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A Short Guide to a Happy Life [Kindle Edition]

Anna Quindlen
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (224 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $12.95
Kindle Price: $8.84
You Save: $4.11 (32%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

From the author of Blessings and Still Life with Bread Crumbs, Anna Quindlen’s classic reflection on a meaningful life is the perfect gift for graduation, or any occasion.

“Life is made of moments, small pieces of silver amidst long stretches of tedium. It would be wonderful if they came to us unsummoned, but particularly in lives as busy as the ones most of us lead now, that won’t happen. We have to teach ourselves now to live, really live . . . to love the journey, not the destination.”

In this treasure of a book, Anna Quindlen, the bestselling novelist and columnist, reflects on what it takes to “get a life”—to live deeply every day and from your own unique self, rather than merely to exist through your days. “Knowledge of our own mortality is the greatest gift God ever gives us,” Quindlen writes, “because unless you know the clock is ticking, it is so easy to waste our days, our lives.” Her mother died when Quindlen was nineteen: “It was the dividing line between seeing the world in black and white, and in Technicolor. The lights came on for the darkest possible reason. . . . I learned something enduring, in a very short period of time, about life. And that was that it was glorious, and that you had no business taking it for granted.” But how to live from that perspective, to fully engage in our days? In A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Quindlen guides us with an understanding that comes from knowing how to see the view, the richness in living.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews Review

"I'm not particularly qualified by profession or education to give advice and counsel," confesses author Anna Quindlen, as she begins this tender little instruction book. "It's widely known in a small circle that I make a mean tomato sauce, and I know many inventive ways to hold a baby while nursing, although I haven't had the opportunity to use any of them in years."

It is precisely this commonplace form of wisdom that make readers trust and respect Quindlen. She uses her candid, heart-to-heart narrative voice along with her novel-writer descriptive skills to show readers how good we have it: "Life is made up of moments, small pieces of mica in a long stretch of glittering gray cement." Later she urges readers to "Look at the fuzz on a baby's ear. Read in the backyard with the sun on your face." The format smacks of "gift book," with an abundance of pleasing, artsy photographs. Don't be ashamed to fall for the packaging, though. This is one of those books that could remain in the living room for years or in the family for generations. --Gail Hudson

From Booklist

The beloved Newsweek columnist on how to get a life. Little as well as short. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 2385 KB
  • Print Length: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (April 1, 2001)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000QCS9KK
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,618 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
289 of 297 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration and More November 4, 2000
Tuesday I was at the bookstore when it opened to buy this book. I bought a copy for myself and one for my daughter, then went to sit on a bench overlooking the ocean to read it.
This tiny gem of a book contains many thoughts that are just common sense until you see them written down. Then they become points to ponder, to think about and mull over in your mind and heart. Which is exactly what I did after finishing...I sat and looked out at the sea, thinking about what I had just read.
Much of the text of this book was part of a commencement address that Quindlen was to give at Villanova. She released the speech after she cancelled and I have been told that it was so well-received that she was asked to put it into book form.
This is a book to savor and to read over and over again and to give as a gift to a loved one. I plan to return to the bookstore to buy several more copies.
Some of the thoughts in the book:
On life: "there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on a bus, or in a car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul."
On being a mother, a wife, and a friend: "I show up. I listen. I try to laugh."
On being charitable and good to others: "if you do not do good... then doing well will never be enough."
And on living for today: "I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get.
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229 of 237 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good common sense applied November 10, 2000
By A Customer
This is a great little book. It seems like we all know what the aurhor is saying but we need a gentle reminder each day. If you are looking for a gift for a loved one, I would recommend that you buy this book and the book An Encounter With A Prophet and combine the books as one gift. Little is the only negative about the entire book. I wish there was more of it
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122 of 128 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work." October 31, 2000
Most books take the vantage point of the author being an expert in the
subject or a celebrity. A Short Guide to a Happy Life claims to come
from neither foundation, even though the Ms. Anna Quindlen will be
well-known to many for her best-selling books and Newsweek
Instead her perspective in this book is a humble and common
one, that of someone who experienced what we will all experience in
due course, but at an earlier age -- the loss of her mother to ovarian
cancer when her mother was 40 and the author was 19. That early loss
changed Ms. Quindlen's perspective on life, and she thinks it will
eventually and should now change yours, too. "Do you think you'd
care so very much about [your career] if you developed an aneurysm one
afternoon, or found a lump in your breast while in the shower?"

She describes her qualifications for describing the happy life,
"I am a good mother to three children. I have tried to never let
my profession stand in the way of being a good parent."

"I am a good friend to my husband."
"I am a good
friend to my friends, and they to me." ....
Now that you have
the perspective, what is Ms. Quindlen's prescription for you:
"Get a life in which you are not alone." "All of us
want to do well. But if we do not do good too, then doing well will
never be enough."
The simplicity and ordinariness of that
perspective gives it a power and eloquence that the expert and the
famous person cannot command.
But what was remarkable for me was
the insight that she shares with us, that I would never have developed
on my own....
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71 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful November 13, 2000
A beautifully written essay (combined with exquisite black-and-white photos) about what's really important in life ("It's so much easier to write a resumé than to craft a spirit"). It's very short; it's the kind of book that can be read in one sitting. However, it's also the kind of book that SHOULD be read over and over again. Highly recommended for anyone who's grown tired of the urgency addition that pervades the normal American lifestyle.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful words to live by!! November 10, 2000
Having lost my beloved 12 year old son to brain cancer, I am always drawn to authors who have faced adversity & loss in their own lives. Anna knows in her heart of hearts how to look at the sky for beauty and hope, so she can teach us something....which she certainly does in this wonderful little book. She gives new meaning to the words "get a life" to use our losses to help us see the real beauty of each day. I shall certainly buy this book for my college-age daughter. Thanks, Anna!
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61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing January 20, 2002
By A Customer
I have always liked Anna Quindlen's writing, but this book was truly disappointing. There is not much more to this tiny book than "you should get a life, and appreciate it." Over half the pages are unoriginal stock photos (and black and white at that).
If you want a little book filled with truly thought-provoking advice on living a happy life, I highly recommend "Open Your Mind, Open Your Life" by Taro Gold.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars ... size of the book and the info I feel like I was ripped off
nothing wrong with the advice here
just not anything I have not seen or heard before
for the size of the book and the info I feel like
I was ripped off. Read more
Published 22 hours ago by anthony palucci
1.0 out of 5 stars Ridiculous!
I would give this zero stars if possible. It is ridiculously short and very unhelpful.
Published 29 days ago by margaret hayward
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Nice book…….
Published 1 month ago by Martha
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
overall the book was what i expected and a good coffee table book. nothing riveting though!
Published 1 month ago by Emilia
5.0 out of 5 stars A great graduation gift
I am a college teacher and I buy copies of this book for my favorite seniors when they graduate. Anna is the best!
Published 2 months ago by WorkingMom
4.0 out of 5 stars Appreciate Every Moment
Very quick read. Helped me to remember to appreciate every moment. Love her writing so much.
Published 2 months ago by lauriej
5.0 out of 5 stars I love Anna Quindlen
I love Anna Quindlen. A lot. And this is just the sweetest little book ever. Awesome gift for a graduation - or any occasion. It's deep-level insightful and beautiful. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Julie Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fast delivery, as advertised
Published 3 months ago by Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous read
This is my go to book when I need to put life in perspective! I hope you enjoy it as much as i do!
Published 4 months ago by lynda kosnik
2.0 out of 5 stars too expensive
An article not a book. Really disappointed. Also it was a rehash of trite quotes I have heard before. Should be able to get refunds.
Published 4 months ago by amazon fan
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More About the Author

Anna Quindlen is the author of three bestselling novels, Object Lessons, One True Thing and Black and Blue, and three non-fiction books, Living Out Loud, Thinking Out Loud and A Short Guide to a Happy Life. Her New York Times column 'Public and Private' won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992. She is currently a columnist for Newsweek and lives with her husband and children in New York.

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