Podcast 223: Why You Should Step Off a Cliff, an Interview with Writer Ross Gay, and a Tribute to Someone Dear to My Family.


UPDATE: Elizabeth got some disappointing news: her ABC TV show The Fix won't be coming back for a second season. To hear more about how she and her writing partner Sarah Fain are dealing with this news, listen to their podcast, Happier in Hollywood.

Remember: Book club! We can't wait to discuss the memoir Small Fry by Lisa Brennan Jobs. We will discuss this in mid-July, so you can start reading. Note: the paperback comes out on June 18 if you'd prefer to read the paperback.

Try This at Home: Step off the cliff. Some big challenges you just can’t prepare for.

We just stepped off a cliff ourselves when we were making the "Roadmap to Happiness" pledge show with WETA for public television.

If you want to see clips, watch here.

To watch the whole show, check your local listings.

For these stations, the schedule has already been announced: WETA, KQED, PBS39, KUED, WLJT, and more.

It's a great overview of my work on happiness, good habits, and the Four Tendencies.

The atmosphere of growth is exhilarating, but also intimidating, anxiety-producing, and stressful.

It's one of my Secrets of Adulthood: Happiness doesn’t always make us feel happy.

Here's the image I mention, from the movie Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid:

Happiness Hack: Write the opposite of a “to-do list.” You make a list of all the things you do not have to do!

Interview: Ross Gay. Ross Gay is an American poet and professor. He’s the author of three books of poetry: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude. He’s the winner of many awards, including the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. He teaches at Indiana University.

He has a new book that has hit the shelves. It’s a collection of essays, The Book of Delights. What an absolutely compelling, irresistible title! Recently, the American Bookseller’s Association put the book on its influential Indie Next list.

This is a collection of short essays—from a paragraph to several pages—that record the small joys and delights that happened over the course of a single year. It’s funny, thought-provoking, meditative…a wide range of moods and atmospheres.

It was great to talk to Ross about happiness, his process, and the book.

One Big Gold Star from Gretchen: Our longtime and beloved babysitter Freda Richardson died. She was an extraordinary person whom we will remember always. I'm still in shock, I must admit. Even though she was in her mid-80s, she was in very good health.

I couldn't finish the episode because I got choked up, so you'll hear Elizabeth take over for me for a while, until I collected myself.


  1. If you're a podcast listener and wonder what Elizabeth and I look like, you can watch clips from the PBS pledge show we recorded at PBS.org/gretchenrubin. To watch the full show live, check your local listings or ask your local PBS station if they will be airing it in early June.
  2. Are you reading one of my books, like The Four Tendencies or The Happiness Project, with a group? Visit gretchenrubin.com/resources to download free PDF group discussion guides for my books.

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