Gretchen Rubin

Podcast 132: Consider Reading Children’s Literature, Refresh Your Workspace.


Update: I’m excited because my new book, The Four Tendencies, hits the shelves in just 13 days. Not long now!

I’m looking forward to heading to Los Angeles, and many other cities, on my book tour. Info here if you’d like to come to an event.

Try This at Home: Feeling overwhelmed by the news, or by events in your life -- or both? Consider reading children's literature. I love reading children's literature all the time, but when I feel anxiety or dread, I often turn even more readily than usual to children's literature.

Need an excellent work of children's literature -- or rather, young-adult literature? Elizabeth's book Flower is a terrific read. And here's my list of my 81 favorite works of children's literature.

The book I mention reading is E. L. Konigsburg's brilliant From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Elizabeth mentioned Paula Danziger's The Cat Ate My Gymsuit. So, so good!

This try-this-at-home isn't about escapism, or turning away from difficult truths and realities, but about finding ways to maintain your mental equilibrium during tough times. When we have more command of ourselves, we're better able to engage with the world.

C. S. Lewis's essay, "On Three Ways of Writing for Children," is fascinating. I've read it ten times.

Elizabeth and Sarah talked about "feeling on the rack" in episode 9 of "Happier in Hollywood."

Happiness Hack: Cat, a Rebel, suggests choosing new desktop wallpaper as a fun way to change a work environment. She used the free service Unsplash.

Four Tendencies Tip: Can you switch Tendencies? No, not really. But you can change your circumstances to harness the strengths of your Tendency, and to buttress the limitations and weaknesses of your Tendency.

Want to take the Quiz to tell you whether you're an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger or Rebel? It's here. Or to learn even more, buy The Four Tendencies book.

Listener Question: Abby is an Obliger who's trying to work on a side hustle, but it's hard to put the time into that effort when she's also working for her father.

If you're pursuing a side hustle, be sure to check out Chris Guillebeau's terrific podcast "Side Hustle School." If you're an Obliger who wants to create an accountability group (for anything you need to be accountable for), check out the free Better app.

Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth has been feeling very crabby; she took it out on her husband Adam; and now she feels even worse.

Gretchen’s Gold Star: I give a giant gold star to the Delta counter agent who did a terrific job in handling the chaos that ensued during a five-hour weather delay. (Demerit: I should've found out his name, so I could acknowledge his excellence.)

Here's some fascinating research about waiting in line.

Free Resources:

  1. To get the pre-order bonus, you can find info here, or at You’ll get the overview video as well as subject videos on using the Four Tendencies at work, with spouses and sweethearts, with children and students, and in health-care settings.  Free now; after the book comes out, there will be a charge for the video series.
  2. If you’d like a free, signed bookplate or signature card, sign up here. U.S. and Canada only — sorry about that, mailing costs. Ask for as many as you’d like (within reason).

As I mentioned above, I do weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

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