A Few Things I’ve Learned During My Current Book Tour.

Audience at Gretchen book tour

Some writers don’t like to leave their desks, but I love the chance to meet face to face with readers of my books, listeners of the “Happier” podcast, people to whom I’m connected on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook — I get so much energy, and gain so many insights and ideas, from meeting with people in real life.

I still have several stops on my book tour, but so far, here are some things I’ve learned.

1. It really is easy accidentally to trigger the spirit of resistance in a Rebel.

When Elizabeth and I did our meet-up in L.A., I noticed that we had only one Rebel in the crowd. I mentioned that to the Rebel, and she said, “Oh, I can tell you why.” I was flabbergasted. “Why?” I asked. “Because the meet-up was from 5-7:00 p.m. All day long, I’ve been struggling with that. I wanted to come meet you two, but I hated the idea of showing up at a particular time.” Gosh, I know better, having studied the Four Tendencies! My message should have said something more like “My flight lands midday, so Elizabeth and I be at the restaurant in the late afternoon, around 5-7:00 p.m. If you have the inclination and want to hang out, stop by.”

2. I need to adapt my Four Tendencies quiz for children.

At practically every book event I’ve done so far, someone in the audience has asked for this. One million people have taken the adult quiz! Once the dust settles from the book tour, I will write the kids’ quiz. If you have ideas for scenarios and questions appropriate for children, please let me know. Parents, teachers, coaches, instructors, and health-care professionals have already sent me many great suggestions, but I’d love to have more.

3. Every book signing has a theme name.

My signings are usually pretty large, and I’ve noticed that once a line is of a certain size, one name always comes up most often — not always a name that I’d expect to be super-popular. The last theme name? Kristen/Kristin. It’s fun for me to try to identify the theme name.

4. Airplane reading is the best reading.

Last Thursday night, I did a fun event at Books Inc. in San Francisco with the brilliant Kim Scott. Years ago, Kim told me, “Whenever I travel for work, I read for fun. Work travel is my time to read novels.” I thought this was a great rule, decided to copy her, and so I get a tremendous amount of pleasure reading done during a book tour. Most recently, I re-read Marilynne Robinson’s Home. Such a beautiful book. It does demand close attention, and planes are perfect for that, with the quiet, stillness, and lack of distractions.

5. People really understand the Four Tendencies.

I have to say, it surprises me how obvious the four types are, once you learn about them. These aren’t subtle distinctions in human nature! I see them everywhere! (Side note: How is it possible that I’m the first one to recognize this pattern? As far as I can tell, I am.) But I thought — well, maybe they’re obvious to me, because after all I’ve spent the last few years obsessing about this framework. But no! People understand them thoroughly, even from a brief description in my book talk. During the question-and-answer periods, people astonish me with the sophistication, subtlety, and originality they show in their grasp of the Four Tendencies. I often rush back from these events and take notes on what people have said.




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