Podcast 186: Create a “Blues Bag,” a Reading-Related Hack for Parents, and a Deep Dive into Happiness at Work.

If you live in the United States, remember to make sure to register to vote! Different states have different rules. Find out the rules for your state here. Here’s the passage I mention, which I came across when I was researching my book Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill:

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.… –Winston Churchill, November 11, 1947, speech in House of Commons

It’s our way, and it’s the best way. Vote! 

Try This at Home

Create a “blues bag” for someone going through a tough time. We mentioned this idea briefly in our Montana episode 182, when Eliza was talking about leaving home for the first time. 

Happiness Hack

If you have children, read the novels assigned to them in school. Our listener mentions several terrific books that I love: The Hunger GamesThe Giver, and The Outsiders. If you want the list of my 81 favorite works of children’s and young adult literature or my one-pager on “Reading Better Than Before,” they are here

Deep Dive

In episode 185, we talked about having a #HappierLaborDay – that is, using the annual U.S holiday of Labor Day (or a similar occasion in your own country) as a prompt to reflect on how to be happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative in our work lives. We got so many more great observations and suggestions that we returned to this topic again for deep dive. If you want to listen to more discussion of this issue, check out the Happier in Hollywood episode 68 and Side Hustle School episodes 610 and 611. Carl Jung observed, “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” A listener suggested an idea from Dan Pink’s excellent book A Whole New Mind. I mentioned subjects that I discuss at greater length in my book about habit change, Better Than Before.

Elizabeth’s Demerit: Repeat demerit: not using the treadmill desk!

Gretchen’s Gold Star: My daughter Eleanor and I went to the traveling exhibit Color Factory. What a gorgeous, fun celebration of color — I loved it. More fodder for my color book, My Color Pilgrimage.


  1. Don’t know if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel? Take the free quiz here. I’ve spiffed up my “Four Tendencies” quiz, so that it’s a bit shorter and much more appealing to the eye. More than 1.6 million people have taken it!
  2. Do you love great quotations as much as I do? Sign up for my free “Moment of Happiness” daily email, and get a wonderful quotation about happiness and human nature every day.

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