My current emphasis: how to make good habits and break bad ones (really)

Want to get the "Moment of Happiness"? A daily happiness quotation in your inbox. Sign up here close daily quote

Gretchen Rubin and Happiness

Gretchen Rubin is the author of several books, including the #1 New York Times and international bestseller, The Happiness Project—an account of the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. The Happiness Project has sold more than 1.5 million copies in North America alone, has been published in more than thirty languages, and spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list.

In her New York Times bestseller Happier at Home, Rubin explores how to make home a happier place. Starting in September (the new January), Gretchen dedicates a school year—from September through May—to concentrating on the factors that matter most for home, such as possessions, marriage, time, parenthood, body, neighborhood.

She’s now working on Better Than Before (forthcoming 2015), in which she investigates the sixteen strategies she’s identified that help us make and break our habits. Some are quite familiar, such as Monitoring, Scheduling, and Convenience. Some are more subtle, such as Thinking, Identity, and Clarity. Some are more complicated than we might assume, such as Rewards and Other People. The most fun strategy? Treats. After all, she realized, healthy habits are the invisible architecture of a happy life. She provides surprising insights and practical advice drawn from cutting-edge research, ancient wisdom, and her own observations.

On her popular blog, The Happiness Project, she reports on her daily adventures in the pursuit of happiness and habits. Millions of people read her blog each year. “I’ve become a bit of a happiness bully,” she confessed.

With this work, Rubin has emerged as one of the most thought-provoking and influential writers on happiness to have emerged from the recent explosion of interest in the subject. Though her conclusions are sometimes counter-intuitive—for example, she finds that true simplicity is far from simple to attain, and that used rightly, money can do a lot to buy happiness—her insights resonate with readers of all backgrounds. She’s known for her ability to distill and convey complex ideas in a way that’s accessible to a wide range of readers.

Response to Rubin’s writing has been overwhelming. Dozens of blogs have been launched by people following Gretchen’s example. Psychiatrists tell their patients to read her books, professors assign them to their students, book groups discuss them, families pass them around, and people do Happiness Projects together. Exhausted parents and college students, senior citizens and professionals, clergy and social workers, people facing divorce, illness, and drift have written to tell her how she’s influenced them.

Rubin is much in demand as a speaker, and she has addressed corporate audiences at places such as GE, Google, LinkedIn, Accenture, Procter & Gamble, as well as university audiences such as Yale Law School, Harvard Business School, and Wharton.

She has appeared at numerous conferences as a featured speaker or keynoter, at places such as SXSW, World Domination Summit, the 92nd Street Y, 5×15, TEDx, BlogHer, the Atlantic, Alt Design, Q Cities, Behance’s 99u, Mom 2.0, West Point, Lucid, and the Texas, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania Conferences for Women.

She makes frequent TV appearances, for instance, on Today, Kathie Lee & Hoda, CBS Sunday Morning, The Early Show, Katie, “Q” radio, Booknotes with Brian Lamb. The Happiness Project was even an answer on the game-show Jeopardy!

Rubin, an enthusiastic proponent of using technology to engage with readers about ideas, has a wide, active following on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube (more than 1.7 million views)—not to mention her wildly popular monthly newsletter, book club, and daily email of happiness quotations. Rubin was one of the first people asked to become a LinkedIn “Influencer,” where she has a large, active group of followers. She has also been named one of the “100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” She was also named one of the Inc.’s Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts. Rubin is a notable example of an author using a blog and social media to create discussion around a subject and her work. In 2014, she was named by Business Insider as one of the “22 Brilliant Thinkers Everyone Should Follow on Twitter.

In traditional media, Rubin has written for many national publications and writes a column in Good Housekeeping magazine. She appeared on the inaugural cover of Live Happy magazine, February 2014.

A graduate of Yale and Yale Law School, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law Journal and winner of the Edgar M. Cullen Prize, Rubin started her career in law. She clerked for Judge Pierre Leval and was clerking for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when she realized she really wanted to be a writer.

Her bestselling Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill and Forty Ways to Look at JFK are succinct, provocative biographies. Power Money Fame Sex: A User’s Guide is biting social criticism in the form of a user’s manual. Profane Waste, a collaboration with artist Dana Hoey, examines the question of why owners choose to destroy their own possessions. She also has three terrible novels safely locked in a desk drawer.

Rubin is a well-known lover of children’s and young-adult literature (she’s in three children’s literature reading groups; an advocate for organ donation; a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; and a massive consumer of caffeine. The New York Times described her as “the queen of the self-help memoir” (though she describes her books as “self-helpful, not self-help.”) She’s left-handed, red-haired, extremely near-sighted, and a low-carb eater. Of everything she’s ever written, she says, her one-minute video, The Years Are Short, resonates most with people.

Raised in Kansas City, she lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.


Read about Gretchen Rubin in the press:

“On Top of the Happiness Racket”, from the New York Times, by Jan Hoffman, February 26, 2010

“Happiness Expert, Plying Her Craft”, from the New York Times, Sunday Routines, by Sarah Harrison Smith, October 5, 2012

Talk Takeaway with Gretchen Rubin from CBS, Feb. 5, 2013

Gretchen Rubin’s Four Steps to Happinessfrom The Telegraph, Sept. 18, 2012

Gretchen Rubin Is Happy–and She Knows It from The Globe and Mail, June 17, 2012

How to be happy: Gretchen Rubin’s guide to everyday contentment from The Independent, Jan. 14, 2012

On Lawyers and Happiness: A Chat with Gretchen Rubin from WSJ Law Blog, Sept. 24, 2009

On the Red Couch with Author Gretchen Rubinfrom The Official Flipboard Blog, July 11, 2013

The Pace of Productivity and How to Master Your Creative Routine from Brain Pickings, May 22, 2013

“At Home with a Happiness Guru” from livehappy magazine, February 2014


Click any of the images below to download high-resolution versions.