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  • gretchenrubin 22:17:07 on 2017/11/02 Permalink
    Tags: Art, , , , , , ,   

    Revealed! 7 Brilliant Books About the Nature of Creativity. 

    For sparking my own creativity, I find people’s descriptions of their own creative processes more useful (and certainly more interesting) than books that analyze creativity or suggest creativity exercises.

    I love many books on this subject, and here are just a few of my favorites.

    Each one of these books is fascinating and can be read with pleasure by anyone, whether or not you're interested specifically in creativity.

    Bob Dylan, Chronicles

    This a haunting, brilliant book, and I don't even listen to Bob Dylan's music (fact: I don't really listen to any music very much). For instance, I've read and re-read his description of his reaction to folk songs.

    Flannery O'Connor, The Habit of Being: Letters

    In the last few years, I've developed a new interest in reading books of letters, and this is my very favorite. O'Connor brilliantly describes her work and writing process -- in her own inimitable language.

    Edward Weston, The Flame of Recognition

    These journal entries are brief and marvelous. His description of his reaction to green peppers! Mind-blowing.

    Twyla Tharp: The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

    This book is a bit more prescriptive than the others. Crammed with insights, ideas, and illustrations from her own life about how to spark creativity.

    W. Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up

    This is a perceptive, fascinating book about writing and observing.

    Virginia Woolf, A Writer’s Diary

    I've read this book countless times. Countless. I've practically memorized several passages.

    Mason Currey, Daily Rituals:How Artist Work

    This book is different from the others -- it summarizes the daily habits of writers, painters, scientists, choreographers, and other kinds of creative people. It demonstrates an important truth: there is no single "best way" to spark creativity. Different approaches work for different people. The most creative and productive people figure out what they need to do their best work, and make sure that they have the environment they need.

    What are some of your favorite books about creativity? I love this subject, so would love to add some suggestions to my To Be Read list.

     
  • gretchenrubin 16:20:06 on 2017/05/17 Permalink
    Tags: Art, haiku, , ,   

    Podcast 117: Are You a “Revealer” or a “Concealer,” Write a Haiku, and How Introverted Parents Can Manage an Extroverted Child. 

    Update: Elizabeth’s new podcast Happier in Hollywood launches tomorrow, May 18! In the first episode, Liz (yes, she’s “Liz” on that show) and Sarah pick a new work mantra and talk to their agent about one of the worst calls he ever had to make to them. Listen, rate, review, tell your friends, have some green juice while you tune in.

    Happiness Hack:  Katy suggests, “YouTube it.”  YouTube videos explain how to do just about anything.

    Try This at Home:  Write a haiku. A haiku is a form of three-line Japanese poem with one five-syllable line; one seven-syllable line; one five-syllable line.

    Here are my two haiku:

    Where did the time go?

    My girl is off to college.

    Days are long; years, short.

    I express this idea in a different form in my one-minute video “The Years Are Short.”

    Central Park in bloom.

    This year, I made sure to go.

    Spring passes too fast.

    Elizabeth’s haiku:

    Nerves are a-flutter

    Happier in Hollywood...

    What will it become?

    Post your haiku on Twitter! Tag it as #happierhaiku so we can all enjoy them.

    Know Yourself Better: Harriet suggests asking, “Are you a ‘revealer’ or a ‘concealer?‘” I write about this distinction in Better Than Before — for some people, announcing a habit change makes it easier to follow through, while for other people, it makes it tougher.

    If you don’t know your Tendency, take the quiz here to see if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel.

    Listener Question: Cara asks, “How do we as introverted parents deal with our very extroverted child?” This question brings up the issue of the extroversion/introversion difference, which we discuss with Susan Cain in episode 107.

    Demerit: Yet again, I “snapped” — this time, I made a snappy comment to my husband Jamie while we were planning the summer.

    Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to the Amazon TV show Mozart in the Jungle.

    Two Resources:

    1.  I created the free Better app for people to exchange ideas and tips about the Four Tendencies, and Better app also makes it super-easy to form accountability groups of all kinds.
    2. Subscribe to Happier in Hollywood!

    If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here. Remember, it really helps us if you do rate or review the podcast — it helps other listeners discover us.

    I do weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Check out Smith and Noble, the solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and free in-home or on-phone design consultations and free professional measuring.

    Also check out StitchFix, an online personal styling service with real stylists who handpick clothing for you — your taste, your schedule, your lifestyle, your budget. Sign up at StitchFix.com.

    Check out Stamps.com. Want to avoid trips to the post office, and buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package, right from your own computer and printer? Visit Stamps.com to sign up for a 4-week trial,  including postage and a digital scale — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

    We love hearing from listeners:

     

    To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

    If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

    Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

    How to Subscribe

    If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

    Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

    Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” The first shows are Side Hustle School and Radical Candor. Elizabeth’s show with her writing partner, Sarah Fain, will be Happier in Hollywood, so stay tuned for that on May 18.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 117: Are You a “Revealer” or a “Concealer,” Write a Haiku, and How Introverted Parents Can Manage an Extroverted Child. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 19:08:38 on 2017/05/01 Permalink
    Tags: , Art, , , , , , ,   

    A Little Happier: We Don’t Always Know When Children Are Wasting Their Time. 

    As a parent, it’s very tempting to try to prod our children into useful or enriching activities: play chess, practice piano, play tennis.

    But sometimes children want to do things that might look like a big waste of time—and when my children are doing that, I remind myself of the many examples I’ve heard of, where what looked like “wasted time” to an adult ended up being very useful to that child, later in life.

    Because of my current obsession with color, I was reading a book called How to Decorate put out by Farrow & Ball, a well-known maker of paints and wallpapers.

    This passage I read is from Joa Studholme, who is part of Farrow & Ball’s creative team.

    “I had no formal training. I am Farrow & Ball homegrown, nurtured by an astonishing group of people. However, as a child, I did spend an inordinate amount of time rearranging my set of Caran d’Ache crayons to see how different colour combinations worked. My dolls’ house was constantly redecorated and I was always experimenting with colour, painting my ceiling bright yellow to try to fill the room with sunlight or creating cosy spaces in cupboards by painting them dark.”

    As a child, did you do something that adults dismissed as “a waste of time” that proved to be no waste? Or have you seen that phenomenon in children you know?

     

    Check out Smith and Noble, the solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and free in-home or on-phone design consultations and free professional measuring.

    Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

     

     Happier listening!

    The post A Little Happier: We Don’t Always Know When Children Are Wasting Their Time. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 10:00:58 on 2017/04/07 Permalink
    Tags: Art, , , , , , influence, , , , , , , young-adult literature   

    Revealed! Three Excellent Books for April: How to Influence Others, a Romance, and an Art-Filled Memoir. 

    Because nothing boosts happiness more than a great book, each month, I suggest:

    — one outstanding book about happiness or habits or human nature

    — one outstanding work of children’s or young-adult literature–I have a crazy passion for kidlit

    — one eccentric pick–a widely admired and excellent book that I love, yes, but one that may not appeal to everyone

    Shop at IndieBound, BN.com, or Amazon (I’m an affiliate), or your favorite local bookstore. Or my favorite, visit the library!

    For all the books I choose, I love them; I’ve read most of them at least twice if not many times; and they’re widely admired.

    Now, for the three book-club choices. Drumroll…


    A book about happiness, good habits, or human nature:

    Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

    This is an absolutely fascinating book about persuasion — how do we persuade other people, and what do they do to persuade us? It’s written in an accessible, interesting way, and is one of the rare books that truly transformed my way of seeing the world around me.

     

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.


    An outstanding children’s book:

    Flower by Elizabeth Craft and Shea Olsen

    Of course I can’t resist recommending the excellent young-adult novel by my sister. The tag line is “She had a plan, then she met him.” There’s romance, temptation, secrets, family drama, best friends, college applications, extravagant gestures, celebrity...delicious. If you enjoy listening to Elizabeth on the Happier podcast, you might get a kick out of reading her book.

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.


    An eccentric pick:

    Another Part of the Wood: A Self-Portrait by Kenneth Clark

    I love memoirs, and I loved reading this self-portrait of Kenneth Clark, the museum director, art historian, and presenter of the blockbuster TV series Civilisation. I especially love reading memoirs by people who describe why they love their work so much.

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.


    If you want to make sure you never miss a month’s selections, sign up here for the book club newsletter.

    Remember, if you want to see what I read each week, I post a photo of my pile of completed books on my Facebook Page every Sunday night, #GretchenRubinReads.

    I continue to read book after book on the subject of color — it’s odd to find myself fascinated by this highly specialized topic. It’s definitely contributing to my desire to collect giant sets of colored pens and colored markers — which I can now use in the coloring book I created! The Happiness Project Mini-Posters: A Coloring Book with 20 Hand-lettered Quotes to Pull Out and Frame hit the shelves this week. It shot to  #1 in Adult Coloring Books (a surprisingly large category) which made me very happy.

    Lately I’ve been in the mood for memoirs. Any great ones to recommend? Or books about color, of course.

    The post Revealed! Three Excellent Books for April: How to Influence Others, a Romance, and an Art-Filled Memoir. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 17:55:57 on 2017/03/28 Permalink
    Tags: Art, , , coloring book, , , , , , ,   

    Announcing My New Happiness Project Coloring Book! Do You Love to Color? 

    Coloring book by Gretchen Rubin

    As I may have mentioned once or twice, I’ve become obsessed with the subject of color — and I’m also a big fan of coloring.

    So I was thrilled to get the chance to design my own coloring book, which goes on sale today: The Happiness Project Mini Posters: A Coloring Book of 20 Hand-Lettered Quotes to Pull Out and Frame.

    Click here to get a peek inside the pages and learn about a special giveaway from my publisher. (Winner will be chosen April 4.)

    I had so much fun working with the artist on the design for the pages, and choosing the quotations to include.

    I’m not the only grown-up who still enjoys coloring — more and more adults are returning to the coloring books they loved as children. Great idea! Coloring boosts happiness for many reasons.

    Coloring is calming, even meditative. The activity of coloring helps to focus the mind and rest the body in a constructive, creative way. In my coloring book, I hope that the quotations, too, will inspire quiet reflection.

    Coloring is very satisfying, because there’s a special pleasure in doing things with our hands. Very often these days, we’re sitting behind screens and living in our heads. Like activities such as knitting or tying flies or walking, coloring allows us to connect with the physical world, in the present moment. And there’s something about the repetitive, wordless nature of the work that boosts creativity and energy.

    Coloring is a great activity to do with other people. Research shows that a secret—probably the secret—to happiness is strong connections with other people. Coloring is fun to do with other people. It’s companionable, and allows for conversation, and at the same time, gives a sense of shared purpose.

    With my sister Elizabeth Craft, I host a podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin. Many people have written to tell me that they like to color as they listen to the latest episode—the two activities are highly compatible.

    On a less lofty note, coloring helps to curb snacking! Coloring keeps hands busy, which diminishes the urge to snack; plus, after carefully working on a beautiful design, who wants to risk getting a grease stain or smudge on the page?

    Finally, one of my own favorite things about coloring is that It gives me a reason to buy and use beautiful supplies—gorgeous colored markers and pens, as well as lovely books of designs and paper. Well-made tools make work a joy. And I love to feast my eyes on beautiful, brilliant colors.

    Do you love to color? If so, I hope the The Happiness Project Mini Posters makes you happier.

    The post Announcing My New Happiness Project Coloring Book! Do You Love to Color? appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 17:08:31 on 2017/03/14 Permalink
    Tags: Art, , , looking, , perception, seeing,   

    Want to View the World with Fresh Eyes? 13 Tips to See More Clearly. 

    I’ve recently developed an obsession with color — what a gorgeous, fascinating topic! It makes me so happy to learn about color.

    One reason I love studying color is that it helps me notice the world. I tend to walk around very absent-mindedly; I hardly see anything around me. For me to be present in the moment, and to connect with the world, I need a hook.

    Looking at colors is one great hook, and there are many others, too:

    1. Notice colors — I push myself to notice the color of the sky; the contrast between the orange cone and the gray sidewalk.
    2. Look in a mirror — things look different in a mirror.
    3. Look at a picture of an object. Jamaica Kincaid wrote “Why is a picture of something real eventually more exciting than the thing itself?” A question that haunts me. Related…
    4. Look at an object alongside a picture of it. I heard about this strategy as a way of appreciating art more. Buy a postcard of an artwork, then study the artwork while you hold up the postcard. I’m dying to try this.
    5. Pretend to be a journalist — journalists notice things in a different way. Similarly…
    6. Pretend to be a tourist. Look at the shop windows! How people line up for the bus! What are people wearing?
    7. Draw — this one doesn’t appeal to me, but many people swear by it.
    8. Go someplace new — I’ve lived in my New York City neighborhood for more than a decade, and still I sometimes stumble onto a street I swear I’ve never walked before.
    9. Return to a familiar place after a long time away — go back to your old school; stop into the grocery store where you shopped when you lived in your old house. Fascinating.
    10. Imagine that you have guests coming to stay for the weekend — a great way to see your home in a new way. Along the same lines…
    11. Imagine that you will sell your house — you see it through the eyes of a judgmental stranger
    12. Notice contrasts, when two worlds are juxtaposed –school-children on a sidewalk in front of a business;  a horse-and-buggy clopping down the highway
    13. Look with a child — it’s such a sentimental cliche to say it, but children really do see the world with fresh eyes.

    What hooks do you use to help yourself see the world more vividly?

    The post Want to View the World with Fresh Eyes? 13 Tips to See More Clearly. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 12:31:27 on 2017/03/05 Permalink
    Tags: , Art, Katsushika Hokusai, mastery, , ,   

    Do You Feel that You’re Growing in Mastery as You Grow Older? 

    “From the age of six, I had a passion for copying the form of things and since the age of fifty I have published many drawings, yet of all I drew by my seventieth year there is nothing worth taking in to account. At seventy-three years I partly understood the structure of animals, birds, insects and fishes, and the life of grasses and plants. And so, at eighty-six I shall progress further; at ninety I shall even further penetrate their secret meaning, and by one hundred I shall perhaps truly have reached the level of the marvelous and divine. When I am one hundred and ten, each dot, each line will possess a life of its own.”

    –Katsushika Hokusai

    I love this description of continuous growth and increasing mastery. Do you feel that in some aspect of your life, you’re doing a better job with time?

    For happiness, an “atmosphere of growth” is crucial — of the Eight Splendid Truths, that’s part of #1.

    The post Do You Feel that You’re Growing in Mastery as You Grow Older? appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 19:55:53 on 2017/02/26 Permalink
    Tags: Art, , Johannes Itten, , , , ,   

    How Do We See the Living Soul of the World? Through Color. 

    “Light, that first phenomenon of the world, reveals to us the spirit and living soul of the world through colors.”

    –Johannes Itten, The Elements of Color

    My color obsession continues! What a beautiful, fascinating subject. I just finished a book about green–that’s right, a whole book about green. I recently finished a book about black. Next up, blue.

    Do you have a signature color? I was vexed by my inability to commit, but I’ve realized that the color wheel is my signature colorscape.

    The post How Do We See the Living Soul of the World? Through Color. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:35:54 on 2017/02/22 Permalink
    Tags: Art, , , , , , , , , low-carb, , moment, , , wonder   

    Podcast 105: Leave on High Note, Childlike Wonder vs. Adultlike Wonder–and What I Eat Every Day. 

    It’s time for the next installment of  Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

    Update: In response to our discussion in episode 102, listeners told us the different “missing puzzle pieces” they’d managed to find.

    Try This at Home: Leave on a high note.

    Happiness Hack: The Metropolitan Museum has introduced an extraordinary new resource: for artworks that are in the public domain, the Met makes them freely available for unrestricted use (including commercial use). Learn more and browse here!

    Happiness Stumbling Block: What appeals to you more: childlike wonder, or adultlike wonder?

    Listener Questioner: Fiona asks, “Gretchen, what do you eat every day?’

    I talk about the fact that I’m an “Abstainer” — are you an Abstainer or a Moderator?

    As I write about in Better Than Before, I was inspired to quit sugar after reading Gary Taubes’s Why We Get Fat. If you’d like to read my interview with Gary Taubes about his new book, The Case Against Sugar, request it here.

    Demerit: I hate the theme of unjust accusation in books, movies, plays, and TV shows — but I unjustly accused my family of ignoring the groceries.

    Gold Star: Elizabeth went to two doctors’ appointments in one day.

    If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here. Remember, it really helps us if you do rate or review the podcast — it helps other listeners discover us.

    I do weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Check out Texture. Get access to all your favorite magazines — including back issues and bonus video content — in one super-convenient place. Try the app Texture for free by going to Texture.com/happier.

    Also check out ThirdLove, the lingerie brand that uses real women’s measurements to design better-fitting bras. Try one of their bestselling bras for free, for 30 days, by visiting ThirdLove.com/happier.

    Visit Framebridge.com — a terrific way to get your art and photos framed, in a super easy and affordable way. Use the code HAPPIER at checkout to get 15% off your first Framebridge order. Shipping is free.

    We love hearing from listeners:

     

    To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

    If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

    Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

    How to Subscribe

    If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

    Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

    Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” The first shows are Side Hustle School and Radical Candor. Elizabeth’s show with her writing partner, Sarah Fain, will be Happier in Hollywood, so stay tuned for that.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 105: Leave on High Note, Childlike Wonder vs. Adultlike Wonder–and What I Eat Every Day. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 09:49:20 on 2017/02/20 Permalink
    Tags: , , Art, , , musical, Oklahoma, , , , ,   

    A Little Happier: A Happiness Lesson from the Broadway Show “Oklahoma!” 

    I often get my “America feeling” — whenever I vote, or serve on a jury (twice), when I see the Statue of Liberty, when I watch Schoolhouse Rock (yes, I’m dating myself with my love of Schoolhouse Rock). The America feeling is a happy, intense, transcendent feeling.

    I remember that I felt it very vividly one day when the song “The Farmer and the Cowman” from my daughter Eliza started playing music from her playlist, which included, of all things, the song “The Farmer and the Cowman” from the Rodgers and Hammerstein 1943 musical Oklahoma!

    Yes, the song is dated, and it trades in cliches. Nevertheless, I love it, and the America feeling hits me hard, especially at the end.

    Andrew Carnes:
    The farmer and the cowman should be friends,
    Oh, the farmer and the cowman should be friends.
    One man likes to push a plough, the other likes to chase a cow,
    But that’s no reason why they cain’t be friends.

     

    All:
    Territory folks should stick together,
    Territory folks should all be pals.
    Cowboys dance with farmer’s daughters,
    Farmers dance with the ranchers’ gals.

     

    Aunt Eller:
    I’d like to teach you all a little sayin’
    And learn the words by heart the way you should
    I don’t say I’m no better than anybody else,
    But I’ll be danged if I ain’t jist as good!

    If you’d like to watch the clip from the movie, here’s the whole song:

    Listen to this mini-podcast episode by clicking PLAY below.

    Check out Yogi Tea. When it comes to enjoying life, little moments — like drinking a delicious cup of tea — can make a big difference.

    Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

     

    Happier listening!

    The post A Little Happier: A Happiness Lesson from the Broadway Show “Oklahoma!” appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
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