Nov. 23, 2020

A.J. Jacobs on Psalms 35:18 – “The Power of Gratitude”

Master of immersion journalism, A.J. Jacobs, joins Mark on the podcast today. Through his work, A.J. has immersed himself in topics ranging from the Bible to the family, to his most recent topic, gratitude, which he recounts in his book, ‘Thanks a Thousand: A Gratitude Journey’. He is also the author of a book about one of Mark’s heroes, Elvis Presley, and all told, he has written four New York Times bestsellers that, in his words, ‘combine memoir, science, humor and a dash of self-help’. The passage he has chosen to discuss with Mark is Psalms 35:18. A.J. begins by summarizing the passage, and sharing its importance for him based upon the theme of gratitude within it. He and Mark then go on to explore the nature of gratitude and especially A.J.’s experiences while immersing himself in it for his book. Along the way they touch upon the basis of cognitive behavioral psychology, the key to happiness, A.J.’s grandfather, and the effects of gratitude. They also look at ways to build gratitude into our days, and how we can improve our lives in the process. A.J. draws the episode to a close by offering a glimpse into his next book, and, as is tradition, the lessons about humankind that he has learned. Having taken the time to fully commit himself to the power of gratitude, A.J. Jacobs is, as you will hear, uniquely qualified to analyze this inspirational passage, and provide first hand accounts of its valuable lessons being brought to life in our world today. Episode Highlights: · A.J.’s summary of the passage and its importance for him · Prayers of gratitude · The basis of cognitive behavioral psychology · The key to happiness · A.J.’s grandfather · Some of A.J.’s experiences while writing ‘Thanks a Thousand’ · Gratitude and happiness · How gratitude changes people · Noticing, being mindful, slowing down and savoring · Changing routines · Slowing down time · A.J.’s next book · How we can improve our lives through the lens of gratitude · The lessons about humankind that A.J. has learned Quotes: “I’m kind of obsessed with gratitude.” “We acknowledge the existence of gratitude even before we acknowledge the existence of ourselves.” “The word Judaism comes from ‘Judah’, the word for thanks, for gratitude.” “There’s a prayer of gratitude for everything.” “There is a prayer of thanksgiving for gratitude about gratitude, it’s very meta. Grateful for gratitude.” “If you want to be a certain way, just act that way, and then, before you know it, you’ll become that way.” “Deed before creed.” “It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting.” “Gratitude makes the giver of gratitude more happy.” “We take hundreds of people for granted everyday.” “Gratitude teaches you to focus on what is going right.” “The gratitude is endless.” “Noticing is a prerequisite to gratitude.” “Why wait until someone’s funeral to say something nice about them?” “I think every Jew is our 12th cousin.” “You had a family reunion with 3700 people.”  Psalms 35:18 that I may praise You in a great congregation, acclaim You in a mighty throng.  Links: The Rabbi’s Husband homepage: Mark’s Twitter: The Rabbi’s Husband Newsletter contact:

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