W&D Holiday Gift Guide: Kate’s 13 Favorite Things from 2019 – Wit & Delight – Lifestyle Article

It’s our final gift guide of the holiday season, friends! Just in time for those quickly approaching shipping deadlines and that one person (or five people?) on your list whose gift you haven’t picked out yet.In today’s roundup, I’m sharing my favorite thirteen things from the past year. If you’re a regular Wit & Delight follower, it’s likely you’ve heard me talk about these items in the past—they’re all tried and true pieces I’ve tested and love. From an herb…

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What Color Is Night? Grant Snider’s Illustrated Invitation to Discover the Subtle Beauty of Darkness – Brain Pickings – Personal Development Article

A spare serenade to the spectrum of wonder between black and white. By Maria Popova “Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty,” the Japanese novelist Junichiro Tanizaki wrote in his gorgeous 1933 love letter to darkness. More than a century before him, Goethe observed in his theory of color and emotion that “color itself is a degree of darkness.” Darkness, we could say, is the sum total of all the colors and all the emotions — a…

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137 – The Top 10 Books That Impacted Me in 2019

Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | | More Today we are diving into one of my favorite topics: Books I’m really happy with the books I’ve read and written over the last year and today we are going to go through the 10 books that were most impactful to me in 2019. My Top 10 Books of 2019 “The First Billion is the Hardest” by T. Boone Pickens“The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer“How…

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“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,…

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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…

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Poet and Gardener Ross Gay’s Yearlong Experiment in Willful Gladness – Brain Pickings – Self Improvement Article

“The high value put upon every minute of time, the idea of hurry-hurry as the most important objective of living, is unquestionably the most dangerous enemy of joy,” Hermann Hesse wrote at the dawn of the twentieth century in trying to course-correct the budding consumerist conscience toward the small triumphs of attentive presence that make life worth living, adding: “My advice to the person suffering from lack of time and from apathy is this: Seek out each day as many…

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The Star Wars Prayer: An Excerpt From ’50 Ways To Pray’ – Spiritual Article

We live in a media-saturated culture. Each day thousands of promotional messages clamor for our attention. Television has become our national storyteller, with the TV screen becoming a focal point in most of our family rooms. But we can find prayer in our media culture — even “Star Wars.” What has prayer got to do with our media culture? Everything. Even if you were to “kill your television” and attempt to ban all brand-name advertising from entering your home, your…

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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…

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Alain de Botton on Existential Maturity and What Emotional Intelligence Really Means – Brain Pickings – Happiness Article

“Maturity is the ability to live fully and equally in multiple contexts,” poet and philosopher David Whyte wrote in one of his most beautiful meditations. A generation before him, Anaïs Nin took up the subject in her diary, which is itself a work of philosophy: “If you intensify and complete your subjective emotions, visions, you see their relation to others’ emotions. It is not a question of choosing between them, one at the cost of another, but a matter of…

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Kahlil Gibran on Silence, Solitude, and the Courage to Know Yourself – Brain Pickings – Self Improvement Article

Something strange and wondrous begins to happen when one spends stretches of time in solitude, in the company of trees, far from the bustle of the human world with its echo chamber of judgments and opinions — a kind of rerooting in one’s deepest self-knowledge, a relearning of how to simply be oneself, one’s most authentic self. Wendell Berry knew this when he observed that “true solitude is found in the wild places, where one is without human obligation” —…

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A Poetic Illustrated Meditation on the Meaning of Happiness and Its Quiet Everyday Sources – Brain Pickings – Personal Development Article

“What is your idea of perfect happiness?” asks the famous Proust Questionnaire. Posed to David Bowie, he answered simply: “Reading.” Jane Goodall answered: “Sitting by myself in the forest in Gombe National Park watching one of the chimpanzee mothers with her family.” Proust himself answered: “To live in contact with those I love, with the beauties of nature, with a quantity of books and music, and to have, within easy distance, a French theater.” The touching specificity of these answers…

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“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…

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Relationship Lessons from Trees – Brain Pickings – Self Improvement Article

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way,” William Blake wrote in his most beautiful letter. “As a man is, so he sees.” Walt Whitman saw trees as the wisest of teachers; Hermann Hesse as our mightiest consolation for mortality. Wangari Maathai rooted in them a colossal act of resistance that earned her the Nobel Peace Prize. Poets have elegized their wisdom, artists have…

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“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…

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“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…

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Rebecca West’s Extraordinary Love Letter to H.G. Wells in the Wake of Heartbreak – Brain Pickings – Happiness Article

“If during the next million generations there is but one human being born in every generation who will not cease to inquire into the nature of his fate, even while it strips and bludgeons him, some day we shall read the riddle of our universe,” the great English writer and feminist Rebecca West (December 21, 1892–March 15, 1983) wrote as she contemplated suffering, survival, and the will to keep walking the road to ourselves in her 1941 masterpiece Black Lamb…

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The Male Pregnancy of the Seahorse and the Fearless Trans Fish of the Coral Seas – Brain Pickings – Personal Development Article

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals,” the great nature writer Henry Beston insisted nearly a century ago. “In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.” Over the long sweep of evolution, our fellow creatures have developed wondrous forms and faculties far superior to our own — from…

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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…

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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…

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Beloved Children’s Book Author and Poet Ruth Krauss’s Lost Alphabet of Joy, Illustrated – Brain Pickings – Self Improvement Article

“Her lovely and original poetry has a flexibility that allowed me the maximum of space to execute my fantasy variations on a Kraussian theme,” Maurice Sendak wrote of the great children’s book author and poet Ruth Krauss (July 25, 1901–July 10, 1993), with whom he collaborated on two of the loveliest, tenderest picture-books of all time. A quarter century after the end of Krauss’s long life, lost fragments of her daring poetic imagination coalesced into a manuscript that alighted to…

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How do Dodge a Deadline Like William Blake – Brain Pickings – Personal Development Article

Neil Gaiman has semi-facetiously located the two primary sources of good ideas in desperation and deadlines. Still, deadlines come and go and, devoid of ideas or dry of their actualization, we despair. We make excuses. Sometimes — like when the dog actually ate Steinbeck’s manuscript — they happen to be true. But the best excuse is always the truth itself — creative work is slower and more sacred in its unwillable transmissions from the muse than we ever like to…

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The Weighing – Brain Pickings – Happiness Article

A well to the groundwater of our strength. By Maria Popova “All you have is what you are, and what you give,” Ursula K. Le Guin wrote in a philosophical novel contemplating suffering and getting to the other side of pain. “If equal affection cannot be / Let the more loving one be me,” W.H. Auden wrote in a philosophical poem contemplating the courage to love more, to give more, in the face of even the most heartbreaking and elemental…

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Can Brain Science Help Us Break Bad Habits? – Self Improvement Article

Because the brain forms habits unconsciously, resolutions rarely work.Illustration by Jan BuchczikSeveral years ago, I bought a smartphone and soon came to love it. Being able to send an e-mail, look up a fact, or buy something no matter where I was meant a previously unimaginable gain in productivity. Every time I got an e-mail, the phone emitted a ping and I would deal with whatever it was, priding myself on my efficiency. Texts arrived with the tones of a…

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“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,…

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Being More Mindful of the Types of Information We Consume – Self Improvement Article

If you consume a lot of junk food, your body is going to feel like crap and not function at its best. And if you consume a lot of junk information, your mind is going to feel like crap and not function at its best. In other words… we have to be just as mindful of what we consume with our minds as we are of what we consume with our bodies. The information that you consume on a daily…

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13 Life-Learnings from 13 Years of Brain Pickings – Brain Pickings – Personal Development Article

More fluid reflections on keeping a solid center. By Maria Popova On October 23, 2006, Brain Pickings was born as a plain-text email to seven friends. It was then, and continues to be, a labor of love and ledger of curiosity, although the mind and heart from which it sprang have changed — have grown, I hope — tremendously. At the end of the first decade, I told its improbable origin story and drew from its evolution the ten most…

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Iris Murdoch on Imperfection as Integral to Goodness and How the Beauty of Nature and Art Leavens Our Most Unselfish Impulses – Brain Pickings – Self Improvement Article

To recognize that there are infinitely many kinds of beautiful lives is to step outside the self, beyond its particular conceptions of beauty — which includes, of course, moral beauty — and walking beside it with humble, nonjudgmental curiosity about the myriad other selves afoot on their own paths, propelled by their own ideals of the Good. Such recognition requires what the great moral philosopher and novelist Iris Murdoch (July 15, 1919–February 8, 1999) termed unselfing — a difficult, triumphant…

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“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…

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“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…

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“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…

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