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Podcast 161: Embrace the Cheese, Try a “Book Sharing” Club, and What Would You Do with a Magic Hour?


Update: For Elizabeth, pilot excitement continues! If you want to hear more about the highs and lows of the pilot process, or you're generally interested in how to stay happier during a time of intense stress, listen to the discussion over on Happier in Hollywood.

Try This at Home: Embrace the cheese. In Elizabeth's case, Valentine's Day.

Happiness Hack: Our listener Vanessa suggests that instead of a traditional book club, try a "book sharing" club, where people meet to discuss and suggest books that they love -- but there's no obligation to have read a particular book before the meeting.

If you want to get my one-pager on "Reading Better Than Before," it's here. The novel I mention is Michael Frayn's Sweet Dreams.

Know Yourself Better: What would you do with a Magic Hour, that gave you an extra hour in your day? Elizabeth would do Pilates. I'd read more.

You can read about the research I mention, about the time that parents spend each day with children, in this piece in The Economist, "Parents now spend twice as much time with their children as 50 years ago."

Listener Question: Dawn asks whether it's a bigger happiness boost to plan a "standardized vacation" (an idea we discussed in episode 158) with friends you already see and enjoy, or with friends you never see, who would require nagging?

Gretchen's Demerit: I keep falling behind with my day-to-day tasks. (Repeat demerit.)

Elizabeth's Gold Star: Elizabeth's friend Alexa inspired Elizabeth, Adam and Jack to be "tourists in their own hometown" (a Try This at Home that we discussed in episode 15); they went to Ripley's, the Wax Museum, and the Guinness World Records Museum, and had a great time.


1. Speaking of book groups -- or office groups, spirituality book groups, Bible study groups, and the like -- if you'd discussion guides for any of my books, you can get them here.

2. We talked about the fun of wearing your favorite color. If you love color as much as I do, and if you love to color as an activity, you can request a free sheet from The Happiness Project coloring book.

I do a weekly live show on Facebook called: “Ask Gretchen Rubin Live.” Usually, I do it on Mondays at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

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