I'm pretty sure that the people who pay attention to happiness research are actually happier people. And happiness begets happiness. So I have a feeling that me just writing a post about happiness, and you reading it makes us all happier.

Here is why I think that:

Recently, Gretchen Rubin sent me her new book, The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun.

Let me tell you now, I am not a huge fan of the book. She is writing about her life, but her life is not all that interesting. The thing about reading stories about people’s lives is that we like conflict. That's what every novel is, it's what every memoir is. If there's no conflict then there is no path to follow in a story line.

Gretchen's conflict in this story about her is how can she be happier. Gretchen reports that she is already happy. She has an investment banker husband, two seemingly just fine daughters, a nice apartment in Manhattan, former-model good looks, etc. She basically (as she says in her forward to the book) needs something to talk about at cocktail parties. So she is writing a book so she can talk about it. Read more

I am back with the farmer.

This probably is not surprising to you, because admittedly, it is absurd to be engaged one day and not engaged the next day. But there are exacerbating factors, and basically, the way I got him back was to be more likable.

I have spent most of my career overcoming my lack of social skills by studying research about what makes people likable. And I think the research I've applied so systematically in my career is finally helping me in my personal life.

Here's what we know about being likable:

1. Don't give ultimatums. It's disrespectful. Instead, be a negotiator.
The farmer does not want to be in this blog. As you might imagine, we have this discussion a lot.

First it was like this:

Him: I don't want to be in the blog.

Me: You have to be. I can't live without writing my life.

Then the conversation was like this:

Him: I don't want to be in the blog.

Me: How about if you can edit whatever you want? Read more