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gretchen rubin

more books i've read recently

more books i've read recently

It's looking like this weekend will be a perfect time to lounge around and read a good book. Here are some of my recent favorites.

I was able to accept some of the personality characteristics I’m less than proud of after reading The Highly Sensitive Person and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. These books helped to explain why certain life paths I’ve taken have been unnecessarily stressful. I’m glad I’m finally figuring all this out after only 39 years!


I had read Emma Straub’s The Vacationers and enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as I enjoyed her newest book, Modern Lovers. Modern Lovers’ portrayal of parents of teens trying to be cool while secretly horrified by their kids was awkward and funny. Even though I’m not generally a big short story fan, I also liked Other People We Married.

Again, uncomfortable to admit, but I definitely have some issues with valuing myself and my needs as much as I do others’. Unworthy approaches self worth from the author’s perspective while also giving practical advice on how to stop doubting every choice you make.

I'm Supposed to Protect You From All This was not what I expected. After chronicling the ways in which she had trouble connecting with her mother growing up, Nadja Spiegelman went back and got her mother’s side of the story, which turned into her grandmother’s side of the story...

For some reason, I thought I had read 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story. Probably because it seems like something I would have read and I knew about it from hearing Dan Harris on Gretchen Rubin’s podcast. As soon as I started reading, I realized I hadn’t. This was exciting because it was a really good read. More of a memoir from a meditation skeptic than a how-to, it’s entertaining and relatable.

Since a friend of mine was reading Better Than Before for the first time and loving it, I wanted to reread it. Yup, just as helpful as the first time. I have used Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies framework over and over since learning about it, both with friends and clients. Take the quiz and let me know what type you are! (I’m an Obliger, married to a Questioner.)

I’m in the middle of Frank Bruni’s Born Round and so far enjoying the tales of being stuffed by Italian grandmas, although I have a feeling there's a darker side to the story.

Do you have any good recommendations for me? 

the happiness project and having too many choices

the happiness project and having too many choices

I am constantly overwhelmed by the amount of choices in my life. I love going to a restaurant with a set menu - no choices! You know the Cheesecake Factory menu? The one that is more like a catalog than a menu? It makes me anxious just to think about it. On a more serious note, I've also been paralyzed by choices of which life path to take at various points in my life - after college, after grad school, after moving to various cities. I once heard on an Fresh Air interview that President Obama has completely removed as many minor decisions from his daily life as possible so that he can save the decision making for the important things. For him, one of the choices he removed was what to wear every day. Makes sense to me.

While I certainly am never going to wear the same thing every day, I think that it's interesting to think about limiting our choices in our wardrobe. My sister and I were having a conversation recently about our closets and how we both purge them obsessively (in fact, she got up from the couch right after our conversation and got rid of a few things). She mentioned the book The Happiness Project, which I had heard lots about but never read. When I got home, I checked it out from the library. Here's what the author, Gretchen Rubin, had to say about cleaning out clutter:

"Having few clothing choices made me feel happier. Although people believe they like to have lots of choice, in fact, having too many choices can be discouraging. Instead of making people feel more satisfied, a wide range of options can paralyze them. Studies show that when faced with two dozen varieties of jam in a grocery store, for example, or lots of investment options for their pension plan, people often choose arbitrarily or walk away without making any choice at all, rather than labor to make a reasoned choice. I certainly felt happier choosing between two pairs of black pants that I liked rather than among five pairs of black pants, the majority of which were either uncomfortable or unfashionable - and which made me feel guilty for never wearing them, to boot."


(Read more of Gretchen Rubin's work at