Podcasts I Like: Happier with Gretchen Rubin

It’s been a while since I’ve written about a podcast.  I have become an avid podcast listener in a pretty short span of time.  I don’t have time for audio books because I listen to so many podcasts!  They each bring me satisfaction in different ways.  Anne Bogel’s What Should I Read Next? podcast scratches my need for book talk, while The TED Radio Hour makes me think and feel smarter.  Pop Culture Happy Hour makes me laugh and makes me feel more plugged in to pop culture even if I haven’t seen or heard what they’re discussing.  On Being fills a spiritual niche, soothes my soul, and makes me feel better about the state of the world.

podcasthappierlogoHappier with Gretchen Rubin is my most recent podcast addition, thanks to a recommendation from Smithereens.  I’ve only started listening in January. They are coming up on their 2 year anniversary, so I have plenty of episodes to choose from!  It’s funny, because I’ve read three of Rubin’s books, The Happiness Project, Happier At Home, and Better Than Before, and I’ve not given one of them more than three stars.  There is something about her self-help books that annoys me, and I’m a fan of self-help books in general.  I really think that I can only take Rubin in small doses, and reading an entire 300 page book by her is too much.  She’s very Type-A, and I am so… not.  Yet, when she was writing a monthly column in Good Housekeeping magazine, I loved it and looked forward to it every month.  So clearly I think that she has good ideas, but maybe there’s something in the delivery.

Gretchen and Elizabeth

But, go figure – I am really enjoying her podcast!  It helps that her co-host is her younger sister, television writer Elizabeth Craft, and Elizabeth seems more laid-back and less annoyingly “together” than Gretchen.  So they balance each other out.  I particularly enjoyed a recent segment about doing something for your “future self.”  The topic came from a listener who had read about the idea on Wil Wheaton’s blog (read the post here) and it can be summarized like this:  do things for the future you, so that Future You is happier and healthier.  Like, you may not want to go to bed at a decent hour, but Tomorrow You will be in a better mood if you do.  Or, you may not feel like exercising regularly, but Future You will be so glad to be more agile, flexible, and spry when she’s 70. It’s a neat little re-framing device that can help you adopt good habits.  In the same episode I learned about flying wish paper, special origami-like paper that you write wishes or burdens or whatever on and then when it burns up, it flies into the air.  I like how each episode is divided into segments, and the episodes are fairly short, 35-45 minutes, usually.  On Mondays there’s a bonus short episode called A Little Happier, which is only a few minutes long and is Gretchen reading a quotation or a message she’s found helpful in applying to her life.

This podcast is indeed making my commute happier because I like hearing about tips and strategies for a happier, more organized life (even if I don’t apply them!)  I’m curious if you’ve ever listened to this podcast or read any of Rubin’s books. What do you think of them?  Are you a fan of self-help books/articles/blogs/podcasts in general?  Is there another podcast (on any topic) that you really love and you think I should try?  Have you ever tried flying wish paper?  Let me know in the comments.


40 thoughts on “Podcasts I Like: Happier with Gretchen Rubin

  1. I love reading and listening to little things meant to improve happiness. There’s something wonderfully uplifting by taking a moment to improve one’s life. The Wil Wheaton idea is great! I often joke “That’s a problem for Future Jackie.” (hellooooo backlog of reviews to write!), but I should change that to “That’s going to make Future Jackie happy.” What a lovely idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never got into podcasts, or self-help books! But I always remember in Anne of Green Gables, Anne followed the philosophy that when faced with a choice you should always do what your eighty-year-old self would wish you had done – and that’s kinda been my philosophy too, even if I don’t always follow it.

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  3. I think I first heard of Gretchen Rubin on a podcast… could it have been What Should I Read Next?? I checked out The Happiness Project from the library but didn’t finish it. This might sound silly but it just seemed so self indulgent and that kind of annoyed me. But after that I did try her podcast and – I am so sorry to be such a jerk – her voice was grating to me and I found myself irritated while listening to her!! I’m just a weirdo, I’m sure! But I do like the idea of doing things for your future self – you’re right, what a great reframe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Katie, you know when I first started listening I was annoyed by her laugh, of all things! But I got used to it, and now I don’t get annoyed at all. I think it’s a totally valid complaint. It’s like an audio book narrator – a bad one will ruin a good book!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m embarassed to say I never listen to podcasts, mainly because my cellphone is so old I can’t download any. But I wish I could listen to them in my car-any ideas how I can accomplish this with a phone from 2011?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t be embarrassed! Anne, I didn’t listen to podcasts before I got my new phone because I didn’t have enough storage space for them! I’m afraid that I’m no help at all with your situation. I have a little cord that cost about $3.00 that I plug into my phone on one end, and the other in the iPod jack in my console. I’m terrible with technology generally. This is very high-tech for me!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love podcasts! I highly recommend all Book Riot podcasts (I even enjoy listening to the one mostly about bookish news & publishing!). I’ve also recently picked Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me (a comedy quiz show about the news) back up & add Ask Me Another, which is a game style type show with word games and puzzles. Great fun! 🙂 The last 2 are on NPR. I’ll have to check out some of the ones you mentioned that I haven’t heard of. Love the TED Radio Hour! (and if you like that, check out This American Life!).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well – what an awesome post! A resolution of mine was to listen to more pod casts, and here you are with a perfectly curated list for me to work my way through!
    Resolution: achieved. Work involved: nil.

    (*dusts hands and feel virtuous*)


    Liked by 1 person

  7. “Do now the things you do not want to do so that you can later do the things you do want to do.” or something like that…. I still marvel how much some people are so much better effective with their time and then I can’t seem to get out of my own way! I just do not choose to find the time to do podcasts. The thought of that exhausts me and I doth protest that it takes away from audiobooks. oh well.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have a hard time finding time to listen to podcasts. but it sounds like there are some good ones out there. When I have the time to listen to something it’s usually CBC Radio, which I love and don’t listen to as much as I would like. BUT I have read 2 of Gretchen Rubin’s “Happy” books and refer to them from time to time – to remind myself of little things I can do to make life a little bit happier. She probably *is* better in small doses. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Flying wish paper is so cool! I need to get some for my friend for her next birthday — she’d love it. Meanwhile, I am deeeeelighted about this framing of good habits as being favors you’re doing for Future You. That’s how I’ve been thinking for years! In general Past Jenny takes excellent care of Present Jenny, and in return I try to pay it forward by smoothing the way for poor Future Jenny. Like, who knows what Future Jenny’s going to be dealing with? Better to get those dishes clean now. :p

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I only listen to a few podcasts — mostly because I can tell that they are so addictive and I already struggle to have enough reading time! But Pop Culture Happy Hour and On Being just tickled my curiosity, and I’m up for anything makes a commute or washing dishes better! Have you ever listened to The Readers? Thomas@Hogglestock blog and Simon@Savidge Reads blog do this podcast together. Super book nerds.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have heard about audio-books but didn’t know much about podcasts until this book. I will try listening to one on my way to work and see how it works out. Glad to see that you enjoyed this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I enjoy Happier and Gretchen Rubin’s books. It’s true that at first her voice grated on my nerves, but now I’m used to it too. The one podcast I can’t miss these days is Sorta Awesome. Have you tried it? Also, in a more serious tone, I am a great fan of Radio Lab, This American Life and Note To Self.

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  13. I listen in bursts because I’m not very techy either, so I tend to get a method that works for sub’ing and then I gorge and then something interrupts it (something high-techy) and I pause for months (what’s lower than low-techy? no-techy) and then it restarts. Your post is making me want to boost that process once more!

    In the meantime, I still listen to two online when I have the chance: BBC’s “The World Book Club” (which is regular but not frequent – it’s completely possible to catch up on their backlist and they’ve had some fantastic writers over the years) and CBC’s “Writers & Company” hosted by Eleanor Wachtel (which has some book collections of the interviews, too, but I prefer the audio, although some don’t enjoy her emphasis on psychology/family background, which I find interesting). I’ve tried many of the other popular book ones, and I find them very chatty: I understand that I’m in the minority on this count…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi I just found this comment and agree wholeheartedly with your BBC choice and CBC. I am slightly addicted to podcasts and Writers & Company with Eleanor Wachtel is one of my favourites as well as Shelagh Rogers’ The Next Chapter”.


  14. Fab post!! I’m trying to get into the habit of listening to podcasts and I really like this as a place to start improving on my personal development!! I’ve previously purchased a Gretchen Rubin’s journal which I love to use 🙂 there is a post about it on smileeachnewday.wordpress.com 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for a helpful post! Yes, I’ll be sure to keep adding more to listen to then definitely 🙂 I’m glad to hear that, it’s really helpful some of the advice given in her talks , thank you Laila!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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