Ask Gretchen Rubin: The Happiness Interview

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gretchen rubin, happiness projectWe’re delighted to have Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, on shmula.com today. This page contains questions from my readers addressed to Gretchen Rubin. To see Gretchen’s answers, go to Happiness Project Part 1 and Happiness Project Part 2.

Be sure to read our other interviews in our leadership series.

The Happiness Project

Her epiphany described:

One rainy afternoon, while riding a city bus, Gretchen Rubin asked herself, “What do I want from life, anyway?” She answered, “I want to be happy”—yet, she realized, she spent no time thinking about happiness. In that moment, she grasped two things: she wasn’t as happy as she could be, and her life wasn’t going to change unless she made it change. She decided to dedicate a year to a happiness project. The result? One of the most thoughtful and engaging works on happiness to have emerged from the recent explosion of interest in the subject.

The Happiness Project brilliantly synthesizes the wisdom of the ages with current scientific research, as Rubin brings readers along on her journey to greater happiness. The Happiness Project covers everything from friendships to exercise, from TV-watching to novel-writing, from messy closets to the contemplation of infinity.

My happiness project has convinced me that it’s possible to be happier by taking small, concrete steps in your daily life. In my book and on this daily blog, I write about what I’ve learned as I’ve test-driven the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture. Plutarch, Samuel Johnson, Benjamin Franklin, St. Thérèse, the Dalai Lama, Oprah, Martin Seligman…I cover it all.

About Gretchen Rubin

Her popular daily blog, The Happiness Project, appears on Slate and the Huffington Post and ranks in the prestigious Technorati “Top 2K.” There, she recounts her adventures and insights as she grapples with the challenges of how to be happier. She also blogs for RealSimple.com.

She’s talked to Matt Lauer on Today and to Brian Lamb on Booknotes, been profiled in The New Yorker’s “Talk of the Town” and Psychology Today, and done radio shows from the Leonard Lopate Show to Talk of the Nation to Voice of America to the Playboy Channel.

A graduate of Yale and Yale Law School (where she was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal), Rubin started her career as a lawyer, and she was clerking for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when she realized she really wanted to be a writer. Raised in Kansas City, she lives in New York City with her husband and two young daughters.

Interview Logistics

Here’s the deal.  Ask Gretchen any question you might have in the comment section on this post.  Gretchen will take a few weeks and respond to several of them and I’ll post her responses in upcoming blog posts.

I’ll close the comments on February 26, 2010.

In the meantime, go visit her blog and go buy her book and start your own Happiness Project.

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Comments

  1. Porter says

    Hi, Gretchen –

    There is a debate on whether humans are truly altruistic. What are your thoughts on altruism, and how does it relate to the feeling of happiness that we get in doing something for others.

    Thanks!

    Porter

  2. Manny Osvaldo says

    I live in a humble part of Peru in South America. Why is it that poor people seem happier than people who have money? We are always smiling but rich people in Hollywood seem sad.

  3. Naveen Patel says

    The Buddha said that we are the cause of our own suffering. Do you agree? If so, it follows that only we can make ourselves suffer less. But does “suffer less” mean the same thing as “happy”?

  4. Brandon Klive says

    Religion promises eternal life and joy, but I see a lot of “evil” people that seem pretty damn happy to me. What gives?

  5. Joseph Tibco says

    I work in a hard manufacturing environment. Yeah, people get yelled at and I’ve done some yelling myself. Given that environment, you got any tips to help my crew find some joy in their job?

  6. Katiana Tano says

    What do you say about Happiness to someone who survived Haiti’s earthquake, destruction, loss of family, and everything else? How are Hope and Happiness related?

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