5 Things Making Me Happy


In his essay “Henri Beyle,” Lytton Strachey wrote, “Perhaps the best test of a man’s intelligence is his capacity for making a summary.” I don’t think I agree with this conclusion, but I do find that the exercise of summarizing big ideas is very clarifying, and also surprisingly creative.

For that reason, I love an aphorism, and I also love a manifesto. In episode 402 of the Happier podcast, we talked about the value of writing a manifesto.

That discussion got me thinking about the fact that many manifestos are presented in very visually arresting ways—remember the Holstee Manifesto? I’ve written many manifestos myself—you can see one of mine here—but I’ve always written them as plain, bulleted lists. It hit me: writing a manifesto is a way to MANIFEST (“display” “demonstrate”) our ideas, so it makes sense that a manifesto would have striking visual elements.

Lately, in my visits to the Met, I’ve been visiting the Tudors exhibit, and seeing this breathtaking page, Acts of the Apostles and the Apocalypse, fired my imagination. It made me want to create something in this style—but what? Now I think I’ll try combining text, images, and symbols in boxed panels to present a manifesto.

What do you think? Have you ever written a manifesto?


Gretchen Rubin

5 Things Making Me Happy


Nothing makes me happier than discovering a new, useful word. Here’s a word for something that I’ve known about for years, but never knew that a term existed for it: “camel case,” also known as “bicapitalization.” That’s when a capital letter is used to begin the second word in a compound phrase or name. “WordPerfect,” “iPhone,” “eBay,” “FedEx,” but not “Myspace.”


In my book about the five senses, I have a theme of “looking for the overlooked.” One thing I’ve been trying to do is to pay attention to often-overlooked areas such as stairwells, forgotten corners, or ceilings. I loved looking at the images of these gorgeous ceilings from around the world—each is spectacular so would be hard to miss.


A friend told me about Nikon’s Small World photography competition. I love miniatures, and this competition takes smallness to an entirely new level. It covers “photomicrography,” i.e., photos taken through a microscope. What is more beautiful than the structure of nature?


I’ve long been fascinated by the subject of color. One dark chapter in our pursuit of gorgeous color was the use of poisonous arsenic to create the color green in bookbinding, garments—and wallpaper. I was fascinated by this article about the book Shadows from the Walls of Death. In 1874, after the dangers of arsenic wallpaper were discovered, Dr. R. M. Kedzie published a collection of swatches of the poisonous paper. Only about a hundred copies of this dangerous book were made, and only six remain, because most recipients destroyed their copies out of fear.


More accessibility updates! We’ve added transcripts to the show notes of our podcast episodes. To take a look, go to episode 403 of Happier with Gretchen Rubin and click the “+” beside “Transcript” to read the transcript. Making the show more accessible makes me happy.


  • We’re bringing our popular Habit Jump-Starts to the Happier app, starting with tips and strategies to help you prepare for and enjoy the holidays. Each day on the app’s home screen, you’ll find a new, easy, actionable prompt to plan ahead, check items off your to-do list, and find ways to be present. This new tool is free to use, with or without a subscription.

Episodes and Articles

A Little Happier

A Little Happier

From Two Centuries Ago, 19 Tips for Happiness



5 Ways Keeping a Journal Boosts Happiness

Happier Podcast


403: Save Someone’s Life, Preserve Friendships, Try Packing Cubes, and Does It Matter If You’re Late?


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The most important step is the first step.


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Every Friday, Gretchen Rubin shares 5 things that are making her happier, asks readers and listeners questions, and includes exclusive updates and behind-the-scenes material.