When was the last time you truly had fun? If you’re like most adults, it’s probably been longer than you care to admit. In the lighthearted and entertaining The Fun Habit: How the Pursuit of Joy and Wonder Can Change Your Life, psychologist Mike Rucker suggests that fun is as important to human welfare as relationships and exercise—and therefore that we should all take fun a little more seriously.
Rucker argues that we are not experiencing nearly enough fun in our lives due to modern hindrances such as social media addiction, overwork and negative societal views about leisure (always be hustling). According to Rucker, the importance of fun cannot be overstated because it is not only good for us but also one of the most fundamental ways we interact with the world. However, as we age, we forget to make time for playtime, and this is having a detrimental effect on our collective well-being, resulting in widespread worker burnout.
Fun, to be clear, can be anything from dancing to helping others to learning a new language to rock climbing: essentially, any activity that sustains engagement and leaves you feeling like you’ve experienced something positive. But this isn’t a book that promotes “toxic positivity”—the sort of relentless positivity that drives people to ignore the actual problems in their lives. Rucker’s main concern is teaching us to examine how we spend our time so we can be more deliberate in our choices instead of living on autopilot.
Rucker provides a scientific approach to incorporating more fun, satisfaction and spontaneity into daily life, including practical ideas and strategies. For example, he suggests that people schedule fun into their day ahead of time, and that they take photos while they’re having fun so they can be reminded often of a fun moment. Rucker also recommends that, when possible, people prioritize their time over money. After all, time is a resource you can’t get back.
With expertise and a personal, intimate understanding of the subject matter, Rucker backs up his suggestions with scientific research regarding happiness, fun and, most interestingly, how our brains interpret stimuli. This well-researched and impressive guide to finding more meaning in your day-to-day life will offer readers endless rewards.