Want to Read About Writing?

Okay I must stop, or I’ll end up quoting dozens of passages.

Want to Know Yourself Better, to Shape Your Habits Better?

It’s hard, however, to know ourselves. And it’s hard to know the aspects of our nature that are relevant to how we might form habits.

My New Habit for Tackling Nagging Tasks: Power Hour

But how could I form a single habit to cover a bunch of non-recurring, highly diverse tasks?

The Habits We Most Want to Foster, or The Essential Seven

It was my interest in happiness that led me to the subject of habits, and of course, the study of habits is really the study of happiness.

What Habit Would Add the Most to Your Happiness?

When I talk to people about their happiness challenges, they often point to hurdles related to a habit they want to make or break.

Did You See the Movie “Enough Said”?

But what’s the client thinking? Probably…nothing.

Rebels, I’d Love to Hear Your Perspective

Your response to expectations may sound slightly obscure, but it turns out to be very, very important.

Strategy of Loophole-Spotting No. 1: False Choice Loophole

Of all of them, perhaps my favorite strategy to study is the Strategy of Loophole-Spotting — because the loopholes are so funny.

Are You an “Energizer” or a “De-Energizer” at Work?

Cross and Parker argue that energy is a key factor in understanding who is effective at work, and why. When they analyzed networks of co-workers, knowing whether someone was considered an “energizer” and a “de-energizer” shed a great deal of light on how networks worked, and how productive various people managed to be.

Do You Have These Friends?

We need many kinds of relationships; for one thing, we need friends.

Wake Up 15 Minutes Earlier

I knew from experience that setting my alarm to 6 am when I was used to 8 am wasn’t going to work in the long run, so I instead committed to pushing the time back for just 15 minutes once a week to give my brain a better chance of adapting.

How to Spot a Psychopath

I love finding—or inventing—ways to categorize people. I agree with philosopher Isaiah Berlin, who observed, “Every classification throws light on something.”

Questions for You Questioners and Obligers, About Treats

Questioners: do you have trouble giving yourself a treat if you feel that it isn’t “necessary” or “justified”? In other words, do you feel like there has to be a sound reason to give yourself a treat?

Avoid the Dangerous Allure of 'Potato-Chip News'

It’s a highly effective strategy, particularly for people who are attracted to potato-chip news. I’m not attracted to potato-chip news, myself, so it took me a while to understand this challenge.

Once Again: 6 Tips for Writing from George Orwell

I was quite pleased by the number of people who wrote to ask where the list had gone, so I’ve decided to re-post it.

Feeling Lonely? Consider Trying These 7 Strategies

Most people have suffered from loneliness at some point. Have you found any good strategies for making yourself less lonely? What worked—or didn’t work?

Revealed! The Subject of My Next Book

Whenever I start a new book, I think, “This is the most interesting subject of all time. It’s sad, I’ll never enjoy writing another book as much as I enjoy this one.” Every time, I’m convinced. And then I change my mind when I start the next book.

One Way to Boost Happiness? Connect with My Past

I like being back in that environment, to get to listen to law talk and hang out with lawyer friends. It makes me feel more connected to my past, which makes me feel more rooted, more…coherent.

What Kind of Person Are You? The Four Rubin Tendencies

It’s very important to know ourselves, but self-knowledge is challenging.

Feeling Blue? Consider the Beauty of Nature

Nature is impersonal, awe-inspiring, elegant, eternal. It’s geometrically perfect. It’s tiny and gigantic.

Check Out These Fascinating Happiness-Related Word Clouds

From a happiness perspective, I was most interested in the word clouds for extraversion, introversion, neuroticism, and emotional stability.

Do You Fall Prey to These 4 Types of Impulse Purchases?

When we’re trying to change our buying habits, one challenge is that marketers are so clever at enticing us into making impulse purchases.

Do You Prefer to Aim Big or Aim Small?

With any kind of happiness project or habits change, we need to figure out what kind of change to aim at.

Can the Simple Act of Making a List Boost Your Happiness?

When I was in college, I took a class on the culture of Heian Japan, and the one and only thing I remember about that subject is The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon. This strange, brilliant book has haunted me for years.

A Happiness Lesson from Claire Danes

Danes was quoted saying something that really caught my attention.

Ever Been Stuck With Someone Who Tells How Wrong You Are?

Back by popular demand is the essay I wrote about the “oppositional conversational style.” This post really seems to strike a chord with people.

Who Knew? Lucky Charms Actually Work

Most of us aren’t superstitious—but most of us are a littlestitious.

A Menu of Options for Making Small Talk

Small talk can be a big problem. I want to be friendly and polite, but I just can’t think of a thing to say.

More Questions for the Upholders

I’m still obsessed with the four categories I’ve developed–which, for lack of a better name, I’m currently calling the Four Rubin Tendencies. Or maybe I’m calling it the Rubin Character Index. Which name do you like better?

Why I Consult My “Manager,” and Why She Always Takes My Call

Do you sometimes feel as if you’re two people? For a long time, I struggled to identify the metaphor to describe the tension between my two selves—between now-Gretchen and future-Gretchen, between the want-self and should-self.

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