Podcast 292: Create a Hidden Delight, a Hack to Encourage Exercising, and Accepting Something as a Gift vs. Paying for It.


We’ve announced our next book club choice: Yaa Gyasi’s unforgettable novel, Transcendent Kingdom (AmazonBookshop). Start reading, and post your questions and comments on social media using #happierpodcastbookclub.

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Create a hidden delight.

I quote from one of my favorite books, Christopher Alexander’s odd, brilliant A Pattern Language. (AmazonBookshop)

Here’s the “Drunk Monkeys” wallpaper from Astek Home: DrunkMonkeys_Bashed.jpg 1,200×1,677 pixels | Monkey wallpaper, Animal wallpaper, Closet wallpaper

Happiness Hack

A listener suggests that on the days when you enjoy the comfort of wearing workout clothes, you have to exercise. On the days when you enjoy skipping the workout, you have to wear “real” clothes.

This is a brilliant application of the Strategy of Pairing from Better Than Before, my book about how to change habits.

Know Yourself Better Question/Listener Question

How do you respond when someone offers to pay for something? When should we repay, and when should we accept a gift?

Elizabeth Demerit: Elizabeth put a moratorium on buying books, then she bought James Michener’s 1,124-page tome Alaska. (AmazonBookshop)

I mention Andrew Roberts’s biography Napoleon: A Life (AmazonBookshop).

Gretchen Gold Star: I give a gold star to the Netflix TV show Dark, a German science-fiction thriller. Complex, interesting, absorbing.

If, like me, you love the short-story collection Exhalation by Ted Chiang, Dark reminded me of the story “Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom.” (AmazonBookshop)


  • My book The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too) (AmazonBookshop) turned three years old this month. If you’d like to read a sample chapter, click here and scroll down to “The Four Tendencies” to download it for free.




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