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  • gretchenrubin 10:00:03 on 2017/08/03 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Buy Books, , ,   

    Want to Read Books that Show Examples of the Four Tendencies? Revealed! 

    Revealed! My book club recommendations for August.

    Newsflash: I’ve decided to change the way I suggest books for this book club. Instead of suggesting three books each month (one about happiness and human nature; one work of children’s literature; one eccentric pick), I’m going to provide a reading list once a quarter, on a particular subject.

    For instance, I’m looking forward to providing a list of some of my favorite books about color, favorite memoirs, favorite books about other people’s happiness projects…the list goes on. If you’d like to suggest a theme for a list, just email me.

    For instance, I had so much fun compiling my list of my 81 favorite works of children’s and young-adult literature. These lists will be shorter than than list, however.

    You can still get the book club suggestions by email, by signing up for my “book club” here.

    As I may have mentioned, my book The Four Tendencies hits the shelves on September 12.

    So, to get you in the mood to read about the Four Tendencies, or if you can’t wait until September to immerse yourself in the subject, here’s a list of books that illustrate the Four Tendencies.

    It’s important to note that we can never judge someone’s Tendency from his or her actions; we must know the reasons behind that action. For instance, Questioner refuses to do something because “why should I?” while a Rebel refuses because “you can’t tell me what to do.”

    Nevertheless, I’ve included some memoirs by people who were close to someone of a certain Tendency. Such accounts aren’t as dispositive as having an account by that person himself or herself, but I do think that sometimes, a person gets to know someone well enough over time that a portrait really does capture a Tendency.

    Also, even if you’re not interested in reading about the Four Tendencies, each one of these books is outstanding. So I recommend them wholly apart from their relevance to the Four Tendencies.

    Upholder

    The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling — in this legendary series, Hermione Granger is such an Upholder, with the strengths and weakness of that Tendency.

    His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik — Will Laurence is an Upholder, and Temeraire is a Questioner. It’s interesting to see how the two Tendencies work together. Warning: it’s a book with dragons, which is either your kind of thing, or not at all your kind of thing.

    Questioner

    Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson — a fascinating portrait of a QUESTIONER/Rebel. (As I explain in The Four Tendencies, people often “tip” in the direction of a Tendency that overlaps with their core Tendency. So while my husband is an example of a QUESTIONER/Upholder, Jobs is a QUESTIONER/Rebel.)

    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronteon the very first page of this classic novel, Jane’s hateful aunt Mrs. Reed literally calls her “Questioner” to explain why she finds Jane annoying: “Jane, I don’t like cavillers or questioners.” (I had to look up “caviller”; it means “one who quibbles.”)

    Obliger

    Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi — a brilliant self-portrait of a textbook Obliger who is also a tennis star.

    Here But Not Here: My Life with William Shawn and the New Yorker by Lillian Ross — it’s not Ross, but Shawn, who is convincingly portrayed as an Obliger.

    How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids by Jancee Dunn — an engaging memoir about the challenges of marriage by an Obliger married to a Questioner.

    Rebel

    Life with Picasso by Francoise Gilot — Gilot’s fascinating portrayal of her life with Picasso shows his Rebel Tendency. (The image above shows Gilot and Picasso at the beach.)

    Mansfield Park by Jane Austen — Lady Bertram is a thorough Rebel; she’s also a good example of how Rebels may appear proper and conventional — until closer consideration reveals that they do only what they want to do.

    The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton — I wrote a giant portrait of Merton as a Rebel, which got cut down to a few paragraphs in The Four Tendencies. He fascinates me. Rebel as Cistercian monk!

    Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After by Heather Harpham — in this brand-new memoir, the author writes about the challenges when her daughter grows sick and needs a bone-marrow transplant. Along the way, Harpham’s thoughts and actions show her Rebel Tendency.

    I’m always looking for books (and movies, television shows, street signs, anything!) that illustrate the Four Tendencies. So if you have any to suggest, please send them my way.

    Happy August, and happy reading! I do love summer reading.

    The post Want to Read Books that Show Examples of the Four Tendencies? Revealed! appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 14:00:31 on 2017/07/07 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Buy Books,   

    Revealed! The Making of a Scientist, Happy Summertime Adventures, and the Frustrations of the Push-Pull Door. 

    Book Club July 2017

    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.  (I couldn’t find my copy of the Norman book, and it was checked out of the library, so I took some liberty with the photo.)

    Drumroll…


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

    Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

    I love books about people coming into their vocation, and often, scientists write the best books of this kind. Also, every once in a while, when I read a book, I conclude, “This person’s mind works in a completely different way from mine. They are making decisions, making observations, and doing things that are beyond what I could imagine.” This is one of those books. Thought-provoking and engaging.

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.


    An outstanding children’s book:

    Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright

    Usually, I don’t recommend more than one book by an author. But I decided to break this rule, because A) I love Elizabeth Enright’s books so much and B) they do fall into two distinct sets. I’ve already recommended The Saturdays, the first book in the brilliant Melendy series, and I just can’t resist recommending Gone-Away Lake, too. Two cousins discover a lake that dried up when a new dam was built so that the old resort houses were abandoned. But two wonderful old people, a brother and sister live there, and entertain the children in all sorts of adventures. Club house, island shack, bog flowers, goats, hidden treasure, and so forth. I’ve read it a million times.

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.


    An eccentric pick:

    The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

    This book examines — no surprise — the design of everyday things, and after I read it, I never looked at a store door the same way. Why do some doors make us want to push, and others, to pull? So much so, in fact, that the store has to put a handwritten sign on the door, telling us to do the opposite of what seems natural? Why do we sometimes put the mail in the refrigerator? Why are tea pots often so hard to use? Never fear — if you look at the Table of Contents for this book, it looks very dry and boring, but the book itself is fascinating and accessible.

    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.

    If you have any great suggestions for summer reading, send them my way.

    The post Revealed! The Making of a Scientist, Happy Summertime Adventures, and the Frustrations of the Push-Pull Door. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 15:00:05 on 2017/05/06 Permalink
    Tags: Buy Books, , ,   

    Need an Idea for a Gift for a Mother in Your Life? 

    Next Sunday, May 14, is Mother’s Day in the United States and Canada.

    If you’re looking for a thoughtful gift for a mother in your life, may I self-promotingly suggest one of my (bestselling) books about happiness?

    The Happiness Project was a #1 New York Times bestseller, was on the bestseller list for two years, and has been translated into more than thirty languages. In the book, I describe the year I spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. I examined areas like energy, work, play, mindfulness, money, attitude, and eternity.

    If you’d like to read an excerpt, to see if you think the book would be a good gift, read here.

    Happier at Home was also a New York Times bestseller. I did a second, deeper happiness project — this time focused on being happier at home. Because if I’m not happy at home, it’s hard to be happy.

    So, starting in September (the new January), I dedicated a school year — from September through May — to concentrate on the factors that matter for home, such as possessions, marriage, time, parenthood, body, neighborhood.

    If you’d like to read an excerpt, read here.

    I love all my books equally, but my sister Elizabeth says that Happier at Home is her favorite of all my books.

    Or perhaps a mother in your life is interested in changing her habits? Nothing is a bigger source of happiness than good habits! If so, I suggest my latest book, Better Than Before.

    If you’d like to read an excerpt, read here.

    Or for something completely different, for a mother who likes to color, there’s my coloring book: The Happiness Project Mini Posters: A Coloring Book with 20 Hand-lettered Quotes to Pull Out and Frame.

    You could also buy the coloring book in advance and ask your kids to color in a quotation appropriate to the occasion — such as “The days are long, but the years are short” — to give to their mother as their gift. Kids love to give handmade gifts, and mothers sure love to receive them.

    I know some people think that days like “Mother’s Day” and “Father’s Day” are artificial and forced, but for myself, I find it helpful to have reminders to think about the important people in my life.

    How about you? Do you embrace these holidays — or resist them?

    The post Need an Idea for a Gift for a Mother in Your Life? appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 10:00:58 on 2017/04/07 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Buy Books, , 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 17:42:20 on 2017/03/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Buy Books, , , , , , , taxi, Taxi TV,   

    Have You Ever Championed a Book That Your Book Club Disliked? I Have. 

    I always get a big kick out of any mention of me or my work in the press, on TV, wherever.

    So it was very fun to be included in Erin Geiger Smith’s Wall Street Journal piece, “When You Bomb at the Book Club.

    I’m in four book clubs (one regular, three for children’s literature), so I’ve made my share of recommendations that other people didn’t like.

    The piece is behind a paywall, but I get mentioned here:

    Author Gretchen Rubin is a prolific reader and a member of four New York City-based book clubs. She suggests monthly reads for 65,000 subscribers to her online “book club.” But the selection of Sylvia Engdahl’s futuristic 1970s novel “This Star Shall Abide” for her personal children’s literature book club baffled fellow members. “They didn’t like the writing, they didn’t like the twist,” Ms. Rubin says.

    She also recalled a lot of pushback for Frances Hodgson Burnett’s children’s book “The Secret Garden,” which she calls “a towering classic of world literature.” She expected an enthusiastic discussion. Instead, multiple members expressed their opinion the first half felt disconnected from the rest, and that they just didn’t like it in general. For some, “If you don’t like their choice, it really upsets them, whereas me, I’m like, ‘If you don’t like “The Secret Garden,” there’s something wrong with you,’ ” Ms. Rubin says, somewhat jokingly.

    I mean, who doesn’t love The Secret Garden? I’m still baffled by that.

    Have you ever suggested a book that your book club didn’t like?

    In other spottings around town, my podcast Happier gets a fleeting but definite mention in….Taxi TV!

    For all of you non-New-Yorkers, New York City taxis have little screens in the back that show clips of TV shows, news updates, and ads. In an ad for New York City as a center of podcasting, Happier gets a mention. Fun!

    I tried to take a photo, but I’m too slow on the draw.

    The post Have You Ever Championed a Book That Your Book Club Disliked? I Have. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 23:57:28 on 2017/03/03 Permalink
    Tags: , , book reviews, , Buy Books, , , , , ,   

    Revealed! Three Great Books for March: Siblings, Great Reading, and High Fantasy (with Honey). 

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

    — one outstanding book about happiness or habits

    — 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.

    Bonus book this month: with Shea Olsen, my sister Elizabeth Craft has a new young-adult novel, Flower. The tag line? “She had a plan, then she met him.” Romance, temptation, secrets, college applications, celebrity...Check it out.

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


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

    The Pecking Order: A Bold New Look at How Family and Society Determine Who We Are by Dalton Conley

    This book asks a fascinating question: if we believe that adult development is largely shaped by genetics and nurture, how do we account for the wide disparities in the fates of siblings? This book tries to identify the different factors that influence how people’s lives unfold.

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.


    An outstanding children’s book:

    Chalice by Robin McKinley

    How I love the work of Robin McKinley! I keep hoping that this book will turn out to have been the first in a trilogy. I want to read more and more about this unusual world, with its powers and offices, awakened lands, and mesmerizing characters. Plus its celebration of bees and honey; I’ve always felt great symbolic power in bees and honey.

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.


    An eccentric pick:

    Ten Years in the Tub by Nick Hornby

    Because you’re reading this post, you probably love to read. And if you love to read, you’ll love Ten Years in the Tub. Hornby is known as a novelist (About a Boy; High Fidelity, etc.), and he also writes very idiosyncratic short essays about books. They’re called “reviews,” but they aren’t the usual kind of review. Hilarious, thought-provoking, original — I added a lot of great books to my library list after reading this book. Absolutely charming. Note: there have been shorter collections published, such as the one pictured in the image above. The complete set has been collected in Ten Years in the Tub.

    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 buy 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 hits the shelves in a few weeks.

    What book are you most excited to read?

    The post Revealed! Three Great Books for March: Siblings, Great Reading, and High Fantasy (with Honey). appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 09:30:47 on 2017/01/31 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Buy Books, , design, , , , , principles, , , ,   

    Revealed! February Book Club: Keys to Good Design, a Personality Quiz, and High Fantasy. 

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

    — one outstanding book about happiness or habits

    — 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.

    Bonus book this month: with Shea Olsen, my sister Elizabeth Craft has a new young-adult novel, Flower. The tag line? “She had a plan, then she met him.” Romance, temptation, secrets, college applications, celebrity...Check it out.

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

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

     

    The Enneagram Made Easy: Discover the 9 Types of People by Elizabeth Wagele

    On episode 99 of the Happier podcast, my sister Elizabeth and I discussed the “Try This at Home” of taking personality quizzes. The Enneagram isn’t a scientific way to understand personality, but many people find it to be an illuminating framework. To my mind, that’s the chief benefit of a personality quiz: whether it helps us glimpse into our own nature. Sometimes it’s hard to look directly in the mirror, and something like a personality quiz can help us see ourselves indirectly.

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    An outstanding children’s book:

    The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

    I was astonished to realize that I’ve never suggested the Tolkien books as my kidlit choice (though arguably they aren’t children’s books). These are towering classics of world literature. The Fellowship of the Ring is the first in a trilogy called “The Lord of the Rings,” and while The Hobbit isn’t part of the official trilogy, and is very different in tone, it’s quite related to the high fantasy epic that unfolds. These books are unlike anything else. Read the books even if you’ve seen the movies; as always, movies can’t capture so much that’s wonderful about books. For instance, one of my favorite characters, Tom Bombadil, doesn’t appear in the movies.

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    An eccentric pick:

    The Pocket Universal Principles of Design: 150 Essential Tools for Architects, Artists, Designers, Developers, Engineers, Inventors, and Makers by William Lidwell.

    This is an absorbing, fascinating, accessible book. Each page has a very succinct description of a design principle, with a fascinating example on the facing page. I loved reading this book because it made me realize why certain designs in the world around me worked well — or didn’t work. It’s so fun to know about design principles like “Back-of-the-Dresser,” “Defensible Space,” “Figure-Ground,” and the “Dunning-Kruger Effect.” These may sound dry, but they’re fascinating.

    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 just went to the library a few days ago — my reading stack is huge. What book are you most excited to read next?

    The post Revealed! February Book Club: Keys to Good Design, a Personality Quiz, and High Fantasy. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 00:13:20 on 2016/11/19 Permalink
    Tags: , Buy Books, economy, , , , , , , Steven Johnson, , Wonderland   

    “I Try to Make a Regular Custom of Listening to Music for 20-30 Minutes Without Any Other Distractions.” 

    stevenjohnson

    Interview: Steven Johnson.

    Steven Johnson has written many fascinating books, such as How We Got to Now: Six Innovations that Made the Modern World. (which is also a PBS series). I absolutely love the title (and argument) of his book Everything Bad Is Good For You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter.

    His most recent book just hit the shelves: Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World, for which there’s also a podcast. Wonderland is all about how playful aspects of life — like fashion, shopping, music, illusion, games, taverns, parks — have had a big impact on our history.

    I was eager to hear what Steven Johnson had to say about habits and happiness.

    Gretchen: You’ve done fascinating research. What’s the most significant thing you’ve concluded?

    Steven: I think the most interesting finding is really closely connected to what you’ve tried to wrestle with in The Happiness Project — that we are surprisingly creative and innovative when we’re having fun, when we’re in a playful state. There are probably a hundred different stories in Wonderland that showcase how an idea that came into the world originally in the form of a toy or a game or a new fashion ended up laying the groundwork for a “serious” revolution in science or technology or politics. The best example of that is the industrial revolution. When we were kids, we’d read accounts of why industrialization happened, and it would always be about these brilliant engineers and early capitalists building steam engines and designing the factory system. But if you go back and look at the sequence, what really started the whole process was the moment of delight that Londoners experienced (mostly women) encountering the soft, beautiful fabrics of calico and chintz for the first time. That obsession with imported cotton ended up triggering a huge backlash because it threatened the existing wool industry in Britain at the time, but eventually it lead to the inventions of the industrial age. You see that again and again in history: interests and passions that start out just as seemingly idle pursuits end up changing the course of history.

    What’s a simple habit that consistently makes you happier?

    Working on a book every day. Or even better, working on two books every day. I like to have one active book that I’m focused on writing, and then another one that’s in the background, that I know I am going to write eventually, that I’m researching and thinking about in the gaps between working on the main project. I try to write 500 words a day when I’m actively writing a book, which is really not very many words — it’s like three paragraphs. You can write them in an hour or two if you’re well prepared. So I rarely have that feeling of sitting down at the computer in the morning and thinking, oh my god, I have so much writing to do. But I’m pretty rigorous about hitting that target. And if you write 500 words a day for 4-5 months, you’ll have a book. Or at least enough words for a book.

    Which habits are most important to you? (for health, for creativity, for productivity, for leisure, etc.)

    One of my rituals that is very important to me — that I have preserved from my teenage years — is that I try to make a regular custom of sitting and listening to music for twenty or thirty minutes without any other distractions. Not background music as I work, music that I am listening to without any distraction, no screens, no other people in the room with me. The only distraction, I suppose, is that I usually have a glass or two of wine while I do it. It is very soothing as an experience, even if the music is not, but it’s also a very creative time for me: my mind wanders over different ideas, digests the day’s work. I sometimes get a comparable experience going out for a long walk in Brooklyn, or a hike in California — sometimes with headphones on, sometimes without a soundtrack. Just giving yourself that continuous time to let your mind wander, with some kind of sensory accompaniment — either the scenery or the sonic landscape, or both — is incredibly valuable, I think.

    Does anything tend to interfere with your ability to keep your healthy habits? (e.g. travel, parties)

    My wife and I have a wonderful shared quality in that we both are entirely happy to stay home every single night of the week. We have no compulsion to be social and always have something on the calendar. When we are out in California we often have stretches of 10-15 days with literally zero social events on the calendar — no dinner parties, no drinks, no lunches. And it’s always a terrifically productive time for us. When we are in NY the calendar fills up a lot more easily, but I’ve gotten very good at just saying no to things because I know that if I have a week with a ton of meetings and evening events, I’m not going to be happy. And it has a nice positive effect when we actually do go out: we’re both like, “oh it’s so fun to hang out with friends! we should do this more often!”

    Do you embrace habits or resist them?

    I was always a very habitual person, with very fixed tastes and attitudes about things — though not a particularly organized person, I should say. I would drink a certain kind of coffee, and only eat certain dishes, and could only write in certain environments. For like fifteen years, the only kind of alcohol I would drink was low-sugar red wines. But one of the strange things that happened to me becoming a middle-aged person (I’m 48) is that I started shaking things up. I’m still very habitual; I just keep changing my habits. We moved to California full-time for three years about six years ago for no other reason than it would be change of pace. I started drinking white wine almost exclusively like two years ago. I suddenly decided I like spicy food about six years ago. It’s a good antidote to getting old, I suppose: don’t let yourself get settled in your ways. Invent new ways!

    The post “I Try to Make a Regular Custom of Listening to Music for 20-30 Minutes Without Any Other Distractions.” appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 21:00:44 on 2016/11/16 Permalink
    Tags: apps, , boost, Buy Books, , entertaining, Games, guests, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Podcast 91: Delete a Soul-Sucking App, and a Deep Dive into Happier 911 Songs 

    candy-crush

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

    NOTE: This episode was recorded before Election Day 2016, which is why Elizabeth and I don’t mention it. The election has been unusually emotional and contentious. As with any milestone moment, it provides an opportunity for us to reflect about our own values, and how we can serve the highest ideals of our country and ourselves.

    Update: Elizabeth and I discuss the site Longitude Books: Recommended Reading for Travelers, where you can find books related to your travels.

    Try This at Home: Amy suggests “Delete or disable soul-sucking, productivity-depleting, creativity-sapping apps.”

    If you want to hear the episode where Elizabeth and I discuss our “preciousssssss,” it’s episode 17.  We picked up this term from The Lord of the Rings. Whenever Gollum refers to the ring, he calls it “my precious.” “Losst it is, my precious, lost, lost! Curse us and crush us, my precious is lost!“ Want to see a ten-second clip of Gollum talking about his precious, from The Lord of the Rings movie The Two Towers? It’s here.

    We talk about the Abstainer/Moderator distinction — you can read more here.

    What app is your precioussss app?

    Happiness Hack for the Holidays:  Make homemade place-cards.

    Deep Dive into Happiness 911 Songs: To hear the Happiness 911 songs, the link is here, or you can search for “Happier 911” on Spotify. Currently more than 400 songs — that’s more than 26 hours of happy music.

    Elizabeth’s  Demerit: Elizabeth hasn’t been going to the mindfulness class at her son’s school, even though she found it so helpful last year.

    Gretchen’s Gold Star: Eleanor’s teacher took the time to send a positive progress notice.

    If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here.

    Remember,  I’m doing 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.

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    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Sign up for The Great Courses Plus today and you’ll get a month of unlimited access to thousands of fascinating lectures taught by top professors and experts in their fields. Try it free for one month when  you sign up at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/happier.

    Also 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, plus a $110 bonus offer — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

    And check out Olive and Cocoa. Surprise someone you love with a meaningful gift today. Go to OliveandCocoa.com/happier to see gift options specifically chosen for our listeners — and for a limited time, you’ll get 10% off your purchase.

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    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.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 91: Delete a Soul-Sucking App, and a Deep Dive into Happier 911 Songs appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 17:38:02 on 2016/11/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , Buy Books, , , , , ,   

    Revealed! Three Book Club Choices for November. Happy Reading. 

    booksthreebookclub

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

    • one outstanding book about happiness or habits
    • 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.  Drumroll…

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

    Essays by Michel de Montaigne

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    An outstanding children’s book:

    Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    An eccentric pick:

    D.V. by Diana Vreeland

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    Some readers have said that they wished that I’d describe and make the case for my book choices, instead of just providing links. I’ve noticed that many times, when someone describes a book to me, I want to read it less. And often, weirdly, the better a book is, the worse it sounds.

    Nevertheless, because so many readers have requested it, I’ve decided to give a bit more context for these choices in the book-club newsletter. So if you’d like to know more about why I made these selections, check there. To get that free monthly book-club newsletter, and to make sure you don’ t miss any recommendations, sign up here.

    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.

    The post Revealed! Three Book Club Choices for November. Happy Reading. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
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