Gretchen Rubin

in conversation with Deborah Tannen

Recorded Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

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Gretchen Rubin in conversation with Deborah Tannen

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Gretchen Rubin‘s recent release, The Four Tendencies, considers what happens when people respond to Epicurus’ simple question: “How do I respond to expectations?” and explores how understanding your own response can help you make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress, and engage more effectively.

Gretchen is also the author of the bestselling books The Happiness Project, Happier at Home, Better than Before, and Outer Order, Inner Calm. She’s also written a bestselling biography of Winston Churchill, Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill, and one of John Kennedy, Forty Ways to Look at JFK. She also hosts a popular, award-winning podcast, “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” and a blog, where she writes about her daily adventures in happiness and habit-formation. She is also a regular columnist for O, The Oprah Magazine and makes regular appearances on CBS This Morning. Before turning to writing, Gretchen had a career in law. A graduate of Yale and Yale Law School, she clerked for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. She lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

Deborah Tannen’s newest release, Finding My Father: His Century-Long Journey from World War I Warsaw and My Quest to Follow, traces her father’s life from turn-of-the-century Warsaw to New York City in an intimate memoir about family, memory, and the stories we tell.

Deborah is University Professor and Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University and author of many books and articles about how the language of everyday conversation affects relationships.  She is best known as the author of the New York Times Bestseller, You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation. This is the book that brought gender differences in communication style to the forefront of public awareness. In addition to her eight books for general audiences, Deborah is author or editor of sixteen books and over one hundred articles for scholarly audiences. She is also a frequent guest on television and radio news and has been featured in and written for most major newspapers and magazines, including The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe AtlanticHuffPostNewsweekTimeUSA TodayPeople, and The Harvard Business Review. She lives with her husband in the Washington, D.C., area.

“We must exercise ourselves in the things which bring happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed toward attaining it.”

― Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

A personal note from Gretchen. 

Sent following her Conversations With Authors session.

Thanks to Catherine, Deborah, and everyone who watched our conversation! And a special thanks to people who submitted questions – we couldn’t get to all of them, alas, but I think we covered many.

We’re all looking forward so eagerly to the day when we can all meet in person, but video lets us meet in different ways, so I’m grateful for the technology that lets us come together virtually. 

I’ve been reading so many great books lately.  I highly recommend Susanna Clark’s Piranesi, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, Roxane Gay’s Hunger, Marguerite Yourcenar’s Memoirs of Hadrian, David Eagleman’s Livewired, Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other, Susan Burton’s Empty, Zora Neale Hurston’s Dust Tracks on a Road, Stanislas’s Dehaene’s Reading in the Brain, Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed, Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind

Well, I could keep going! Reading is my favorite thing to do, and my second-favorite thing to do is to recommend the books I love. On the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast, we’re challenging ourselves and listeners to read for 21 minutes every day in 2021. Join #Read21in21! Many people know they’re happier when they read consistently, but have trouble making time for it. This challenge is a way to get back in the habit of reading.