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  • gretchenrubin 20:25:46 on 2017/12/12 Permalink
    Tags: , , , gifts, ,   

    Need Holiday Gift-Giving Ideas? Here are the 7 Books I Most Often Give as Gifts. 

    I love giving books as gifts -- during the holiday season, and throughout the year. I constantly recommend a million books, but there is a handful of books that I find myself giving over and over, because they've had such an influence on me.

    Here are the seven that I most often give as gifts:

    1. Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes.

    As I write about in Better Than Before, this book changed my life in dramatic ways, and all for the better. It also changed my father's life. I hand this book out constantly. It's easy to read, interesting, and (for me) utterly convincing.

    2. A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander.

    I'm not a visual person, and this book was a revelation to me; it allowed me to understand space and design in an entirely new way.

    3. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte.

    Yes, I know, it's the worst title ever, but it's a gorgeous, brilliant book that changed the way that I think about information. I just gave this book to a friend last week.

    4. The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

    This is the novel that I give someone who's stuck in the hospital and needs to be distracted. It's so absorbing and exciting.

    5. Selected Essays by George Orwell.

    I admire Orwell's writing tremendously, and am always trying to encourage other people to read his work.

    6. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

    This is by far the most useful and entertaining parenting book that I've ever read. I use the advice to deal more effectively with my daughters, and also with adults. I've probably read it five times.

    7. Open by Andre Agassi.

    I don't know anything about tennis, but I love memoirs, so I read this book because so many people praised it as a memoir. It's a brilliant, fascinating book, but I give it as a gift because it's an astonishingly accurate portrait of an Obliger. Some people make inaccurate assumptions about the Obliger personality, so I often say, "Read Open, and you'll get a very different understanding of how this Tendency can play out." (Don't know what an Obliger is? Read here.)

    I hear from a lot of people who give my books as gifts, and that's always thrilling to hear.

    What books do you most often give as gifts?

    You'll notice that I didn't include any works of children's literature or young-adult literature. That's a whole different category. If you'd like to see my 81 favorite works of kidlit, look here.

     
  • feedwordpress 19:06:56 on 2016/12/21 Permalink
    Tags: , crafts, , , gifts, , , , , , , shared work,   

    Podcast 96: Set Your “Holiday Intention,” the Fun of Making Graham-Cracker Houses, and the Problem of Holiday Shared Work. 

    grahamcrackerhousegretchen

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

    Elizabeth’s young-adult book Flower is ready for pre-order! As promised, here’s the cover. It sounds so good, I can’t wait to read it! (In fact, as I’m writing this, I’m thinking–why didn’t Elizabeth send me an advanced copy? I need to remind her.)

    To start the new year in a happier way, we’re doing a fun project on Instagram. Every day, for the month of January, Elizabeth and I will post a photo on Instagram of something that makes us happier (by giving us a boost, helping us stick to good habits, reminding us to feel grateful, etc.).  Join in! Use the hashtag #Happier2017 and tag us — I’m @gretchenrubin and Elizabeth is @lizcraft.

    Try This at Home: Set your holiday intention; in other words, figure out what you intend to get from your holiday experience.
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    grahamcrackerhouseawningHappiness Hack: To make a graham-cracker house, you build the “house” out of graham cracker sheets, use tub frosting to glue it together, let dry for several hours–then cover the house with frosting and decorate with candy, sprinkles, pretzels, marshmallows, licorice, etc. So easy, so fun!

    Happiness Stumbling Block: During the holidays, shared work can become a problem. (Here’s my post about shared work, which is one of my all-time favorite posts.)

    Listener Question: Jenny asks, “I’m a librarian, and I want to give gifts to my volunteers — but I don’t have a big budget. Any ideas?”

    Demerit: Once again, I left my gift-buying too late. I knew what I should do, but I just didn’t do it.

    Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to her in-laws for making handmade tamales each year. It’s a lot of work, and they do it each year.

    Don’t forget: Elizabeth’s young-adult book Flower is ready for pre-order!

    flowercraftolsen

    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.

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Check out BlueApron.comWish you cooked more? Get all the delicious, fresh ingredients you need to make great meals, delivered to your front door. Check out BlueApron.com/happier to get your first three meals free.

    Also 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.

     

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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 96: Set Your “Holiday Intention,” the Fun of Making Graham-Cracker Houses, and the Problem of Holiday Shared Work. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:47:53 on 2016/12/16 Permalink
    Tags: buying, , gifts, , , , , , , , ,   

    What Makes the Perfect Gift? Probably Not What You Think. 

    giftswrappedbows

    Lately, I’ve been shopping for holiday gifts, which raises questions. What makes a good gift? Is it better to surprise people, or to shop from a list they provide? Should I spend hours searching for just the right gift?

    If you’ve asked yourself these kinds of questions, John Tierney wrote an interesting New York Times article, The Perfect Gift? It’s the One They Asked For.

    He looked at the research, and it turns out:

    1. Focus on long-term enjoyment, not short-term drama. Recipients enjoy a gift more when it’s something they can really use, not something that’s a sensational reveal.
    2. It’s better to buy lots of people the same good present than to give everyone individual gifts that aren’t as good. We tend to think we need to give unique gifts, but recipients don’t care much about that.
    3. Re-gift without shame. Studies show that most people aren’t offended when their gifts are re-gifted.
    4. Take suggestions. If people tell you what they’d like as a gift, buy them what they’ve asked for instead of a surprise. (In my family, we’re all expected to write long lists for ourselves, to make gift-giving easier for each other.)
    5. If you give a gift card, make it as general as possible. The more specific it is, the less likely it is to be redeemed.  People like flexibility.
    6. Gift-recipients enjoy a gift if it’s something they like, no matter how much time or effort went into its purchase. For gift-givers, however, putting time and effort into a gift makes them feel closer to the recipient. Pouring a lot of energy into buying a gift is something that is nice for the giver, not as much for the recipient.

    Bonus tips from me:

    1. Items that are personalized seem more special, and these days, it’s easy to order personalized notepads, journals, mugs, sticky notes, etc.
    2. Think about The Five Love Languages. If your language is “Receiving Gifts,” remember that for other people, gift exchanges aren’t as meaningful as they are for you; try not to be hurt or angry if people don’t take the same time or effort that you do. And if the recipient of your gift speaks the language of “Receiving Gifts,” remember that to such a person, gifts have tremendous importance as expressions of love, so take gift-giving seriously.

    The post What Makes the Perfect Gift? Probably Not What You Think. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 08:25:00 on 2016/10/24 Permalink
    Tags: , , gifts, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    A Little Happier: Accept a Gift in the Spirit in Which It’s Offered. (Easier Said Than Done.) 

    Receive a gift

    In my books The Happiness Project, and on my blog, I’ve written about the fact that my spiritual master is St. Therese of Lisieux, which I learned after reading her spiritual memoir Story of a Soul.

    I’ve always been very struck by St. Therese’s discussion about getting gifts. She emphasizes that we should accept a gift in the spirit in which it’s offered — and also admits why, even for her (a saint!), this is difficult.

    This is the line I especially love: “for the love of God and my Sisters (so charitable toward me) I take care to appear happy and especially to be so.”

    If you’d like to watch a short video of me talking about the happiness resolution of “Imitate your spiritual master,” it’s here:

    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: Accept a Gift in the Spirit in Which It’s Offered. (Easier Said Than Done.) appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 15:54:37 on 2016/09/14 Permalink
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    Podcast 82: Make a To-Do List (or a Could-Do List), Why Your Identity Matters for Your Habits–and Gift Bags. 

    to-do-list2

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

    Update: If you live near Seattle, please come to our live event! We’ll be recording an episode of the podcast live on stage at Seattle’s Town Hall on October 13, 7:30. Tickets are $25. More info and buy tickets here. Please come, bring your friends.

    In episode 76, we talked about manifestos, and if you’re coming to the Seattle event, we’d love to highlight a few manifestos from listeners. So send us your manifesto for work, life, parenting, marriage, exercise, clutter-clearing — whatever! And maybe we’ll talk about it with you on stage.

    Try This at Home: Make a to-do list, or a could-do list.  We talked about the Four Tendencies — whether you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel — and you want to take the Four Tendencies Quiz, it’s here.

    Happiness Hack: Our listener Carolyn suggests that if you constantly run out of a certain item, just buy it whenever you have the chance. I mention the over-buyer and under-buyer distinction; you can read about it here.

    Better Than Before Habit Strategy: The powerful, sometimes elusive Strategy of Identity.  I quote from Letters of James Agee to Father Flye, where novelist James Agee wrote, after he’d been told that he really needed to cut back on his drinking and smoking:

    I am depressed because whether I am to live a very short time or relatively longer time depends…on whether or not I can learn to be the kind of person I am not and have always detested.

    Listener Question: Kelly asks, “How do I handle my trove of gift bags?”

    Gretchen’s Demerit: I didn’t check my print job until many, many pages had been printed.

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    Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to her long-desired breakfast nook.

    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 about the podcast. To join the conversation, check the schedule. 

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    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.

    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.

    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. Special offer for our listeners: try it for free when you sign up at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/happier.

     

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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 toHappier 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 82: Make a To-Do List (or a Could-Do List), Why Your Identity Matters for Your Habits–and Gift Bags. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:08:17 on 2016/06/15 Permalink
    Tags: , gifts, , Los Angeles, , Moby, , , , , , , , surprise, , ,   

    Podcast 69: Give a Surprise Treat, a Conversation with Musician Moby, and Double Gold Stars. 

    Moby on Happier Podcast

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

    Update: Keep sending us those “happiness hacks!” They’re fascinating. To hear about my happiness hack, it’s in episode 64.

    Remember,  I’m doing weekly live videos on my Facebook Page about the podcast. To join the conversation, tune in Tuesdays at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

    Try This at Home: Give someone a surprise treat. This is fun!

    Here’s the article about The Great Courses: Sarah Max’sBorn in the VCR Era, Great Courses Seeks to Evolve.”

    Interview: The iconic musician and writer Moby. His fascinating new memoir is Porcelain.

    Here’s the quote from E. B. White that I mention:

    “Margaret Mitchell once remarked: ‘It is a full-time job to be the author of ‘Gone With the Wind.’ This remark greatly impressed me, as being an admission of defeat, American style. (Miss Mitchell, incidentally, was not overstating the matter—she never produced another book.)”  –E.B. White, Letters, May 7, 1961

    Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth has been making stir-fry vegetables for herself.

    Gretchen’s Gold Star: I moved my Scent Library to a more convenient spot in the apartment.
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    Gretchen Rubin scents

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    heck out The Great Courses Plus for a wide variety of fascinating courses taught by top professors and experts in their fields. Special offer for our listeners: free access to one of their most popular courses, for free as part of a 30-day trial, when you sign up. Go to thegreatcoursesplus.com/happier

    And 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.

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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 toHappier 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 69: Give a Surprise Treat, a Conversation with Musician Moby, and Double Gold Stars. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 22:43:24 on 2016/03/14 Permalink
    Tags: , gifts, Page-a-Day,   

    It’s Back! The Page-a-Day Calendar to Make Your Days Happier. 

    Happier2017Calendar

    Some years ago, I did a Page-a-Day calendar based on The Happiness Project. To my delight, the calendar proved to be a very popular item, and it sold out very quickly.

    For a variety of reasons, I haven’t done another calendar — until now! Yes, for 2017, I’ve created a Page-a-Day Calendar, crammed with tips, ideas, and quotes for how to build a happier life.

    I have so much fun creating this calendar. For my whole life, my family has always given lots of Page-a-Day calendars to each other as gifts. I get the Word-a-Day calendar in my stocking each year (fun fact: today’s word is “nonplus”), and for a long time, my father always got the Gary Larson Page-a-Day; we’re all huge fans of Gary Larson’s cartoons. He kept it on his desk at his office, and when there was an especially good cartoon, he’d bring it home to show us. He even mailed me some of the pages when I was in college.

    I love this way of taking in information in a bite-sized, day-by-day way. Thinking about one idea each day feels helpful and manageable, and gives a feeling of slow and steady progress.

    The calendars are still being printed, but you can pre-order a calendar now:

     

    Because pre-orders build buzz among readers, retailers, and publishers, if you’re planning to buy a calendar (or one of my books), it really helps me if you pre-order it now. Plus, last time I heard from a lot of people who wanted to buy the calendar after it was out of stock. As you can imagine, calendar publishers are very wary about printing too many calendars.

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    calendar-example2

    As always, if you’d like to give the calendar or a book as gifts, sign up here to get free, personalized bookplates for the recipient. (U.S. and Canada only, sorry, mailing costs.) Or request a bookplate for yourself, of course.

    I hope you find the calendar an engaging tool as you try to make your life a little happier. It’s not about perfection — it’s about being better than before.

    Are you a fan of these kinds of calendars, that give you more than just the dates? I love them.

    The post It’s Back! The Page-a-Day Calendar to Make Your Days Happier. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
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