Podcast: The First Episode of “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” — Exciting!

I’m thrilled to announce that...I have a podcast! It’s called “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.” It has been hard to keep this secret, so I’m excited to reveal it at last.

This podcast is one of many launching today on Panoply, a terrific new podcast network.  I’m so excited to be part of it — and in such good company. Other podcasts in the Panoply netwrk come from the New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine/Vulture, The Huffington Post, Inc., Real Simple, Popular Science, Food52,  HBO Documentary Films, and lots of others.  Yowza.

One thing that makes this podcast especially fun is that I’m doing it with my sister the sage, Elizabeth Craft.

When I was asked if I wanted to do a podcast, I thought, “Yes!” but then came the question of, well, what exactly would that podcast be?

As it happens, for years my sister and I have talked about the fact that we should have a radio show or YouTube show together. “It would be so fun! We could discuss all our brilliant musings!” we’d say to each other, but it never seemed possible.

So the minute I started to consider this podcast, I knew: this was the opportunity we’ve been waiting for. And it has been so fun to collaborate with my sister. (By the way, this is a good example of why it’s good to do some pie-in-the-sky dreaming from time to time. That way, you’re more ready for new chances.)

One of the main aims of my happiness projects — in both The Happiness Project and Happier at Home — was to spend more time with my brilliant, hilarious sister, because my relationship with her is one of the most important in my life. And if you read Better Than Before, you’ll discover that my sister is a major figure there — because she is the guinea pig/beneficiary/innocent victim of some of my most determined attempts to shape someone else’s habits. Which succeeded brilliantly in some ways, not so much, in others.

We’ve spent so much (phone) time together working on this podcast, and that will continue. That makes me so happy!

So what will you hear us discuss, 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).

Each week, we give  a “Try This at Home” suggestion, for some easy habit you can try, as part of your ordinary routine, to boost your happiness—something like setting an alarm to signal your bedtime, or using the one-minute rule, to help yourself stay on top of small nagging tasks.

We also suggest questions to help you “Know Yourself Better”—like “Whom do you envy?” and “Are you a Marathoner or a Sprinter in your work style?”—and explore “Happiness Stumbling Blocks,” those small, seemingly insignificant parts of daily life that drag us down—everything from the problem of the Evil Donut-Bringer to the fact that working is one of the most dangerous forms of procrastination.

We “Grill the Guest,” consider “Listener Questions,” and finally, we get even more personal, and each of us either gives ourselves a “Demerit” for a mistake we made that week, that affected our happiness, or awards a “Gold Star” to someone or something that deserves recognition.

We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

Here’s what we discuss in this launch episode:

Try This at Home: The one-minute rule, as a way to keep clutter under control. As noted, I’ve been surprised by the degree to which, for most people, outer order contributes to inner calm.

Know Yourself Better: Are you a satisficer or a maximizer? To read more about this distinction, check out Barry Schwartz’s book, The Paradox of Choice.

Happiness Stumbling Block: The one-coin loophole. You’re trying to keep a habit, but just this once, you’re going to let yourself off the hook. This loophole gets its name from “the argument of the growing heap,” which I learned about in Erasmus’s Praise of Folly.  (I love teaching stories, koans, paradoxes, fables,):

“If ten coins are not enough to make a man rich, what if you add one coin? What if you add another? Finally, you will have to say that no one can be rich unless one coin can make him so.”

There are ten categories of loopholes–all so funny.

Listener Questioner: “Does checking Facebook make people feel happier and more connected, or more lonely and sad?” Elizabeth isn’t even on Facebook; we discuss.

Demerit: I confess that I snuck emailing while talking to my husband on the phone.

Gold Star: Elizabeth gives her treadmill desk a gold star. In Better Than Before, I explain why I gave this gift to her, her very funny reaction, why she loves it so much, etc.  Here’s a photo of it.Elizabeth'sTreadmillDesk


HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: Maybe, like me until fairly recently, you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe.

To listen to this episode, just zip to the bottom of this post and hit the red “play” button.

But if you want 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. It’s very easy, really. Really! Instructions here.

Or for an amusing short how-to video made by Ira Glass of This American Life, click here.

If you listen, tell us what you think! Drop us a line at @gretchenrubin, @elizabethcraft, Facebook, podcast@gretchenrubin.com, or call 774-277-9336.

Be sure to subscribe and listen and subscribe on iTunes so you never miss an episode. And if you enjoyed it, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material.

Happy listening! Or I should say, HAPPIER listening!

  • Kristin Esser

    I adore podcasts and am so happy to be able to add this to my list of “must listens”

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific! that’s so great to hear!

  • Stephanie Lillegard

    This is really great! You guys have a very accessible dynamic with each other. I feel like I’m sitting at a bistro with you. It’s not like we’ve met, but I got invited to the party by a friend. I’m subscribing right now.

    • gretchenrubin

      Awww, thanks! that’s so great!

  • Bonnie

    Fantastic! I love the natural conversation between you and your sister! It brings out another side of you, Gretchen- different than your writing voice and your videos (which I love). Great job!

    • gretchenrubin

      Thank you! that’s so nice to hear.

  • D.

    Would you mind if I did a transcript of this?

    • gretchenrubin

      Well…depends on what you’d do with the transcript. If it’s just for you, sure.

      • It would be great if you could publish transcripts 🙂 I don’t like to watch video’s or listen to content, but I hate missing out on your great content 🙁

      • D.

        It would be for people like Elke, who find audio posts difficult and prefer text, or for people who have issues with auditory processing, or for Hard of Hearing and/or d/Deaf people. So really my question should have been, would you mind if I did a transcript for you to present as an option? But of course I won’t publish a transcript anywhere without your permission! This is your work after all.

        • gretchenrubin

          Hmmm….I’ll have to ponder this.

          Podcasting is so new to me!

          Thanks for the offer…

          • D.

            Let me know if you decide you’d like me to do transcripts for the podcast. The email I’m using to comment (as weird as it may be – I created it for tumblr xD) does work, and I do check it.

          • Lori McKee

            I’m curious about transcripts, too.

            Not so much for this show, as I love listening to the two sisters’ voices, but for some other shows…. is transcription of podcasts a “thing” – a business for some?

  • ginna

    It’s interesting to find out that Elizabeth is a type I diabetic. I have type I also, and her comment about “freedom from French fries” has always resonated with me. They are murder on the blood sugar. Delicious murder.
    I work as a diabetes educator and have enjoyed introducing your ideas on habits to both clients and colleagues.

    • gretchenrubin

      Yes, I write a lot about it in Better Than Before. It’s a real habits challenge.
      Her phrase “Free From French Fries” is one of my favorite lines in the book.

      • ginna

        So glad to hear this! I have already pre-ordered Better Than Before & can barely wait til March 17! Thanks again for the gift of your writing.

  • Barbara

    Just subscribed and am excited! This is great, Gretchen!

  • Megan

    Exciting! I just wanted to point out that there is no “play” button visible on my screen (normal PC). I was lost for a bit, then noticed the “Subscribe to…” box at the top right of the screen. There is an orange circle partially obstructed by the “Preorder now” box, and that must be the play button, because it works! Just pointing that out, in case others are as clueless as me. 🙂
    I listened to the first few seconds and it sounds great, right from the start. I love the fun music! I know I’ll enjoy the rest. 🙂

    • gretchenrubin

      Hmmm…at the bottom of the post, under “Happy listening” you don’t see a red arrow, with the words “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” next to it?

      I see it.

      And the “Preorder box” is partially covering the “Subscribe box”…? Not supposed to be like that.

      I’ll investigate. Thanks!

      • Megan

        Sorry, I don’t see the red arrow. I do see the Happier with Gretchen Rubin box (yellow box with blue circle inside) but it’s at the very top right corner of the post. Under that is the blue iTunes box and dark orange Sound Cloud box, and under that is a light orange box (used to be a circle), but it’s half covered by the Pre-order Now box. I swear I’m not crazy! 🙂 This is my work computer, so maybe some features are disabled. The light orange box leads me to the link on feedburner.com to play the podcast. It works and I can hear the podcast, so it’s all good. I’m sure others will figure it out too. Looking forward to future episodes!

        • gretchenrubin

          You’re not crazy!

  • Vanessa

    Loved the podcast! Very entertaining and useful information. Can’t wait for the next episode.

    • gretchenrubin


  • Guest

    Yay, I love podcasts. I haven’t listened yet but I’m subscribed.

  • Tathu

    Great! I LOVE podcasts and am overloaded with reading for work and study, so this is perfect for me. Thank you. X

    • gretchenrubin


  • Oh this is really exciting! I’m a bit obsessed with podcasts, so I’ll be adding yours to my list!

    • gretchenrubin


  • Molly

    Awesome podcast! Congratulations, and I loved listening to you and your sister. You are a bit like Oscar and Felix when it comes to cleaning, I take it? I cannot wait to hear the next one.

    • gretchenrubin

      That’s right! so nice to hear —

  • Congratulations! Your book was a big influence on my Confessions of a Terrible Husband brand and in starting my podcast with my 5yo son and 3yo daughter to share some real-world parenting fun with the world. I’m a big podcast junkie and super excited that you’ve started podcasting! Listening now and will subscribe and leave a rating and review in iTunes, too!

    Great stuff! Can’t wait to hear more!

    • gretchenrubin

      Excellent, thanks! Good luck with YOUR podcast!

  • Dorothee

    Congratulations on this new concept! It’s absolutely fascinating to hear the two of you talk about all this. Keep going! I really enjoy this as an addition to your books! What I’m missing, though, is a bled between your topics in the podcast. You’re jumping from one part of your concept to the next, changing topics without giving a lead from one topic to the next, which makes it feel like separate little podcasts. I understand that this can be extremely hard when topics are vastly different. Maybe this could be helped by picking out a general topic and discussing it in all sections. As an example: If the chosen topic was ‘sleep’ you could discuss your strategies for good sleep, explain why it is important for happiness, ask whether people are owls or early birds, discuss how the loophole ‘I stay put just another minute’ works, etc. 🙂

  • Penelope Schmitt

    Super venture! I am not looking at anyone else’s comments before I write mine, just forgive me if I am repeating. I love how you two work together. You obviously enjoy each others’ company, share history graciously, and each bring a different voice, attitude and texture to the podcast.

    The casual, conversational approach makes your ideas play out in our minds as what they are: simple, realistic, attainable. And speaking of realistic: I love your gold star and demerit feature. You ‘keep it real’ . . . especially when Gretchen said she loved the idea of a treadmill desk but could not fit it in her NYC apartment. Like your books, Gretchen, the addition of the personal information makes a big difference to convincing a hearer that what you are recommending is something that you sincerely apply to your own life, and that your life is a REAL life. Same for Elizabeth.

    I’ll be making time to sit and listen to this for sure.Congratulations on a great new dimension.

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks – great to hear that it resonated with you!

  • Traci Paris

    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to your inaugural podcast today. I loved the easy conversation between you and your sister, the variety of topics, and the practical “tool you can use.” I subscribed and can’t wait for more episodes!

    • gretchenrubin


      I feel sheepish saying this, but I should’ve said it before – if you enjoy the podcast, please rate and/or review it. It’s a big help to us!

  • Grandma Honey

    I’m SO excited about this. Loved the easy and fun way you and your sister talk. More of your personality comes out in this podcast than did through your videos and books, although I love those too. I’ve already applied your 1 minute rule several times since listening earlier today. Anxiously awaiting your next episode!

    • gretchenrubin


  • Marie

    Oh, I loved this! I love the conversational format. I’m newly inspired, especially from the mention of stumbling blocks and how to just take that one step to build a habit. And I started picking up the house as I was listening. 🙂 I’m looking forward to hearing more from you.

    • gretchenrubin

      Excellent! Very HAPPY to hear that!

      And I’m asking everyone now to rate and/or review…that’s a big help to us.

  • Mimi Gregor

    The two of you have such an easy camaraderie and play off each other so well! It put me in mind of Tom and Ray Magliozzi of Car Talk, which I used to love listening to even though I have no interest in fixing cars. I look forward to your future podcasts.

    • gretchenrubin

      We thought a lot about Car Talk! Which I LOVE. Despite zero interest in cars as well.

      I’m now I’m asking everyone: please rate and/or review the podcast – that’s a big help to us!

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  • Grandma Honey

    Gretchen, can you tell us how we can review your podcast on iTunes or Panoply? I can’t seem to figure this out and I’m sure others would like to review your podcast as well.

    • gretchenrubin

      Yes! I’ll get those instructions up soon. Thanks!

  • Priyanka

    Loved the podcast! 🙂 Having heard so many stories about your sister on your blog, it’s really nice to hear her. The podcast is helpful AND fun – look forward to more!

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks! That’s so nice to hear those kind words.

      I feel sheepish…but please do rate and/or review! Very helpful to us. Thanks!

      • Priyanka

        Done and done! 🙂

  • Angela

    ”Hello Gretchen! Yesterday I finished listening to your “Happier at Home” book, and I loved it very much. Looking forward to listening to your podcast.
    Just curious what happened to your collaboration on a book about Ulysses that you started together with Elizabeth when doing Happiness at Home project? I would love to read the book.

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks! I hope you enjoy it.

      Good news, bad news: Elizabeth’s TV writing got so intense that we had to shelve our Eleusis project, but hope to pick it up again someday. It’s so fun to collaborate.

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  • Jennifer King

    Silly question: When implementing the “One Minute Rule,” how do you decide how many minutes to spend doing things that each take less than a minute? If I did ONLY tasks (around my house) that could be done in under a minute, and kept going until they were all done, it still might be a week long project. 🙂

    Do a set number of these tasks a day? Set a timer and do as many of them as I can in a set number of minutes? Add a few tasks on to an established routine? (Such as brushing my teeth in the morning, or having lunch, or letting the dog out.)

    As you see, I could make up an answer to my own question. Just thought I’d ask the expert first. 🙂 Thanks a bunch, and keep up the great work on the podcast! I left a review on iTunes already.

  • Allison

    Gretchen, you are such an inspiration. I am loving the podcast and am so excited about the next book! Hearing about the one minute rule again, the idea of setting an alarm for bedtime, and freedom from french fries were all things I absolutely needed to hear today. Thank you so much for all you do!

    • gretchenrubin


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  • zen

    I listened to first episode and it was great! The one minute rule already changed my mindset about cleaning my house. And I’m embracing the way I make decisions. Also, the “one coin” thing made me think that every little bit counts so I’m proud of myself for not drinking just that one soda etc… great job and thank you thank you 🙂

    • gretchenrubin


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  • cuteynfatal

    I echo everyone’s comments the interplay between you and Elizabeth. But most of all, I like it that you don’t take forever to set-up the topic. A little exposition is fine. But nobody subscribes to hear teasers. Your podcast has a nice balance – which shows respect for your listeners.

  • So I just wanted to let you know that I listened to this episode today during my run and I loved it….and loved the abstinence/temperance quote…..I wanted to listen to another post, too, but decided to save it so that I listen to one per run to give me something else to look forward to on my runs. I have to say, that abstinence does not work for me….because it initially does seem either, but then builds up and leads to a giant binge that negates everything. So glad you are doing this.

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  • LLW

    I’m happy I found your Podcast. My job allows the use of headphones so I pulled out our old iPod. I’m not up-to-date with what’s available in the social/tech world so a friend suggested Podcast. I picked a couple from each genre and yours has become one of my favorites. The topics are invigorating and I love the rapport you and your sister share. Thank you!

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific! Great to hear that you’re enjoying it.

  • Leslie DuBose Bennis

    I love the one minute rule! I have to say that I have been using it for years, ever since I heard Meryl Streep during an Oscar acceptance speech, thank her mother for teaching her the value of cleaning as you go. I don’t know why that stuck with me the way it did, but I realized in that moment that if I see a smudge on a window or light switch I must clean it right away instead of waiting until the weekend or some more convenient time and my home has remained clean at ALL times since! My friend however, who despises cleaning does not get this concept at all. I have tried and tried to explain it to her but I am just not getting through.

  • Jozzy Steffen

    Fantastic! I absolutely love this – Upon hearing about the stumbling blocks, I decided while I listen to you two, to get up and do some stretching; something I haven’t done for a couple of weeks! You actually gave me the motivation to move today (I had recently found out I have a serious lung disease). You two are a breath of fresh, happy air! Thank you – I will definitely recommend to others and be a loyal listener – now that I’ve been introduced to your podcast!

  • Diane

    Reading the book and just found out about the podcasts. I am taking them in order, so even though I am a little late out of the gate, I’ll get caught up. Loved your thoughts on satisficer or maximizer. I was listening to you, thinking “I tend to be a satisficer”, but I was in line at Starbucks where I was going to order a Venti drink because it was my free birthday drink. It made me stop and think why was I mazimizing now…because it was free? Like the extra calories wouldn’t count just because it was a birthday drink? If the grandi size is all I usually drink, why not let that satisfic for now? It was a little light bulb moment about my habits around “free” food. Thanks for the new thought!

  • J.

    Your podcast makes me want to read your book and it’s the first time I’ve heard about it 🙂 (right now, it’s pretty much unknown in my country). If it’s as good as the podcast, I’ll probably like it very, very much :).

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  • Solesplendente

    Gretchen, Elizabeth! Thank you so much for doing this! My friends and I formed a habit group, and we all are listening to your podcast and trying, well, just to be happier! Love from Kazakhstan

    • gretchenrubin


  • Jen

    I think this first episode is by far one of the best. I’ve listened to every episode, and keep coming back to this one periodically to listen to it again and again. It is so rich! The 1-minute rule, the one coin loophole and maximizer vs satisfiser are all here. Moments from these episodes have become daily mantras for me: For eating and exercise motivation I am constantly thinking 1 glass of wine by 1 glass of wine I will lose weight, 1 trip to the gym at a time I’ll get in shape. The “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” has completely decreased my stress at work. As a teacher, I feel pressure for my classroom and materials to be Pinterest worthy (colorful, cute, perfect handwriting) but I’ve recently started saying over and over “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” and cut my classroom prep time by a 1/3rd. And everyone still thinks my classroom looks great! Thank you for the great tips in this episode. They truly have made my daily life happier!!

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  • Melissa MacIsaac

    OMG I do the Loophole thing with money as well… oh it’s only $5 what difference does that make in the grand scheme of things. I LOVE LOVE this podcast episode… it’s 100% true and hearing this while I work away… THANK YOU for this Gretchen

    • gretchenrubin

      Great to hear it strikes a chord with you!