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  • feedwordpress 11:00:02 on 2019/03/29 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , March, reading,   

    What I Read This Month: March 2019 


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    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 this approach meant that I spent time reading books that bored me, and I had less time for books that I truly enjoy. These days, I now put down a book if I don’t feel like finishing it, so I have more time to do my favorite kinds of reading.

    This habit means that if you see a book included in the #GretchenRubinReads photo, you know that I liked it well enough to read to the last page.

    If you’d like more ideas for habits to help you get more reading done, read this post or download my "Reading Better Than Before" worksheet.

    You can also follow me on Goodreads where I've recently started tracking books I’ve read.

    If you want to see what I read in February 2019, the full list is here.

    I get a lot of time to read when I travel, and being on my book tour has given me many wonderful hours of reading—especially because in my "19 for 2019" list, I vowed to stop watching HGTV transformation shows in my hotel room. That's freed up a lot of time!

    March 2019 Reading:

    Nobody's Looking at You by Janet Malcolm -- I love Janet Malcolm's work. I'd read several of these essays before, but I loved reading them again.

    The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson -- A frank, bold term for this kind of clutter-clearing! Short and inspiring.

    The Gastronomical Me by M.F.K. Fisher -- A fascinating way to approach a memoir. Now I want to read everything that M.F.K. Fisher ever wrote. Next stop: How to Cook a Wolf. How can I resist that title?

    The Seventh Raven by Peter Dickinson -- More Peter Dickinson! I loved this book, too. He never disappoints. Very different from his others, but I'm noticing a trend: he often involves characters who are ambassadors or diplomats of some kind. Interesting.

    Heartburn by Nora Ephron -- A re-read. Hilarious, thought-provoking novel based on her own experience with a divorce.

    Fooling Houdini by Alex Stone -- Fascinating. I've become very interested in magicians and theories of magic. Stay tuned.

    The Crystal Tree by Jennie Dorothea Lindquist -- Another re-read. What a wonderful, wonderful book. So cozy. It's the third in a series that's included in my list of 81 Favorite Works of Children's and Young Adult Literature.

    In the Palace of the Khans by Peter Dickinson -- What can I say? More Peter Dickinson. With ambassadors! Plus royal families, secret passageways, ancient customs.

    The Butler Speaks by Charles MacPherson -- Not sure why I picked this up, but it was an interesting look at etiquette.

    The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy -- This memoir has been on my list for a long time. Thought-provoking, page-turning.

    The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey -- I loved this book and can't wait to suggest it to my kidlit reading groups. A fresh and fascinating twist on the classic theme of zombie apocalypse.

    The Only Story by Julian Barnes -- An interesting examination of an unusual relationship, and its reverberations through the life of the narrator.

    Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan -- I got this in galley! I'm a big fan of Ian McEwan, and this didn't disappoint.

    Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell -- A re-read. George Orwell is certainly one of my very favorite writers of non-fiction; perhaps my very favorite. So I wanted to re-read this.

     

    Have you heard of The Next Big Idea Club

    If you're looking for non-fiction book recommendations, consider joining The Next Big Idea Club to receive two new books every three months, handpicked by a team of authors and experts like Malcolm Gladwell and Susan Cain. Plus, you'll get access to videos and e-courses. More details here.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:13:59 on 2019/03/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , reading,   

    What I Read This Month: February 2019 


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    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 this approach meant that I spent time reading books that bored me, and I had less time for books that I truly enjoy. These days, I now put down a book if I don’t feel like finishing it, so I have more time to do my favorite kinds of reading.

    This habit means that if you see a book included in the #GretchenRubinReads photo, you know that I liked it well enough to read to the last page.

    If you’d like more ideas for habits to help you get more reading done, read this post or download my "Reading Better Than Before" worksheet.

    You can also follow me on Goodreads where I've recently started tracking books I’ve read.

    If you want to see what I read in January 2019, the full list is here.

    February 2019 Reading:

    Pride by Ibi Zoboi -- a wonderful re-telling of Pride and Prejudice, set in Bushwick. "It is a truth universally acknowledged that when rich people move into the hood, where it's a little bit broken and a little bit forgotten, the first thing they want to do is clean it up."

    The Chosen Ones by Scarlett Thomas -- This is the second in a YA series by Scarlett Thomas. Now I have to wait for the third book to come out.

    Eva by Peter Dickinson -- How I love Peter Dickinson! A girl is in a terrible accident, and wakes up with her mind implanted in the body of a chimp. Very interesting. Straight sci-fi.

    Earth and Air by Peter Dickinson -- More Dickinson! Short stories on the theme of earth and air. Wonderful. Fantasy.

    Angel Isle by Peter Dickinson -- What can I say? More Dickinson. The sequel to The Ropemaker.

    The Wave in the Mind by Ursula K. Le Guin -- Dickinson got me in the mood for Le Guin. These are various essays.

    Spring by Karl Ove Knausgaard -- Another author I love. You're either on this train, or off this train. I'm on it, all the way.

    How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee -- I love essays and kept hearing that I had to read this collection.

    Still Life by Louise Penny -- One of my most bookish friends keeps urging me to read Penny, even thought I don't usually like mysteries, and told me to start with this one. I really enjoyed it.

    How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand -- I skimmed this book. Very intriguing look at buildings, cities, and how time changes a place. Loved the illustrations.

    The Anatomy of Color by Patrick Baty -- I also skimmed this very dense book. It's an extremely comprehensive, authoritative and odd examination of historical issues related to color.

    My Father's Fortune by Michael Frayn -- I love Michael Frayn's work and love memoirs, so had to get this book. A very loving account of a family and a time in history.

    The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson -- how had I not read this book before? What a title.

    What have you read recently that you'd recommend? I'm particularly in the mood for essays and memoirs. Plus as part of my "19 for 2019," I vowed that during my upcoming book tour, I'd spend my time in hotel rooms reading children's/YA novels instead of watching before-and-after HGTV which (for some reason) is what I usually do. So I'd also love some children's/YA recommendations.

    Announcement! We decided to launch the Happier Podcast Book Club. We'll discuss Dani Shapiro's Inheritance on episode 212 (airing March 13). Spoiler alert: it's really, really good.

     
  • gretchenrubin 11:00:34 on 2019/01/29 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , reading   

    We’re Launching the Happier Podcast Book Club! And Announced Our First Choice. 


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    Nothing makes me happier than reading a great book -- unless it's the chance to talk to other people who've loved that book as well.

    Elizabeth and I both love to read, and we know that the listeners of the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast love to read, too. For instance, we noticed that "Read more" or "Read X number of books this year" appeared on a huge number of "18 for 2018" and "19 for 2019" lists.

    So...announcement! We decided to launch the Happier Podcast Book Club.

    Several times a year on the Happier podcast, we'll announce a book, and then some episodes later, we'll discuss it.

    If you choose to read along, you can post your questions and comments here on this blog post, on #happierpodcastbookclub or email us at podcast@gretchenrubin.com.

    If we can, we'll have the author as our guest.

    We're tremendously excited to announce our first pick. This choice was easy. It's a thought-provoking, beautifully written memoir that's so suspenseful, I read it in practically one sitting.

    It's Dani Shapiro's Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love. This book is generating a tremendous amount of buzz and acclaim, and no surprise, it's a New York Times bestseller

    Here's the official description:

    What makes us who we are? What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?
    In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history--the life she had lived--crumbled beneath her.
    Inheritance is a book about secrets--secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman's urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in--a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.

    It's particularly nice to have Dani as our first choice, because she was Elizabeth's first writing teacher! How crazy is that? And Dani and I have known each other for a long time, through mutual writerly friends. Plus Elizabeth and I both have read all her books -- in particular, I love Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage.

    So read along, and send us your questions and comments soon. Dani will join us for a discussion on the show for episode 212, which will go live on March 13.

    The book is fairly short.

    Some people ask, "Does it count if I listen to the audio-book?" Absolutely.

    Some people ask, "I want to read it, but how can I get more reading done?" Check out my one-pager "Reading Better Than Before" for some tips.

    Some people ask, "Do I have to read it? I've got so much going on right now, it stresses me out to think about adding something  to my to-do list." The motto of my children's literature reading groups is NO GUILT, and that motto applies to this "group," too. Sometimes, it's just not the right time for a book. Don't beat yourself up. You can enjoy the conversation, and when your life settles down, you can get back to reading. A book waits for you, always.

    We'd love to hear your suggestions for other books to consider. We already have a few that we're dying to discuss.

    How I love to read! It's my tree-house and my cubicle. More reading for all. Head to your favorite bookstore (maybe you have a favorite local indie?), go to the library, go e- or audio-, whatever works for you.

    The prospect of this book club is making Elizabeth and me very happy. Join the conversation!

     
  • gretchenrubin 12:00:28 on 2018/11/08 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , reading,   

    Want to Give the Gift of a Book This Holiday Season? A Gift Guide for All Kinds of Readers. 


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    It's holiday time! And that means it's time to choose gifts for the people in our lives. Which can be fun, but can also be frustrating and difficult.

    One of the best gifts to give is a book. How I love books. Plus they're easy to wrap, easy to transport, and easy to re-gift if necessary.

    But that leads to the question...what book?

    Here are some suggestions for different categories of gift-recipients, with suggestions of books that I love.

    If I'd made this list last week, or if I did it next week, I'm sure I'd come up with an entirely different list. I love so many books, it's hard to pick out a few. But this is a start.

    For a new parent: Operating Instructions, Anne Lamott

    For the parent of small children: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

    For a person interested in spirituality: Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather

    For a person who loves celebrity memoirs: Born Standing Up, Steve Martin

    For someone who loves to cook: Home Cooking, Laurie Colwin

    For a fisherman: A River Runs Through It, Norman McLean

    For a history lover: Their Finest Hour, Winston Churchill

    For someone who loves a great study of character: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark

    For a nature-lover: Into the Wild, John Krakauer

    For a person who's interested in sports and leadership: The Captain Class, Sam Walker

    For someone who loves fantasy: American Gods, Neil Gaiman

    For someone who loves to write: A Writer's Diary, Virginia Woolf

    For someone who loves science fiction: Lord of Light, Robert Zelazny

    Book that changed my life: Why We Get Fat, Gary Taubes (Want to read my interview with Gary Taubes? Request it here.)

    Book that was made into a movie, and both are brilliant: Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk

    Book that I played hooky from work to stay home to read: The Stand, Stephen King (I recommend the standard, not the unabridged, version)

    Book that people keep telling me to read: Bad Blood, John Carreyrou

    For someone who's starting to date or looking for a job: First Impressions, Ann Demarais and Valerie White

    For someone with a short attention span or who loves very short stories: Revenge of the Lawn, Richard Brautigan

    For someone who loves essays: Selected EssaysGeorge Orwell

    For a person interested in human nature: The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James

    For a person interested in film: In the Blink of an Eye, Walter Murch

    For a person interested in friendship: Truth and Beauty, Ann Patchett

    For a person interested in journalism: The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcolm

    For a person who loves a twist at the end: The End of the Affair, Graham Greene

     

    If you're buying a book for a child or young-adult, check out my list of 81 Favorite Works of Children's and Young-Adult Literature. So many good books!

    Of course, I can't resist recommending my own books.

    If you're giving one of my books as a gift, and want to put in a free, personalized bookplate to make it more special, sign up here to request one. Feel free to request as many as you want (within reason). Alas, because of mailing costs, I can offer this to people in the U.S. and Canada only. Sorry about that!

    If you'd like to see what I've read, follow me on Goodreads. Or look on Facebook, where every Sunday night, on #GretchenRubinReads, I post a photo of the books I've read that week.

    As I write about in my book Better Than Before, I've changed my reading habits so that now, if I don't like a book, I stop reading it. So if you see a book listed in Goodreads or on Facebook, you know that I liked a book well enough to finish it.

    I love to choose, give, and receive books!

     
  • Crystal Ellefsen 12:00:30 on 2018/07/10 Permalink
    Tags: , , , reading, young adult books   

    A Selection of 9 Young-Adult Novels That I Read Over and Over 


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    I love to read. And I love to read children's and young-adult novels. In fact, I'm in three (yes, three) book groups where we read only "kidlit."

    And I love to re-read. I'm sure I've read some of my favorite books at least twenty times.

    In case you're interested in reading some YA novels, here is a list of some of my favorites. I've read all of them at least twice, and some of them many more times than that.

    Now, I must add, this is a very haphazard list of my favorites. There are so many books that I've read and re-read. I wanted this list to include some very well-known books, and also some that are less well-known, for people who are looking for something they may not have known about.

    1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

    Buy from IndieBound; Barnes & Noble; Amazon

    2. What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

    Buy from IndieBoundBarnes & Noble; Amazon

    3. Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones

    Buy from WORDBarnes & Noble; Amazon

    4.  Jane-Emily by Patricia Clapp

    Buy from WORD; Barnes & Noble; Amazon

    5. Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron

    Buy from WORD; Barnes & Noble; Amazon

    6. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

    Buy from WORD; Barnes & Noble; Amazon.

    7. The Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden

    Buy from Barnes & Noble; Amazon

    8. Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt

    (Wow, I really dislike the new cover; ignore that.)

    Buy from WORD; Barnes & Noble; Amazon

    9. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

    Buy from WORD; Barnes & Noble; Amazon

    What's the difference, you may ask, among a work of children's literature, a work of adult literature, and a work of young-adult literature? In my three children's literature reading groups, this question often comes up. And there's no clear answer.

    And the sorting of books changes over time. Catcher in the Rye and Jane Eyre are now often shelved with young-adult literature, though they started out as novels for adults.

    What books have you read over and over?

     
  • gretchenrubin 21:19:32 on 2017/11/21 Permalink
    Tags: , , , reading, ,   

    What Do You Plan to Read Tomorrow?–Apparently It’s the Biggest Reading Day of the Year? 


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    According to a study commissioned by the huge bookseller Barnes & Noble, Thanksgiving Eve--which this year falls tomorrow, on Wednesday, November 22--is the busiest reading day of the year.

    It's a very popular (and therefore stressful) travel day, and many people turn to books and periodicals to make traveling more pleasant.

    My family usually celebrates Thanksgiving in New York City, so I don't have any travel-related reading time.

    In general, though, I love to read on airplanes. I made a rule for myself: when I'm in transit, I don't work; I read for pleasure. This rule means that I get much more reading done, plus I enjoy traveling much more.

    I can't read during car trips, however -- I get car-sick. Can you read while riding in a car?

    If you're traveling tomorrow, do you plan to do some reading? What book or periodical are you taking?

    If you'd like to see my one-pager on tips for getting more reading done, it's here.

     
  • gretchenrubin 22:17:07 on 2017/11/02 Permalink
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    Revealed! 7 Brilliant Books About the Nature of Creativity. 


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    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 14:00:31 on 2017/07/07 Permalink
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    Revealed! The Making of a Scientist, Happy Summertime Adventures, and the Frustrations of the Push-Pull Door. 


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    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 14:00:21 on 2017/07/06 Permalink
    Tags: , Courtney Maum, , , reading   

    “It Is Not Just Okay But Necessary to Let Myself Feel Good.” 


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    Courtney Maum

    Interview: Courtney Maum.

    Courtney Maum is a gifted writer, and her terrific new novel Touch just hit the shelves — so if you’re looking for a book to read this summer, here’s one for your stack.

    It’s getting a tremendous amount of buzz, such as being chosen as an Editors’ Choice by the New York Times Book Review, as one of “The 6 Juiciest Summer Reads” by Glamour, and as one of “The 29 Best Books of the Summer” by the New York Post.

    And while I know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, I always do, and I think that Touch has one of the best covers I’ve seen in a long time.

    It’s about Sloane, a trend forecaster who goes on a quest to understand the value of “in personism,” that is, real-life human interaction. Many of the fictional trends mentioned in Touch have already proved to be eerily prescient.

    In addition to writing, Courtney Maum also has a position that instantly caught my attention – she is a product namer for the cosmetics MAC cosmetics and other companies. As someone who is obsessed both with color and language, this fascinates me.

    A great job for a novelist!

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

    Courtney: Horseback riding. This was something I got great joy from when I was a little girl, but I stopped riding when I was ten. Thirty years later, I decided to start again. At first, I was reluctant: it felt really indulgent, it takes a lot of time and resources to ride. But it brings my mind and body such strength and honest joy. Now I feel proud that this is something I’ve decided to do for myself, on my own terms. The fact that I’ve made a habit of it reminds me to remind myself that I am worth it: that it is not just okay but necessary to let myself feel good.

    What’s something you know now about forming healthy habits that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?

    Do not drink three Venti servings of Starbucks coffee in one day! I ruined my young adulthood with caffeine. I became completely hooked at a young age. I’ve always been incompetent at math, and growing up, I was at the kind of school where it wasn’t kosher to underperform, so I had a math tutor. I was thirteen, and she’d show up to our sessions with the huge cups of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, which have such a specific smell. I was so entranced by her beverage, she started bringing one along for me as well. And that was it. I became addicted to caffeine.

    In high school and college, I worked at Starbucks—this was back in the late 90s when Starbucks was still novel, and I got the coffee for free, so I’d just take it around everywhere with me, like a designer handbag. I got free refills. I was drinking it all the time. I was awake my entire sophomore year.

    I haven’t given up “caffeine” per se—although I stopped drinking coffee about ten years ago. I’m a black tea drinker now, one cup of tea a day. I don’t get jittery and nervous and sick-feeling the way I did with coffee. If I could go back, I’d tell my younger self that caffeine addiction is not a good look for a person who already struggles with sleep issues.

    Do you have any habits that continually get in the way of your happiness?

    Insomnia. I’ve always struggled with sleep issues, even when I was a little girl. It’s never been easy for me to quiet my mind, and like many people with similar challenges, the less I sleep, the more I worry about not sleeping, and so the less I sleep.

    After touring for my first book, my insomnia got so bad, that (along with some other personal issues I was dealing with) I spiraled into a depression. So over the last year, I decided to do whatever I could to tackle this unhealthy habit. I saw a therapist and a pharmacologist; I tried different medications. I went to an acupuncturist, a shaman, the works. I saw a nutritionist who put me on an herbal regimen that helped. I tried going off of stimulants, off of dark chocolate, off of white rice…I tried whatever the professionals wanted me to try, but the irony of course, is that you can’t be stressed out about adhering to the rituals that are supposed to improve your sleep, because stress just makes it worse. So what I’m focusing on mostly right now is treating the root cause—my brain. I do what I can to give myself access to real happiness and rest. There are inevitable periods when I’m overworked, but I no longer want “overworked” to be my way of life. And I don’t give myself a hard time about taking medication anymore. I used to be really dyed-in-the-wool against that: I used to think that I could treat anxiety and depression by going for a run. Now, if I need support, I take a sleeping pill, and I don’t beat myself up about it.

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

    De-connected quality time is extremely important to me. And I literally mean de-connected: time spent away from the Internet and my phone. I try to start workdays writing by hand with my phone off and my computer stored away somewhere out of sight.  When we join friends for dinner, I don’t tolerate cell phones being out. I can’t stand the sight of that frenetic slab pinging away while we’re trying to settle into a conversation. It’s tough being a parent, because ideally I really want to spend time with my daughter without my cell phone on me so that I don’t even have the option to be distracted, but this is hard to do because common sense tells you that you should always have the capability to place an emergency call. This is one of the reasons I’m tempted to get a dumb phone: a secondary cell that only calls and texts. Light Phone has a great one out right now.

    Have you ever been hit by a lightning bolt, where you changed a major habit very suddenly, as a consequence of reading a book, a conversation with a friend, a milestone birthday, a health scare, etc.?

    Oh, yes! Earlier in my career, I gravitated toward professional opportunities that had me in close contact with a super intelligent, super creative, super passive aggressive boss. I would constantly find myself unhappy and destabilized in a job that was unpredictable and usually underpaid. And I’d drop everything for these bosses, time and time again. A single email from them would see me decimating an entire weekend of plans just so I could come through for them, be asked “what they would ever do without me?” in a thank-you text. [Courtney, I suspect that in my Four Tendencies framework, you are an Obliger.]

    As creatively fulfilling as a lot of these jobs were, I often felt terrifically unhappy and unsure, and I was always nervous: I couldn’t settle into my present or enjoy a moment with friends because I was constantly expecting a missive from my high-powered boss.

    The lightning bolt came in 2007 when my husband, on another day that I’d come home from work crying, told me, “You know, this job pays nothing. You went to a great college! You get that there are other jobs out there, right?” But although I quit that particular position, it took me a decade to break the bad pattern I was in. I’m mostly freelancing in the branding world now, but I now choose to collaborate with people who respect that I have a personal life, that I need private time. This has resulted in my private time feeling like a much safer space. I don’t have to worry about crazy desperate “need this ASAP” emails any more.

    The post “It Is Not Just Okay But Necessary to Let Myself Feel Good.” appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 17:04:59 on 2017/06/14 Permalink
    Tags: captains, , , , , reading, Sam Walker,   

    Podcast 121: How to Get More Reading Done, a Car-Related Hack, and an Interview with Sam Walker about Leadership. 


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    Update: We love reading everyone’s haiku!

    Here’s mine for today:

    Writing my haiku

    A new way to see the world

    Quiet, creative.

    Try This at Home: Read more. Something that definitely boosts my happiness! For my one-pager about “Reading Better Than Before,” it’s here.

    As promised, here are Daniel Pennac’s “10 Inalienable Rights of the Reader.”

    Happiness Hack: Michael Melcher suggests using the vacuum at the gas station to keep the car clean. Outer order, inner calm.

    Check out his podcast, Meanwhile, for ideas about how to improve your work and life.

    Interview: We talked to journalist and editor Sam Walker about his fascinating book The Captain Class: the Hidden Force That Creates the World’s Greatest Teams. It’s about sports, leadership, and success.

    Sam mentions that he’s a Questioner. Don’t know your Tendency? Take the quiz here to see if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel.

    Sam’s Try This at Home: Ride a bike to work.

    Gretchen’s (Possible) Demerit: I decided to stop driving in New York City. I write about my dislike of driving in Happier at Home,  and as part of the experiment of that book I worked hard to get back into the practice of driving. This decision feels cowardly — but those drives drain me and casts a shadow over summer weekends.

    Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth and Adam just celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary, and that occasion reminded her how much work our mother did, to plan her wedding. It was gorgeous, and just what Elizabeth wanted.

    Two Resources:

    1.  To get the one-page PDF on “Reading Better Than Before,” “Working Better Than Before,” “Eating Better Than Before,” or “Exercising Better Than Before,” you can find them here.
    2.  Sign up for my free newsletter here. More than 300,000 people  get it. Or text me 66866 and enter the word “happier.”

    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 Lyft  — join the ride-sharing company that believes in treating its people better. Go to Lyft.com/happier to get a $500 new-driver bonus. Limited time only.

    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.

    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.” Check out these great shows: Side Hustle School and Radical Candor and Happier in Hollywood.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 121: How to Get More Reading Done, a Car-Related Hack, and an Interview with Sam Walker about Leadership. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
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