As a parent, Bruce Feiler was frustrated by the "stale" ideas from the "family improvement industry," on what it takes to have a happy family life. That's what led him to write his new book The Secrets of Happy Families.
Feiler spent time talking with the military, corporate America, leaders in silicon valley and more to get tips on how they have built successful teams and how to apply their ideas to family life.
"In all these other areas... there are these new ideas of how to make teams and groups function effectively. I wanted to find out what those folks were doing with their families, then we tested them in my house."
Of all the new concepts in the book, Feiler told David his favorite was the "do you know test." This is the idea that teaching children more about their family history will have a positive impact on their lives.
"Kids who knew more about their family history [had] greater self-confidence and a better willingness to take control of their lives." He added that research showed it was the "number one predictor" of a child's well-being.
In all, Feiler's message is that, just like anything else in people's lives, families require work. "Our family is the central, the defining, the core relationship that we have and we don’t spend a lot of time working on it."
Although, Feiler says, parents do not need to completely restructure their lives to be a happy family, rather, take it in small steps.
"You don’t need to rearrange everything. Take small steps, accumulate small things. There are things you can do to make your family happier and if you do, you’ll better prepare your kids to enter the world."
Watch David's entire interview with Bruce Feiler above for more tips from the author including why it might not be such a bad idea to cancel family dinner night.