The Latest Book from Bruce

The Secrets of Happy Families

Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More

The Secrets of Happy Families book coverBest-selling author and New York Times family columnist Bruce Feiler found himself squeezed between aging parents and rising children. He set out on a three-year journey to find the smartest ideas, cutting-edge research, and novel solutions to make his family happier. READ MORE


The Council of Dads

A Story of Family, Friendship & Learning How to Live

The Council of Dads book coverWhen bestselling author Bruce Feiler was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in his leg, he could only imagine all the walks he might not take with his daughters, the ballet recitals he would miss, the art projects left undone, and the aisles he might not walk down. READ MORE

Read Bruce’s cancer diary.

Bruce's latest news

The Secrets of Happy Families featured and tested on ABC’s Nightline. Watch the video here.

A great review of ‘The Secrets of Happy Families’ in the Washington Post!

How Happy is Your Family? Take the quiz in Parade Magazine and check out the feature on NPR and in USA Today.

Bruce’s This Life Column

  • They're Dropping Like Middle Initials
    In 1991, I was preparing to publish my first book, about a year I spent teaching junior high school in Japan. Stephen Birmingham, the author of “Our Crowd” and an acquaintance of my parents, offered to give me a blurb but recommended one change: that I dr
  • Speaking of Commencement
    Looking out at all of you today, in your floppy caps and ill-fitting gowns, I’m pleased to see how prepared you are for this momentous occasion. You’re wearing sunscreen. You’re clutching your copies of " ‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers.” You’re not a
  • The United States of Metrics
    The map of the United States that appeared on Nerve.com this year was in many ways similar to the maps that pop up on the Internet during election seasons. States were divided into red or blue, then shaded from light to dark. Only in this case, the color
  • For the Love of Being 'Liked'
    Walking through an airport newsstand this year, I noticed a novelty. The covers of Inc., Fast Company and Time all had female executives on the covers: Sara Blakely, Angela Ahrendts and Janet L. Yellen. I quickly snapped a photo and sent out a tweet to my
  • Saying Thank You in 45 Seconds
    One of the more influential cultural mainstays to emerge from Hollywood in the last 50 years may be the most maligned: the Oscar acceptance speech. Though often mocked, these high-stakes odes to self-regard, faux humility, stress management and careful pl
  • In an Age of Lessening Privacy, Some Family Secrets Persist
    After Itzhak Goldberg’s father died in 1995, at age 86, his mother gave him a watch in a red case. The 18-karat gold Patek Philippe was a rare indulgence for his father, a Polish Holocaust survivor who married, moved to Israel and ran a produce business.
  • My Five Year Cancerversary
    The attendant walked into the hospital waiting room and called my name. I took a deep breath and hurried through the door. “I’m always surprised when my name is pronounced properly at a doctor’s office,” I said.
  • Together, at Home and at Work
    I spent much of the last six months helping my wife with a rare professional opportunity. When friends heard how many days, nights and weekends we spent in the same room, they had the same reply: “Whoa! When are you getting divorced?”
  • Overscheduled Children: How Big a Problem?
    Now that the school year is under way, my wife and I are busy managing our children’s after-school schedules, mixing sports practices, music lessons, homework and play dates. It can be a complicated balancing act for our elementary-age daughters, as some
  • Just One Big, Happy Family?
    This summer, 39 members of the Peters family gathered in Smith Mountain Lake, Va., just outside Roanoke, for their 40th family reunion. What started with five nearby families in 1970 has grown to 10 families, some from as far away as Alaska and Washington
  • The Care-Package Wars
    I spent last weekend driving my daughters around Maine visiting summer camps, including the one I attended as a child. The minute I stepped on the pine needles, walked along the waterfront and glimpsed the pitchers of bug juice, I was hit with a wave of n
  • The 'I Dos,' Unplugged
    The attendant was stationed at the front door of my friend Michael’s wedding. “The ceremony is in the chapel,” she said to the arriving guests. “The ragtime band will be playing in the courtyard. The mini-cheeseburgers and lobster rolls will be served und
  • A Line Between Sweet and Skimpy
    It first happened to me this spring. My daughters, who had just turned 8, came bounding into the room to show off new outfits they were wearing to an extended-family gathering. My eyes bulged. The dresses drooped provocatively off the shoulder and offered
  • Negotiating Peace at Home
    I CALLED IT THE 7:42 P.M. FIGHT. It happened every night when my wife and I gathered to discuss the detritus of our lives. Who’s waking up early with the kids? Who’s going to take Grandma to the eye doctor? What do you mean you forgot to pick up the milk?
  • The Stories That Bind Us
    I hit the breaking point as a parent a few years ago. It was the week of my extended family’s annual gathering in August, and we were struggling with assorted crises. My parents were aging; my wife and I were straining under the chaos of young children; m
  • A Truce in the Bragging Wars
    MOMMY BLOGGERS (and their daddy counterparts, too) agree about almost nothing. Some favor co-sleeping; others do not. Some favor banning video games; others do not. Similar disputes surround breast-feeding, vaccines, cursing and whether it’s O.K. to force
  • Train a Parent, Spare a Child
    SOMEONE asked me recently what my New Year’s resolution was as a parent. Without thinking, I said, “more creative bribing.”
  • Exit Lines
    MY father spoke to his college roommate every day for 50 years. Though the two lived in different states, 800 miles apart, they were business partners, sounding boards and friends. Then one day my father called and his friend wasn’t there. He had died the
  • Maria Popova Has Some Big Ideas
    SHE is the mastermind of one of the faster growing literary empires on the Internet, yet she is virtually unknown. She is the champion of old-fashioned ideas, yet she is only 28 years old. She is a fierce defender of books, yet she insists she will never
  • Teaching Respect to the Faithful
    ALIA RAMER, a mother of three from Maplewood, N.J., first noticed the problem when her daughter was just reaching adolescence, the age when many Jewish children celebrate their bar and bat mitzvahs.
  • It's O.K. to Skip That Bake Sale
    THIS week my daughters will participate in a ritual my family has performed for almost 50 years. They will each make a sign that says “First Day of School” along with their grade and the name of their school. After breakfast, they’ll pose for pictures nex
  • The Father Is Child of the Man
    I HAD flown from New York to my hometown, Savannah, Ga., many times before — to introduce my girlfriend to my parents, to get married, to take my newborn twins for a visit. But this was the first time I was flying for the express purpose of taking care of
  • The Art of the Wedding Toast
    MY friend was distressed. His brother was getting married this summer, and he knew he would be expected to give a toast. Not just any toast, but one that would be funny, heartfelt and memorable.
  • A Nation Lulled to Sleep
    My wife and I were visiting my in-laws outside Boston. As we prepared to settle in for the night in their handsome, recently refurbished guest room, we faced a daunting task. First we had to deforest the bed of its four layers of pillows. Beyond the two s
  • Mourning in a Digital Age
    I HAVE found myself in a season of loss. Every few weeks for the last six months, friends in the prime of life have suffered the death of a close family member. These deaths included a mother, a father, a sister, a brother, a spouse and, in one particular
  • Curtain Up on Act II for the Tooth Fairy
    AFTER months of buildup, the moment arrived without fanfare. My 6-year-old daughter, Tybee, was reading a book after dinner, mindlessly wiggling her first loose tooth, when suddenly it popped out in her hand.
  • Can Gary Chapman Save Your Marriage?
    I HAD never heard the word “gonads” mentioned from a church pulpit. But on a picnic-perfect afternoon in August, as more than 1,000 people crowded into the Brentwood Hills Church of Christ outside of Nashville, Gary Chapman, a 73-year-old Southern Baptist
  • Snooping in the Age of E-book
    I RECENTLY attended a chaotic, kid-friendly gathering at the home of a friend. On my way to the bathroom to seek some solace, I decided to indulge in one of my favorite antisocial activities: scrutinizing someone else’s bookshelf. For a veteran sleuth, a
  • Our Plugged-In Summer
    WE had all the ingredients for a campfire. We had the wood, the kindling, the newspaper. We had the graham crackers, the marshmallows and the chocolate bars. We had the songbook. We even had T-shirts my mother-in-law had made with the nickname we voted on
  • The Life (and Death) of the Party
    I CALL it my insufferability test. It came about like this: A number of years ago, I was seated at a dinner party next to the celebrated C.E.O. of an American brewery. I was the lesser player here, so I began asking him questions about his beer.
  • What to Say to Someone Who's Sick
    MY friend sat down and ordered a stiff drink. I didn’t think of her as the stiff-drink kind. An hour later, after our spouses drifted off into conversation, she leaned over the table. “I need your help,” she said. “My sister has a brain tumor. I don’t kno
  • Take Back the Trash
    THE fight goes something like this: My wife and I are rummaging through the refrigerator after dinner, looking for space for the leftovers, when suddenly she goes on a jag against all the food that has overstayed its welcome. She starts madly purging, lik
  • Dominating the Man Cave
    BARELY eight hours after the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference championship games ended two weeks ago, Mike & Mike — the Laurel and Hardy combo of Mike Greenberg, a spry fashion-minded sportscaster; and Mike Golic, a do
  • What 'Modern Family' says about Modern Families
    IN his 1964 book “Understanding Media,” Marshall McLuhan helped define the modern age with his phrase, “The medium is the message.” Were he here nearly 50 years later, the critic would hardly be surprised to discover that in the most talked-about sitcom o
  • Should You Google at Dinner?
    When I was growing up, we used to play a game that went something like this: If you could invite any five people from history to dinner, who would it be? That game seems to have lost popularity of late, and I’m beginning to think I know why. These days, e
  • Time-Shifting Holidays
    It’s that time of year: the endless holiday parade of cooking, shopping, wrapping and congregating that in my family commences the Friday after Thanksgiving, when we sit down for a traditional meal of turkey, stuffing and canned-fruit compote — and conclu
  • For a Child, God's Back Story
    Not long ago, Eden, one of my 5-year-old twin daughters, bounded into my lap at bedtime and asked me if I would read her a book, “Bagels From Benny.” I had never seen this book before, nor had my wife. (I learned later it was a gift from her grandmother.)
  • The Corner Stall Office
    My friend Michael was facing a dilemma earlier this summer. He was running late at work; he was overdue to meet a friend; he needed to return the phone call of an important client, “a Broadway legend,” as he described her. So he did what many people do th
  • Married, but Sleeping Alone
    My grandparents had a secret. When I was growing up in Savannah, Ga., in the 1970s, my paternal grandparents lived in the house immediately behind us. (My uncle lived next door in a set-up my father likened to Faulkner.) But my grandparents did something
  • Turn Right, My Love
    I remember the first time I noticed. I was driving to Boston from my home in Brooklyn after an extended trip to California. In Los Angeles, the voice of my brand-new portable navigation device had guided me effortlessly through the maze of freeways and...
  • The Godparent Trap
    We've grown accustomed to London society scandals over the years on everything from money to sex to dental hygiene. (Who can forget the brouhaha over Martin Amis’s pricey new teeth?)
  • The Joys of Vicarious Divorce
    This summer my wife and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary. Unlike other anniversaries with their signature gifts — first (paper), 25th (silver), 50th (earplugs) — the seventh anniversary is famous for only one thing: the urge to cheat.