So Fun! I Did the “By the Book” Interview for the New York Times Book Review.

As an ardent book-lover, I always look forward to reading the Book Review in the Sunday New York Times.

So I was very happy to be asked to do the “By the Book” interview, a page of author q-and-a that’s one of my favorite parts of the book-review section.

In “By the Book,” a writer is asked several questions about his or her reading habits. I love talking about books, so I had tremendous fun tackling these questions.

If you’d like to know what books are on my night stand, or my dream author-guest for my podcast, or about the kind of book that I refuse to read, it here.

So many good books!

Agree? “You Cannot Be a Leader Until You Have Learned to Be a Follower.”

Of his plebe year at West Point, Aldrin notes: “What we were being taught…is that you cannot be a leader until you have learned to be a follower.”

–Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr., Return to Earth

Buzz Aldrin is one of the astronauts who made the historic moon landing in the Apollo 11.

Do you agree that in order to lead, you must also know how to follow?

Podcast 87: Live From Seattle! Pick Your “Happiness 911” Song, Deep Dive into Manifestos, an Interview with Chris Guillebeau, and More on the Four Tendencies.

It’s time for the next installment of  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

This episode was recorded live! Elizabeth and I were at Town Hall in Seattle on October 13. We had such a great time. Thanks to everyone who came.  Elizabeth and I had fun doing a live video on Facebook before the show. If you want to see what everything looked like, watch here.

Elizabeth mentions the Seattle-based  novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple.

podcastliveeventseattleegkristenTry This at Home: Identify your “Happiness 911” song. Please send us your Happiness 911 song! Email your choice here. We’re making a Spotify playlist, so we can all listen to everyone’s choices. You can find the Spotify list here or on your smart-phone app, you can find the playlist by searching “happierwithgretchenrubin” (one word).

Deep Dive: We take a closer look at manifestos. We talked about this in episode 76, and we’ve received so many great ones. (By the way, Adam loved Elizabeth’s Marriage Manifesto.)

podcastliveeventseattleegchrisInterview: Chris Guillebeau. His latest book is Born for This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do.


Happiness Stumbling Blocks for the Four Tendencies. If you want to take a quiz for the Four Tendencies, to find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel, it’s here.

If you want to know when my new book The Four Tendencies hits the shelves, sign up here.

Happiness Hack Speed Round: We took happiness hacks from the audience. So many great ideas packed into a short time — thanks, everyone.

coloringbookhappinessprojectrubinIf you’d like to get my coloring book, you can pre-order one here. One of our audience members mentions the book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.

Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth started using Candy Crush again.

Gretchen’s  Gold Star: Contact lenses!

Click here to get the Wedding Readings PDF now

If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here.

Remember,  I’m doing weekly live videos on my Facebook Page about the podcast. To join the conversation, check the schedule. 

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

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1pixHappier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #87

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Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen toHappier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much.

HAPPIER listening!

Have to Give a Toast, Speech, or Presentation? 11 Tips for Improving Your Stage Performance.

Over the summer, my father happened to meet Livingston Taylor at a conference, and he was so impressed by his presence that he urged me to look him up.

What I discovered is that Livingston Taylor is a singer-songwriter and a professor — he teaches a class on Stage Performance at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. (He’s also the brother of James Taylor.)

I watched some of his videos on stage performance, and I also read his book, Stage Performance.

Just last week, Elizabeth and I did our second live show for the Happier podcast,  in Seattle. It was great, and thinking about Taylor’s tips was a big help.

I love practical advice.

11 Tips for Improving Your Stage Performance

  1.  Focus on the audience. See them, hear them, look out at them. As part of this…
  2. Acknowledge where you are. What venue, what city?
  3. Remember that your performance is just one aspect of the audience’s experience, which is also colored by the people they’re with, what else they’ll do with their day, etc.
  4. Manage stage fright by thinking about others’ experience, instead of your own discomfort.
  5. Stay flexible, stay responsive to the audience and whatever happens. (This is very, very tough for me.)
  6. Stillness is essential to establishing control; be willing to be still.
  7. If you’re tense, your audience will be tense. If you’re still and at ease, your audience will feel that way, too.
  8. Because it’s important to be at ease, use material that you’re comfortable with, so that you can be present in the performance, instead of struggling with your performance. (This one surprised me –so often we’re told to challenge ourselves at every turn, but Taylor points out that meeting a challenge makes it hard to be aware of the audience.)
  9. Watch out for white noise — air conditioners, ventilation systems, anythings that affects sound.
  10. Direct your attention to the people at the most distant parts of the room, then gradually work your way forward — you don’t want to lose people in the back because you’re preoccupied with the ones closest to you.
  11. Accept applause. Don’t use “thank you” as a signal that your performance is over. Rather, at the end, be still, take a slight bow to signal the end, then if they applaud, thank them. Along the same lines, at the beginning, be still, give a slight bow, accept applause.

In my experience, one of the hardest thing to master? Accepting applause. It’s a great problem to have, but it’s a challenge to do it gracefully.

At some point, just about all of us have to get up in front of a group and perform — whether it’s a toast at a wedding, an announcement at a parents’ meeting, a presentation before colleagues, a pitch for clients, or a speech at a conference. Fear of public speaking or performance is a big happiness stumbling block.

What other tips do you use to help yourself feel more comfortable performing, and to do a better job?

A Little Happier: Do What You Love, and Then Your Friends Hire You.

I was reminded of this Secret of Adulthood just again last night. At a party, I was talking to someone I’d known from law school, who had gone on to be a very well-established artist.

I asked her how she made this (fairly unusual) transition. It was a long, interesting story, and at one point she said, “I got to know a lot of artists, just from going to shows and doing all the things that interested me.” Those artists didn’t hire her, but knowing them helped her make the shift.

Plus I was recently at another party, also with a bunch of friends from law school and from my clerkship with Justice O’Connor. They were mostly working as lawyers or in business, and they said how funny it was that many of them now were the clients of others, and that it was fun to work together in this way.

Of course, this observation wouldn’t be true in every kind of career, but it does seem to me that when we follow our natural interests and inclinations, we readily form the relationships that can help us to succeed.

Agree, disagree?


Check out Yogi Tea. When it comes to enjoying life, little moments — like drinking a delicious cup of tea — can make a big difference.

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Happier listening!