The Fun Habit: How the Pursuit of Joy and Wonder Can Change Your Life


When we are tethered to our responsibilities, it can feel like we need someone to give us permission to go have fun. Maybe some of us have begun to forget what “fun” is? And what it feels like to have it? Have we talked ourselves into the idea that fun is just for kids…and that truly responsible people don’t have time for it? Dr. Mike Rucker joins us to explain the value of fun for our personal and our professional life. It turns out, it’s even good for our health.

Today’s book is: The Fun Habit: How the Pursuit of Joy and Wonder Can Change Your Life, by Dr. Mike Rucker. Fun is an action you can take here and now, practically anywhere, anytime. Through research and science, we know fun is enormously beneficial to our physical and psychological well-being, yet fun’s absence from our modern lives is striking. Grounded in current research, accessible science, and practical recommendations, The Fun Habit explains how you can build having fun into an actionable and effortless habit and why doing so will help you become a healthier, more joyful, more productive person.

Our guest is: Dr. Mike Rucker is an organizational psychologist and charter member of the International Positive Psychology Association whose work has been published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management and Nutrition Research. His ideas about fun and health have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Vox, Thrive Global, mindbodygreen, and more. Named one of ten digital changemakers by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, he currently serves as a senior leader at Active Wellness. Learn more at He is the author of The Fun Habit: How the Pursuit of Joy and Wonder Can Change Your Life.

Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, a historian of women and gender.

Listeners to this episode may be interested in:

  • Belonging, by Dr. Geoffrey Cohen
  • It’s a Wonderful Life: Insights on Finding a Meaningful Existence, by Dr. Frank Martela

Welcome to The Academic Life! Join us here each week, to learn from experts inside and outside the academy, and embrace the broad definition of what it means to lead an academic life.

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Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler is the creator, show host, and producer of the Academic Life podcast. She holds a PhD in U.S. history.
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