Podcast 329: Explore the Five Senses of Summer, a Hack for Boosting Focus, and a Deep Dive into Solutions for Obliger-Rebellion


Remember, June 20 is Father’s Day. Every year I get many emails from people who have received or given copies of my short biography, Forty Ways to Look at Winston ChurchillIt’s great for a father in your life who is interested in Churchill (who is a fascinating figure).

Our next book club choice is Michelle Zauner’s terrific memoir Crying in H Mart (AmazonBookshop).

The Mad Men bonus episode will go live in a few days. We had so much fun talking about this TV show.

In response to episode 328‘s try-this-at-home suggestion to try a food you read about on the page or watched on the screen, one listener recommends The Little Library Cookbook by Kate Young. Another listener visits restaurants after she’s learned the story of how they got started, from listening to  the How I Built This podcast on NPR and watching on Chef’s Table on Netflix.

Try This at Home

Explore the five senses of summer. Another angle on “design your summer.”

I mention the Van Gogh Immersive Experience, a sound bath, and the perfume shop Fueguia.

Happiness Hack

In episode 328, we interview writer Annie Murphy Paul about her fascinating book The Extended Mind (AmazonBookshop). One of her suggestions is to play with fidget objects, which can help sharpen your focus, improve your mood, and increase your creativity.

Deep Dive

In episode 326, an Obliger listener asked for ideas for warding off impending Obliger-rebellion.

If you don’t know whether you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel, take the free, quick quiz here (more than 3.2 million people have taken it.)

If you want a quick overview of the personality framework, read here.

So many good answers from Obligers! They include…

  • remembering the duty to be a role model of boundaries and balance for others
  • finding a manageable way to give a partial “yes” if you don’t want to give a complete “yes”
  • keep a journal to monitor negative emotions and expectations, in order to understand when and how feeling of resentment are building (I was surprised by how many Obligers mentioned using a journal—I didn’t realize this was such a popular tool for Obligers)
  • going “on strike”
  •  tell others when you’re feeling burnt out and overwhelmed
  • use your “21 for 2021” list to set aside 21 days for yourself, to use when rebellion is building
  • remember that children can also experience Obliger-rebellion
  •  by saying “no,” you can giving others valuable opportunities
  • be aware of “tells” of an approaching Obliger-rebellion; this listener’s tell was drinking canned wine

One listener wisely pointed out that sometimes, Obliger-rebellion is enormously beneficial. This is a crucial truth to remember. For an example of how an Upholder might have been much better off if he’d had Obliger-rebellion to blow up his situation, you can read this post I wrote about the novel Remains of the Day (AmazonBookshop) and the beneficent power of Obliger-rebellion.

Gretchen’s Demerit

Too many books! They’re everywhere! I need to get them under control.

Elizabeth’s Gold Star

Elizabeth gives herself a gold star. She was in Puerto Rico for Fantasy Island for more than two months, without a visit home or a visit from Jack and Adam.


  • Father’s Day is June 20. If a father in your life might enjoy a book for Father’s Day, might I suggest my short, unconventional biography, Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill? Click here for more book details and purchasing information.
  • Every week, I publish articles, author interviews, and more on my site. If you’d like to be notified when I’ve written something new, sign up to receive email updates. Sign up here and select “New blog posts.”


What we’re reading

Elizabeth: The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See (AmazonBookshop)

Gretchen: Everything Sad Is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri (AmazonBookshop)



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