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

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Tag Archives: "literature"



“There Is a Charm, Even for Homely Things, in Perfect Maintenance.”

“There is a charm, even for homely things, in perfect maintenance.” – Louis Auchincloss, The House of Five Talents Agree, disagree? I feel this very strongly myself, and I write about it quite a lot in The Happiness Project and Happier at Home. Well-made, suitable tools make work a joy; keeping things in their proper places makes a place seem …


“Every Time You Break the Law You Pay, and Every Time You Obey the Law You Pay.”

Every time you break the law you pay, and every time you obey the law you pay. — John Gardner, interview, The Paris Review I’m haunted by this line; I think about it all the time. It’s even the epigraph to my new book on habit-formation, Before and After– along with a quotation by William James (of course; you can’t …


Revealed! Book Club Choices for April. Happy Reading.

Because nothing boosts happiness more than a great book, each month, I suggest: · one outstanding book about happiness or habits · one outstanding work of children’s or young-adult literature–I have a crazy passion for kidlit · one eccentric pick–a widely admired and excellent book that I love, yes, but one that may not appeal to everyone I’ll post these …


Can You Add to This List of Famous Upholders, Questioners, Rebels, and Obligers?

Every Wednesday is List Day, or Tip Day, or Quiz Day. This Wednesday: Can you add to this list of famous Upholders, Questioners, Rebels, and Obligers? I continue to be preoccupied with refining the framework of the Rubin Tendencies. In a nutshell, Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations (I’m an Upholder, 100%) Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet …


Want to Read about Writing? Here Are My Five Favorite Books about Writing.

Every Wednesday is List Day, or Tip Day, or Quiz Day. This Wednesday: My five favorite books about writing. It’s not easy to write a book about writing that’s also a pleasure to read. Here are my favorites: 1. William Zinsser, On Writing Well. I’ve read this book several times, and I’m due for another re-reading soon. It’s full of …