Tag Archives: literature

Podcast 38: Do You Hate Being Told What to Do? Maybe You’re a Rebel.

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

Update: For our upcoming Very Special Episode, Holiday edition, we want to hear from you: What is your Try This at Home for staying happier, healthier, and more productive over the holidays? It can be a challenge. So let us know what works for you — for dealing with family, for traveling, for managing temptations, anything. We can all learn from each other.

Today is the fourth in the series of four episodes that we’re devoting to the Four Tendencies.  In last week’s episode, we talked about the Obliger Tendency; this week, it’s Rebel.

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

Try This at Home: Try to come up with a motto for your Tendency.  Fun!

Strengths and Weaknesses of Rebels:  How to identify and take advantage of the strengths, and counter-balance the weaknesses, of the Tendency.

Striking Pattern of Rebels: Whenever a Rebel is in a long-term relationship, whether romantically or at work, it’s almost always with an Obliger.

Another striking pattern: While Rebels want choice and freedom, some Rebels are drawn to areas of high regulation, such as the military, the police, and the clergy.

Listener Questions: “What are some strategies to use if you have a Rebel child?” “How do Rebels manage their inclination to rebel against themselves?” Plus a Rebel weighs in about how she sticks to her good habits.

The Rebel author I mention is Geoff Dyer. I highly recommend his book Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with D. H. Lawrence as a self-portrait of a Rebel.

Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth needs to get her car serviced.

Gretchen’s Gold Star: I’ve started a new habit: on my Facebook Page, each Sunday evening, I post a photo of all the books I’ve read that week. I love to shine a spotlight on books, and I get a lot of satisfaction from thinking, “Look at what I’ve read.”

Call for comments, questions, observations!

We’ve spent four weeks talking about my Four Tendencies framework for human nature. It has been fascinating. We’ve had so many terrific responses that we’re planning a round-up episode. So if you have more questions or comments, send them in!

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

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Happier Podcast #38: Are you a rebel?

We love hearing from listeners

Tell us — did you come up with a motto for your Tendency?

If you’re intrigued by the Four Tendencies, and want to be notified when my handbook on the subject hits the shelves, text me at 66866 and enter the word “tendencies,” I’ll add you to a list to be notified when it’s ready. You can also sign up here.

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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!

Revealed! Book Club Choices for November. Excellent Reading.

First, a moment of self-book-promotion — feel free to skip.

I’m excited, because the Better Than Before Day-by-Day Journal just hit the shelves. Part resource, part tool, part keepsake — it will help you change your habits. To watch a short video where I show the book and describe its design, go here.

Now, for the recommendations! Because nothing boosts happiness more than a great book, each month, I suggest:

· one outstanding book about happiness or habits

· one outstanding work of children’s or young-adult literature–I have a crazy passion for kidlit

· one eccentric pick–a widely admired and excellent book that I love, yes, but one that may not appeal to everyone

Shop at IndieBound, BN.com, or Amazon (I’m an affiliate), or your favorite local bookstore. Or my favorite, visit the library! Drumroll…


A book about happiness, good habits, or human nature

Plant Dreaming Deep by May Sarton (a journal)

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.


An outstanding children’s book:

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. (I was astonished to realize that I haven’t yet recommended this book, one of my all-time favorites. Also the inspiration for some of the best writing I’ve ever done in my life, on the last page of Happier at Home.)

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.


An eccentric pick:

Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind : The Life and Letters of an Irish Zen Saint by Maura O’Halloran

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

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

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

In any event, I assure you that, for all the books I choose, I love them; I’ve read them at least twice if not many times; and they’re widely admired.

If you read last month’s recommendations…what did you think?

And please, send me your recommendations! Recently a reader told me about a a Noel Streatfield book that I’d somehow missed, and another reader gave me many science-fiction entries for my library list. I love getting suggestions.

Revealed! Book Club Choices for October. Such Great Books.

Pardon this moment of book self-promotion: Did I happen to mention that I can now reveal the jacket of the paperback for Better Than Before? Oh right, maybe I did. Anyway, here it is again!

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

· one outstanding book about happiness or habits

· one outstanding work of children’s or young-adult literature–I have a crazy passion for kidlit

· one eccentric pick–a widely admired and excellent book that I love, yes, but one that may not appeal to everyone

Shop at IndieBound, BN.com, or Amazon (I’m an affiliate), or your favorite local bookstore. Or visit (more…)

When Did You Experience the Truest Feeling of Joy You’ve Ever Known?

“To this day, the truest feeling of joy I have ever known is the door opening at a friend’s house to reveal my father — in his tweed overcoat– there to rescue me from a bad play date.”

— Lena Dunham, Not That Kind of Girl

This rang true for me, because I have to admit: Of my whole life, one of my most purely joyous memories is when a student came to our high school chemistry lab to tell us that field hockey practice was cancelled for the day, because the sprinklers had been running all night, so our cleats would have torn up the grass. I was so happy.

Do you have a memory like that — of such great happiness, over such a small thing?

Do You Ever Get the “Cold Fish Dying in Your Stomach Feeling?”

“It’s the cold fish dying in your stomach feeling. You try to forget about it, but as soon as you do, the fish starts flopping around under your heart and reminds you that something truly horrible is happening.

“[Great-grandmother] Jiko felt like that when she learned that her only son was going to be killed in the war. I know, because I told her about the fish in my stomach, and she said she knew exactly what I was talking about, and that she had a fish, too, for many years. In fact, she said she had lots of fishes, some that were small like sardines, some that were medium-sized like carp, and other ones that were as big as a bluefin tuna, but the biggest fish of all belonged to Haruki #1, and it was more like the size of a whale. She also said that after she became a [Buddhist] nun and renounced the world, she learned how to open up her heart so that the whale could swim away.”

–Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being

I really loved this novel–in fact, I loved it so much that I (more…)