Podcast Episode 90
with our guest John Leland

Happiness Is A Choice with John Leland Part 1


John Leland is the author of Happiness Is a Choice You Make: Lessons From a Year Among the Oldest Old. He is also a public speaker and an award-winning journalist for the New York Times where he writes features for the Sunday Metropolitan section. Before his work at the New York Times, John served as a senior editor for Newsweek and worked at other publications, including Details, Newsday, and Spin. In addition to his latest book, John has authored two other books entitled Hip: The History and Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of “On the Road” (They’re Not What You Think).

John joins me today to discuss the renewed perspective on aging he has gained in the process of researching for his latest book. He shares the importance of living a full life rather than just a long one and how the way we frame our lives impacts our mindset and emotional experience, especially as we age. John also highlights the limiting perspectives that many of us who haven’t aged have developed about getting older and whether it is possible to live a full life when faced with loss.


“That sense that we are living for the things that matter to us is available to us all the time.” – John Leland

Show Notes

This week on The School for Good Living Podcast:

  • Common themes with the things that truly matter to most of us
  • What Happiness Is a Choice You Make is about and why John wrote it
  • John’s shift in perspective on aging as he wrote and researched for his book
  • How John approached the task of following six elderly individuals for a year
  • How John chose which six people to highlight and a sneak peek into some of their stories
  • The impact that purpose-driven mindset can have on someone’s older years
  • A major failure in John’s life and what he learned from the experience
  • The difference in how John approaches his articles and his book and the feedback he has received
  • The story of how John changed a lightbulb for one of his interview subjects, and why this was so significant for John as a journalist
  • John’s thoughts on the science of longevity and what matters more than how long we live

Watch the interview on YouTube.
Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Spotify!
Visit the John Leland guest page right here on goodliving.com!

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