki about happiness, habits, and productivity. Gretchen: What’s a…

Read More

“I Wanted to Be in a Field that Could Promote Creativity, Joy, Connection, and Living to One’s Highest Potential.” – Personal Development Article

Interview: Steven Hayes. Steven Hayes is Nevada Foundation Professor in the Behavior Analysis program at the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada. He’s extraordinarily prolific—author of 44 books and nearly 600 scientific articles—and his career has focused on understanding human language and cognition and the alleviation of human suffering. He developed the Relational Frame Theory, an account of human higher cognition, and has guided its extension to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a popular evidence-based form of psychotherapy…

Read More

“Having a Non-Verbal Activity Feels Essential, and As, These Days, Do Non-Digital Activities.” – Self Improvement Article

Interview: Amy Waldman. Through mutual friends, I’ve known Amy Waldman for years. When I first met her, she was a reporter with the New York Times (which she did for eight years, including three years as co-chief of the South Asia bureau). Then she changed her writing path to become a novelist, and her first novel, The Submission, was a national bestseller. Now Amy has a new novel that has received a huge amount of buzz: A Door in the…

Read More

A Happiness Booster: Flying Through the Air in a Bamboo Grove (by the Magic of Photography) – Happiness Article

Earlier this year, my sister Elizabeth (also co-host of the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast) and I went for a visit to the Golden Door spa in California, and we had a wonderful sisterly time there. So when the Golden Door suggested that I participate in an advertising spread they were planning, I was intrigued—especially when I learned that the photographer was Alexi Lubomirski. Lubomirski is a very well-known photographer who’s perhaps best known for taking the official photographs of…

Read More

“Distraction Starts from Within; It is Our Never-ending Search for an Escape from Psychological Discomfort.” – Personal Development Article

Interview: Nir Eyal I’ve know Nir for years now. How do we know each other? I don’t even remember! I’m a huge fan of his first book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, which I found very useful when I was working on my book Better Than Before, all about habit change. I also attended his first conference, Habit Summit, which is where I met the brilliant folks at Aperio Insights who designed my quiz for the Four Tendencies framework.…

Read More

What I Read This Month: September 2019 – Happiness Article

For more than two years now, every Monday morning, I’ve posted a photo on my Facebook Page of the books I finished during the week, with the tag #GretchenRubinReads.  I get a big kick out of this weekly habit—it’s a way to shine a spotlight on all the terrific books that I’ve read. As I write about in my book Better Than Before, for most of my life, my habit was to finish any book that I started. Finally, I realized that…

Read More

“Why is it Easy to Make That Initial Decision to Change, and Even to Start, But Difficult to Persist?” – Self Improvement Article

Interview: Wendy Wood. From my time researching and writing Better Than Before, my book about habit change, I know the fascinating work of Wendy Wood. Wendy Wood is a social psychologist whose research addresses the ways that habits guide behavior—and why they are so difficult to break—as well as evolutionary accounts of gender differences in behavior. She is Provost Professor of Psychology and Business at the University of Southern California, where she also served as Vice Dean of Social Sciences.…

Read More

“Mood and Energy and Self-Care Are a Huge and Under-Appreciated Part of Creativity.” – Happiness Article

Interview: Chase Jarvis. Chase Jarvis is an award-winning artist, entrepreneur, and one of the most influential photographers of the past decade. He has created campaigns for Apple, Nike, Red Bull and others, was a contributor to the Pulitzer-winning New York Times story “Snowfall,” and earned an Emmy nomination for his documentary Portrait of a City. He also created “Best Camera”—the first photo app to share images to social networks, and is the founder of CreativeLive, where more than 10 million…

Read More

“The Animal Version of Happy Boils Down to Two Things: Safety and Discovery.” – Personal Development Article

Interview: Kathryn Bowers I got to know Kathryn because we’re both in a writers’ group, the Invisible Institute. I love this group because although we’re all non-fiction writers, we cover an extremely wide range of subjects. When else would I hang out in a professional group with someone like Kathryn—who’s an applied animal behaviorist and science writer? Her first book, Zoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health, was a New York Times bestseller and was recently featured at…

Read More

“Ever Since I Nearly Died, I’ve Lived with a Sense that I’m in ‘Overtime’ and Every Second Counts.” – Self Improvement Article

Interview: David Fajgenbaum. Dr. David Fajgenbaum has undergone an extraordinary medical experience. During medical school, he had his last rites read in 2010 and nearly died four more times as he battled a rare and incurable illness. Thanks to a drug that he discovered in his lab—and began testing on himself—he’s now in his longest longest remission ever (5.5 years). He leads the effort to cure his disease—idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease—as a physician-scientist at Penn and co-founder of the Castleman…

Read More

“Happiness Is Not Something You Can Measure Against Others.” – Happiness Article

Interview: Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, Founders of theSkimm Co-Founders and Co-CEOs of theSkimm, Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg launched theSkimm from their couch in 2012 and have built a brand with more than 7 million daily subscribers. The company started with the Daily Skimm, the fastest growing email newsletter on the market (sign up here), and has expanded to include theSkimm app, Skimm Studies, Skimm Reads, Skimm Picks and Skimm Notes, Skimm This. Not only that, there’s a production…

Read More

How to Use Quick, Easy Habits to Create and Maintain Outer Order. – Self Improvement Article

In my study of happiness, I’ve realized that for most of us, outer order contributes to inner calm. Easy, quick, regular habits make it possible to manage possessions before they accumulate into clutter. My new book Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter and Organize to Make More Room for Happiness offers tips and strategies for tackling clutter. One simple concept from the book that seems to really resonate with people is this: it’s far easier to keep up than to catch up,…

Read More

“When We Fail in Some Way or Another, We Can Simply Begin Again.” – Personal Development Article

Interview: Jerry Colonna Jerry Colonna has had a very interesting career. He is a well-regarded venture capitalist, and as an executive coach, he’s helped many people do their best work. He’s the cofounder and CEO of Reboot.io, an executive coaching and leadership development firm. If you listen to the terrific podcast Start Up, in Season 4, Episode 3, you may remember hearing from Jerry Colonna. Gimlet co-founders Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber talked to him to help them work through…

Read More