Tag Archives: interview

Can’t Get Enough of Podcasts? Here’s a List of Interviews.

My sister and I are having so much fun with our new podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin. We’ve had more than 4.2 million downloads, just since March! Zoikes. Thanks, listeners.

And I’m lucky, because in addition to doing that podcast, I’ve also had the chance to be the guest on many other people’s podcasts — which has been terrific. It’s been fascinating to get the chance to talk to so many interesting people.

It’s been an education, too, to see how different people, and different podcasts, approach my material and the podcast format. I’m always intrigued by the different directions that the conversations go in — and I often find myself taking notes as the interview is unfolding, because I don’t want to forget some important new point that the interviewer has brought to my attention.

If you’re thinking, “Gretchen, listening to your podcast isn’t nearly enough for me, I want to hear an interview with you on another podcast,” well, thank you! Here’s a menu to choose from.  As you’ll see, they cover a wide range of perspectives, so you can listen to a discussion focused on health, entrepreneurship, creativity, productivity, general happiness…


I’m sure I’ve forgotten to add some terrific podcasts to this list.

Speaking of podcasts, what are some of your favorite podcasts? There is so much terrific material to listen to, it can feel overwhelming. But exciting.

5 Things Oprah Taught Me about How to Give a Good Interview.

One of the biggest thrills in my professional life was being interviewed by Oprah herself, for her amazing Super Soul Sunday series. Yowza!

The interview airs on November 8, at 7 p.m EST/PT on OWN (find your station here.) Please watch. I’ll be live-tweeting while it airs.

Doing the interview was exciting on many levels, but among other things, I learned a lot about the interview process. Oprah is the master, and it’s always a rare privilege to learn from a true master.

1. Oprah was extremely prepared and referred to my work several times.

This is an obvious point for an interviewer, but still it was a good reminder of how important that is, to the interviewee.

2. She really listened — it felt like a real conversation, a real exchange.

I know from experience that when doing an interview, it’s all too easy to refer to a list of questions, and to move to the next question no matter how someone answers.

3. She talked herself.

There’s a tricky balance for interviewers — you don’t want to talk too much yourself, but perhaps counter-intuitively, if you talk too little, an interview can fall flat.

4. She made me feel like I surprised and intrigued her.

When I’m interviewing someone, I want to have a moment of genuine connection and learning. That often means surprising or puzzling another person. Oprah has heard it all, and she’s read my books, yet she made me feel like I was saying things that genuinely intrigued her.

5. She was in control.

The first time I went on the Today show, to talk about my book Power Money Fame Sex, to be interviewed by Matt Lauer, I was so nervous. An established writer said, “Don’t worry about this interview. He’s the best at that job, and he’s the best prepared — this will be one of your easiest interviews.” And that was true. (You can watch the 2000 interview here. I can’t bear to watch, so have never actually seen it!)

Same thing with Oprah. A friend who had been on Super Soul Sunday said, “Relax. Oprah is the master, she’s the best, so just think about being yourself and answering from the heart. Don’t feel like you have to be in charge of the conversation.” And that was true. I really enjoyed the conversation — so much, that I forgot to be nervous.

I was also a lot calmer, because my sister Elizabeth was with me — that made the whole adventure much more relaxed and fun. Here we are taking a selfie before leaving the hotel to go to the recording. Note Elizabeth’s excellent hair — no hair or make-up for me yet.

I hope you’ll watch! Sunday, November 8, OprahElizabethandGretchenSelfieHotelOWN channel, at 7:00 ET/PT. Be sure to join me on Twitter during the show.

Agree, Disagree? “Completion Is Powerful.”

Happiness interview: Lewis Howes.

I got to know Lewis Howes when mutual friends put us in touch, and I got to be a guest on his terrific and very popular podcast, The School of Greatness, which is all about what makes great people great. You can listen to our conversation here.

His new book, The School of Greatness: A Real-World Guide to Living Bigger, Loving Deeper, and Leaving a Legacy, has just hit the shelves. The subtitle says it all! Fun facts: Lewis is a former professional football player and two-sport All-American and a current USA Men’s National Handball Team athlete. Yowza.

Lewis interviewed me, and I was eager to interview him, to hear his thoughts on habits, happiness, and related subjects.

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

Lewis: I feel so good when I meditate every morning and evening. I only meditate for about 13 minutes, and use the same guided meditation every day, but it makes a big difference for me. I’m not perfect at it, but it helps me stay on top of my emotions and manage overwhelm when I do it consistently.  I think some type of focused breathing and visualizing what you want your life to be on a daily basis is extremely healthy.

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

Sports were my life growing up and through college, so at 18 I knew the value of a schedule and commitment to it to see results. What I didn’t realize then was that the most powerful habits are the ones that you choose to form and stick to when no one else is holding you accountable. It took me a while to figure this out after I was done playing professional sports, but I was able to eventually pull on my previous experiences and re-create some solid habits from sports into my adult life.

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

Yes. When I get into something new and exciting (like a new sport or hobby), I get INTO IT. It’s all I want to do. So I won’t let myself get a puppy (even though I REALLY want a French bulldog) because I know I would get nothing done. I would just play with my dog all day.

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

Working out daily is a must. In fact, just taking a break and getting outside at least once a day is a must. That is my foundation and lets me sort out my thoughts and get my emotions in balance.  Lately I’ve been playing a lot of frisbee in the afternoon for a break. Getting my inbox empty at the end of the day is something I believe in because completion is powerful and having things pile on you becomes overwhelming. I’m not perfect at it, but it’s so worth it to keep emails manageable. I also love going to the movies once or twice a week just to give myself a break and think about something besides everything on my plate.

Have you ever managed to gain a challenging healthy habit—or to break an unhealthy habit? If so, how did you do it?

When I was first getting successful in business (creating great financial results), I was working at my laptop for 16+ hour days and eating like I was still playing football. So I packed on the pounds. My family started calling me “Flewis” for Fat Lewis. I realized it was time to corral my sugar addiction (because I LOVE sweets, especially ice cream). I cut out sugar and gluten for 28 days and lost 28 pounds. Ever since then I’ve been able to keep my sugar addiction under control – thanks to a green juice every morning.

Would you describe yourself as an Upholder, a Questioner, a Rebel, or an Obliger?

I’m a Questioner. If someone tells me to do something, or there’s a rule I’m supposed to follow, and it doesn’t make sense, I’m not going to do it. I’ll find a better way.

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

Being on planes and away from home a lot (especially this year with my launching my book and touring for it) it’s hard to keep a solid sleep and workout schedule, but I still make a big effort. I have to be in my best shape to pull competing with the USA national team, running my business, and having fun.

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.?

Yes, when I moved to NYC and realized my face was a fat as a marshmallow, I gave myself the 28 day challenge for no sugar and green juice, and it changed the game for me!  It was so challenging, but so worth it!

Do you embrace habits or resist them?

I love them once they’re made, but it’s super hard for me to make new ones. And if I have bad habits, it’s a big deal to change them. That’s why I surround myself with people who are good at what I’m not great at.

Podcast 36: Do You Always Ask “Why?” Maybe You’re a Questioner.

It’s time for the next installment of  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.” (Remember, if you’d like to get an email alert every time we release a new episode, you can sign up here.)

Update:  Elizabeth, such a good sister, gives a plug for my book, Better Than Before — soon to be out in paperback. We also talk about Christmas Boot Camp, Dog-Car-Riding Boot Camp, and a great unpacking tip. Also, eggs. We’ve heard from so many people about eggs! My daughters and I are now eating lots of hard-boiled eggs.

Today is the second in the series of four episodes that we’re devoting to the Four Tendencies.  In last week’s episode, we talked about the Upholder Tendency; this week, it’s Questioner. To help shed light on the Questioner Tendency, we talk to brilliant agent Christy Fletcher.

To take the Four Tendencies quiz, go here. Find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel.

Try This at Home: Think about a few people in your life, identify their Tendencies, and try to put that knowledge to use. Understanding a Tendency can make it easier to manage conflict, come to agreement, and convince others of your point of view.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Questioners:  As Christy points out, as with all the Tendencies, the strengths and the weaknesses of the Questioners are the flip sides of each other.

Striking Pattern of Questioners: Questioners can get overwhelmed or paralyzed by their desire to get their questions answered — or they can overwhelm or annoy others with their desire for more information. We discuss how Questioners can get the benefits of their Tendency, and deal constructively with the downsides. Christy has some specific suggestions that work for her.

Christy’s Try This at Home: Say “yes” to something that makes you uncomfortable.

Listener Question: “As a Questioner, I love to research and will spend a lot of time questioning my own decisions. One of my biggest challenges is ‘decision paralysis.’ How do Questioners overcome decision paralysis?” To read more about the maximizer vs. satisficer distinction, which we briefly discuss, read here, or in Better Than Before, in the chapter on the Strategy of Distinctions.

Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth hasn’t been exercising as much as she wants to do.

Gretchen’s Gold Star: Jamie told our friend, “We’ve all done it.” Exactly the right thing to say.

Call for comments, questions, observations!

We’re spending four weeks talking about my Four Tendencies framework for human nature. We’ve already had many thought-provoking responses, but we want more.


Please, send in your questions and comments by voicemail, email, etc.

Happier with Gretchen Rubin, Episode #36

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

Check out The Great Courses for a wide variety of fascinating courses. Special offer for our listeners: go to thegreatcourses.com/happier to order from eight of their bestselling courses, including The Everyday Gourmet, and get up to 80% off. Limited time.

Also check out Smith and Noble, the solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and a free in-home consultation. Limited time.

We love hearing from listeners

Tell us — Did you try to identify the Tendencies of some people around you? Did it help you deal with those people — or not? If you text me at 66866 and enter the word “tendencies,” I’ll add you to a list to be notified when my handbook is ready.

There’s lots of ways to share your responses or questions:

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

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.)

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

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!

Is There a Line of Poetry that’s Become Your Mantra?

Interview: Rachel Kelly.

An old friend told me about about Rachel Kelly’s memoir, Black Rainbow: How Words Healed Me: My Journey Through Depression. In it, she describes her struggle with depression, and how she was able to use her love of poetry to help her during this time.

In this memoir, she recounts her experiences, as well as the poetry that moved her so deeply.

For me, the opposite of happiness is ordinary unhappiness; depression is its own third, urgent category. But happiness, unhappiness, and depression are all worth studying, for insights into one brings insights into the others. I was eager to hear what Rachel had to say about happiness and good habits.

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

Rachel: A habit that consistently makes me happier is to recite inspirational quotations in my head, mantra-style. My favorites include “My strength is made perfect in weakness” from Corinthians in the Bible, as well as a line from a poem by George Herbert: “Love bids me welcome,” which reminds me to keep returning back to a place of love and compassion.

My memoir Black Rainbow has fifty poems in it; all full of great inspirational lines that have helped me change the narrative in my head and feel less alone.

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

I now know that mind and body are intimately linked. A healthy body helps cultivate a healthy mind, and vice versa. If I’m mentally tense, then I’m physically tense. Equally, if I can become physically relaxed, it helps me to become mentally relaxed. The two are inseparable.

When I was younger I didn’t give much attention to my physical health because I didn’t feel as if I needed to. Now I know that if my head is a mess, it’s sometimes best to work at it the other way round by trying to optimize the way my body feels and functions. Physical exercise plus breathing and relaxation exercises are all crucial healthy habits that I didn’t previously recognize.

Do you have any habit that continually gets in the way of your happiness?  

Eating sugar continually gets in the way of my happiness because it makes me feel physically lethargic and low after an initial “buzz.” I turn to it when I’m sad and think I need a treat; just as when I was little, I was given sweets to make me feel better.

Have you ever managed to gain a challenging healthy habit – or to break an unhealthy habit? If so, how did you do it?

Yes, I would describe myself as a recovering Obliger. I have managed to become a bit less of a people-pleaser and am now better at listening to my own needs.

However, I do also try to put my tendency to oblige to good use. I have found the concept of “external accountability” really useful – thank you Gretchen!

So in order to stay fit for example, I have committed to doing an exercise class with my husband — so I have to show up because he’s expecting me there.

Another tool that’s been fundamental to growth and change has been learning to be more compassionate with myself and to stop pushing myself so hard. When self-criticism sets in, I now imagine treating myself as I would one of my own children. I ask myself: would I be so hard on a small child? On my own darling daughter? Saying she had to show up at every function and do whatever it takes to make everyone else happy? No, I would not.

Would you describe yourself as an Upholder, a Questioner, a Rebel or an Obliger

This is such an easy question for me. My default setting for a long, long time has been “Obliger.” I was born an Obliger. I imagine that when I was a baby I would have said to my mom: “No, really, only feed me if the timing suits you,” and “Don’t worry – I’m fine with a dirty diaper.” I always aim to please.

I once went to the screening of a friend’s film, waited for the credits to roll and then let myself out through the emergency exit to go to another friend’s party, because I didn’t feel as if I could let either of them down. To top it all off I rushed home for dinner because I had promised my daughter that I wouldn’t be out that evening.

I’m such a people-pleaser that I even keep score of how many people I manage to please; it’s very much a number’s game. Each time I feel as if I’ve given another person what they need from me I get a high — a rush.

Thank goodness, I’ve begun to change. Very slowly I’m edging towards becoming more of an “Upholder” and more able to respond to inner, as well as outer expectations.

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? 

I experienced a lightning bolt moment when I first identified myself as a people-pleaser: so many things fell into place in my mind. This was thanks to a conversation with my therapist and was also informed by reading Better Than Before, which had a big impact on me. [That’s so nice to hear!]

I realized that being such a compulsive Obliger had literally almost killed me. Trying to do too much, please too many people, working long hours while raising my young children, led to serious depressive episodes that made me want to take my own life.

Do you embrace habits or resist them? 

Like many people, I’m a great one for embracing new habits with enthusiasm for a few weeks, and then my commitment begins to wane. But over time, some good habits have stuck, luckily, which is actually the subject of my next book – Walking on Sunshine: 52 Small Steps to Happiness.