30 Lessons for Living

30 Lessons for Living

Tried and True Advice From the Wisest Americans

Book - 2011
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More than one thousand extraordinary Americans share their stories and the wisdom they have gained on living, loving, and finding happiness.

After a chance encounter with an extraordinary ninety-year-old woman, renowned gerontologist Karl Pillemer began to wonder what older people know about life that the rest of us don't.

His quest led him to interview more than one thousand Americans over the age of sixty-five to seek their counsel on all the big issues- children, marriage, money, career, aging. Their moving stories and uncompromisingly honest answers often surprised him. And he found that he consistently heard advice that pointed to these thirty lessons for living. Here he weaves their personal recollections of difficulties overcome and lives well lived into a timeless book filled with the hard-won advice these older Americans wish someone had given them when they were young.

Like This I Believe , StoryCorps's Listening Is an Act of Love , and Tuesdays with Morrie , 30 Lessons for Living is a book to keep and to give. Offering clear advice toward a more fulfilling life, it is as useful as it is inspiring.

Publisher: New York : Hudson Street Press, c2011.
ISBN: 9781594630842
Branch Call Number: 305.26 Pillemer 11/2011
Characteristics: xiii, 271 p. ;,24 cm.
Alternative Title: Thirty lessons for living


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Oct 14, 2016

Decent, but the anonymity of the anecdotes make it a little less appealing. It's nice to know who exactly the "wisest Americans" are. For a happy read, I recommend it.

May 28, 2012

Great insights. Worth a read.

May 21, 2012

Pillemer interviewed over 1,000 Americans between the ages of 65 and 110, from all walks of life, to learn the most important lessons about living successfully. He called the subjects “experts” in living. They are not academic experts or sociologists but people who have been there, have experienced long lives and can reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Many had experienced the Great Depression and World War II.

The results of the interviews are distilled the into 6 major themes - marriage, work and career, parenting, aging, living without regrets, choosing happiness - with 5 lessons in each.

Some of the ideas are obvious, some less so. In many areas there was almost total consensus among the “experts”. The importance of choosing the right partner, being honest and living by the “Golden Rule” were emphasized. Money and material possessions are much less important than relationships, experiences and enjoying life’s simple daily pleasures. Perhaps the most important lesson, also a consensus, is the importance of Time. Life is short. We should not waste it on things that don’t matter or on worrying about things we can’t affect.

The book is very well organized and well written. Each chapter concludes with a summary of the five lessons presented in it. The text is clear and concise, making the book very readable.

One could say that this is just another self-help book with lots of good advice, most of which we have heard before in one form or another. However, the fact that the advice is a result of the reflections of a large group of real people looking back on real lives makes it more compelling. The book is worth reading and can stimulate some valuable contemplation on our own values and life-choices.


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