AIF Blog

On my Radar: Lori Gottlieb

May 18, 2012

Kicking off our new blog series, psychotherapist and New York Times best-selling author Lori Gottlieb tells us what she's optimistic about, where her values come from, and much more. Watch for more Aspen Ideas speakers featured here in the weeks to come!

AIF: Please tell us, in your own words, what you're known for within your field.

I’m a social observer and cultural commentator who explores how we unwittingly get in the way of our own happiness, fulfillment or success.  I write about the intersection of psychology and culture, and I have a particular interest in the ways in which societal trends that are seen as life improvements make things go disastrously wrong.  My bestselling book, Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, started an international dialogue on modern romance and marriage and what makes for happy, lasting relationships; and my cover story in The Atlantic, “How To Land Your Kid in Therapy: Why The Obsession With Our Kids’ Happiness May Be Dooming Them to Unhappy Adulthoods” questioned whether well-meaning parents are contributing to a lack of self-esteem and sense of direction in the next generation.  

AIF: Please share a cause, statistic, or website you’d like everyone to be aware of.

Causes:  Creating fulfilling romantic relationships and raising well-adjusted, resilient kids.

My author website is

My therapy and private consultation website is

AIF: Inspired by our Values track at the Festival… What do you most value in life?

A person who sits through an entire meal without checking his or her Blackberry. I’m a big fan of embracing the present rather than being subsumed by our culturally induced ADD and conversation interruptus.

AIF: What are you optimistic about?

The ways in which humility has forced people to re-evaluate their priorities, for the better.

AIF: What gets your heart pumping?

Seeing people in my therapy and consulting practice make changes that they never thought possible, simply by showing up, doing the work, and being open to viewing their world through a brand new lens.  That, and a good run around the park on a sunny California day.

AIF: In your field, what single action would have the most impact on positive change?

Having patience.  So many mistakes could be avoided and so many goals could be achieved if people took a breath and thought things through before they acted.

AIF: Please recommend some great reading!

The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, by Barry Schwartz

“Should Science Make Us Better Than Well?” in Popular Science, by Robert Sapolsky