Book Club Choices Revealed! Three Terrific Books to Read in May.

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! In fact, for my second episode of “A Little Happier” — the new 2-minute mini-episodes of my podcast I’m doing each week — I talked about how much I love going to the library. Listen here.

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.  Drumroll…

A book about happiness, good habits, or human nature:

First Impressions: What You Don’t Know About How Others See You by Ann Demarais and Valerie White

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

An outstanding children’s book:

Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

An eccentric pick:

Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris by Leanne Shapton

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.

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

Episode 63: The Problem of Passwords, Why Rewards Can Be Dangerous, and Does Elizabeth Have to Write These Thank-You Notes?

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

Update: Big news! (At least for me.) I’m doing weekly live videos on my Facebook Page about the podcast. I talk to viewers about questions, comments, suggestions. Any episode; don’t worry if you’re not caught up. You can watch the most recent one here or my video with our producer Henry, look here. If you want to join the conversation live, I’m doing them on Tuesdays at 1:00 pm Eastern. Join in! It’s so fun to have a chance to talk to listeners and viewers.

Try This at Home: In episode 61, we asked listeners for answers to Emily’s question about how to manage online passwords.  The answer: have a strategy.

Better Than Before Habit Strategy: The Strategy of Rewards is a very, very tricky strategy to use. People often mis-use rewards when they’re trying to create a habit.

If you want the checklist for habit change, it’s here, at the bottom of the list.

Listener Question: Nine-year-old Isobel asks “How can we be happier while taking tests?” The book I mention is Kelly McGonigal’s The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It.

Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth didn’t write thank-you notes after Jack’s birthday party. I contest this demerit!

Gretchen’s Gold Star: I used the Strategy of Scheduling to work on my Four Tendencies quiz. (You can take it here to find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel.)

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

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.

Check out Smith and Noble, the solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 25% off window treatments and a free in-home design consultation.

Also check out Casper, the online retailer of premium mattresses. Pay a fraction of what you’d pay in the store, get free delivery, and returns within a 100 day period. Get $50 off a mattress purchase by using the promo code Casper.com/happier.

Happier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #63

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!

A Little Happier: Don’t Let the Perfect Be the Enemy of the Good.

It’s a Secret of Adulthood — admittedly, cribbed from Voltaire: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Be Gretchen! Just in time, I remembered not to let the perfect, fantasy Gretchen crowd out the actual, real Gretchen (who really dislikes making those kinds of plans).

Along the same lines, I remind myself that the 20-minute walk I take is better than the 3-mile run I never start; having people over for take-out is better than never having people to an elegant dinner party.

Have you faced this, in your own experience — where the perfect can interfere with the good?

 

Thanks, as always, to my terrific sponsor: Audible. Audible has more than 180,000 audio-books and spoken-word audio products. Get a free 30-day trial at Audible.com/happier.  Your first book is free!

In fact, for your free book, you can choose one of my books, Better Than Before or The Happiness Project. I’m the reader for both of them.

GretchenReadingAudiobookHere’s a photo of me recording Better Than Before. That pillow? It’s to muffle “stomach noises.” Sheesh!

Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

 

Happier listening!

Agree, Disagree? “The Sweetest Things Become the Most Bitter by Excess.”

“The sweetest things become the most bitter by excess.”

— Democritus

Do you agree?

Some examples that spring to my mind: sugar, caffeine, the internet, TV, one-click shopping, ambition…and of course, habit.

I love and embrace habits, which is why I wrote my book Better Than Before, but I recognize the danger of habits. Their sweetness can become bitter by excess. And I say that even as an Upholder.

Podcast 62: Don’t Accumulate Excessive Amounts of Things, It’s Tough When Worlds Collide, and I Fail to Visit the Park.

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

Update: Back in episode 27, in late August, I gave myself a happiness demerit for not really having a “summer.” I’ve always wanted to have a summer experience (even apart from family vacation) that’s different from the rest of the year. As promised, Elizabeth checked in with me, to ask if I have a vision for the upcoming summer. I need to apply the kind of approach that I used with such success in The Happiness Project. If you have any ideas, let me know!

Try This at Home: Don’t accumulate excessive amounts of things. Soy sauce packets, freebie mugs, egg cartons, rubber bands, etc.

 Happiness Stumbling Block: It’s tough when worlds collide.  For instance, Elizabeth felt very stressed out when Henry and I showed up on set while she was working on that TV show, to record our Very Special Episode 60.

Listener Question: “I’m a Questioner married to an Obliger. How do I make sure that I help make sure that his desires get met?” To learn about Questioners and Obligers (and Upholders and Rebels), go here.

Gretchen’s Demerit: I didn’t visit the flowering trees in Central Park. Again.

Elizabeth’s Gold Star
: Elizabeth gives a gold star to Adam for holding down the home front — without complaint — while she was in New York City for several weeks.

Remember, if you want to request bookplates or signature cards for a mother in your life, to make the gift of a book more special for Mothers’ Day — or if you want a bookplate or signature card for yourself! — you can request them here.

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

Check out Smith and Noble, the solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 25% off window treatments and a free in-home design consultation.

Also check out Casper, the online retailer of premium mattresses.  Pay a fraction of what you’d pay in the store, get free delivery, and returns within a 100 day period.  Get $50 off a mattress purchase by visiting Casper.com/happier, promo code HAPPIER.

 
Happier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #62

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!