Chapter 5: Gretchen Rubin on pinpointing personal patterns to perfecting our paths

Me and Gretchen in the studio. I recommend always wearing your fanciest tube socks for important occassions.

Me and Gretchen in the studio. I recommend always wearing your fanciest tube socks for important occassions.

Welcome to the fifth chapter of 3 Books where I chat with Gretchen Rubin (@Gretchen Rubin) in the Penguin Random House studio in downtown Toronto. 

I met Gretchen ten years ago before her New York Times bestsellers The Happiness Project, Better Than Before, and The Four Tendencies took the world by storm with over three million copies sold. And before her fantastic podcast “Happier by Gretchen Rubin” was launched scoring over 40 million downloads.


Our books at the PenguinRandomHouse front desk

Our books at the PenguinRandomHouse front desk



Back in the day we were just blogger friends who swapped stories and shared meals whenever we were in each other’s hometown. I’ve since watched her become one of the world’s most thought-provoking observers of human nature. Chatting with Oprah, hanging with The Dalai Lama, being the question to Jeopardy answers. You know. That’s just how she rolls now. The point I’m trying to make is I’m lucky she still takes my calls.

In this chapter, Gretchen talks about why she rereads certain books so often, why readers are shifting away from self-help books and towards biographies and memoirs, and why memoirs can effectively inspire us to change. We discuss themes like human nature, life-changing diets, and, of course, formative books...

Listen to Chapter 5:

Click here to Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, StitcherOvercast, Spotify, Youtube, or Google Play.


What You'll Learn:

  • What is the lightning-bolt strategy to making change?

  • What bookstore category is growing while self-help shrinks and why?

  • Which book completely changed Gretchen’s diet? (And changed mine, too.)

  • Why should you read certain books over and over and over again?

  • Which book made Gretchen want to play catch with a pig’s bladder?

  • How is the "radical authenticity" trend changing writing styles?

  • Which children's book series provides great value for kids ... and even more for adults?

  • According to Gretchen, what is the most important thing when it comes to writing?

Ideas Worth TWEETING:

"Part of what I’m always doing is trying to observe people and look for patterns and see people doing things and so biography and memoir are way to do that." @GretchenRubin #3bookspodcast

"If you read children’s books as an adult, you will get more out of them, because you bring more to them." @GretchenRubin #3bookspodcast

"The most important thing with writing is to have something to say." @GretchenRubin #3bookspodcast

CONNECT With Gretchen:

word of the chapter: 

Resources Mentioned:

Enjoy the show? Use the Links Below to Subscribe: