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Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments: Finding Personal Meaning in a Crazy World Hardcover – April 29, 2002

4.8 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

As the story goes, author Kent M. Keith was a sophomore at Harvard University in the 1960s when he first wrote "The Paradoxical Commandments," a manifesto about doing good in a crazy, ungrateful world. These commandments are the basis of his repackaged and expanded book Anyway. Since his Harvard days, Keith's commandments have taken on a life of their own. They have been quoted by the Boy Scouts of America and written on inspirational office memos, classroom handouts, and Internet sites around the world. They have even been discovered in Mother Teresa's children's home in Calcutta. Now Keith has stepped forward to explain his commandments and speak to his credo for doing "the right thing." Readers will probably recognize the commandments:

1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
3. If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
6. The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
7. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
9. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
10. Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

No doubt about it--these are provocative and encouraging statements, reminding us that there are no guarantees or tangible rewards for doing good in the world. Each commandment gets its own chapter, where Keith elaborates on the theme with personal anecdotes, famous stories, and advice. Though Keith is obviously a gifted and wise leader, the words and explanations surrounding each commandment often feel like overkill. As in Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, these guidelines ultimately make a better poster than a book. Even so, fans of the original "Paradoxical Commandments" will certainly enjoy meeting the voice and integrity of the man behind the words. --Gail Hudson

About the Author

Kent M. Keith earned his B.A. from Harvard and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and Waseda University in Tokyo. He holds a law degree as well as a doctorate in education. Keith has served in the cabinet of the governor of Hawaii, and has also been an attorney and a university president. Currently, he is the senior vice-president of Development and Communications for the YMCA of Honolulu.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; 1st edition (April 29, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399149457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399149450
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #861,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"Love begets Love." -Theodore Roethke

Kent M. Keith first wrote these commandments when he was 19. What a concept! He challenged himself to do what he felt was right even if people responded in the wrong ways. More than 25 years later, he discovered that Mother Teresa had hung these commandments on the wall of her children's home in Calcutta. This book was first published in 1968.

His Commandments show you that you should not limit yourself by what other people think of you. Some people are just difficult to love and some never give you the approval you may crave. Your parents may never be happy with your current position in life, you may always think that your parents could have done a better job in parenting, you can at times be disappointed that your friends don't show you unconditional love.

Sometimes people can be illogical and unreasonable. They may see the world in a completely different way and to your mind, they make absolutely no sense. It helps to see why they are viewing the world the way they are. So many times you learn about one fact in a person's life and your entire concept of them can change.

I think there are moments in life when people decide not to love others and supreme moments when people decide to love no matter what. It seems many people either don't show love because they don't approve of certain people or they simply don't have the time to reach out to people. You can literally shut your heart away in a little box inside of you or you can open that box and let all that love flow out. It is really up to you.

Kent says that:

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Paradoxical Commandments are some simple commandments that combine to make an excellent philosophy for living. The author teaches the joys and virtues of doing good things for the sake of doing them, without expecting yourself to be advanced or bettered in any way, and doing them even when it puts you at risk of becoming vulnerable or gaining false friends and true enemies.
Each chapter is just a few pages long, perfect for reading a chapter a night before turning out the light, which is what I've been doing. The result has been countless little situations during the day - choices between good and bad, right and wrong - during which these little "commandments" come to mind.
This is a wonderful read for anyone, especially those who sometimes wonder if even the little daily choices we each make make any difference. The author shows you they really do.
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Format: Hardcover
Sometimes the simplicity of a good message is what makes it work. When my Mom and Dad gave me a copy of this book, I have to admit, I was worried that they had paid so much for a book that didn't seem "thick" enough. In reality, it was one of the best books I have ever read, and I think that I remember its message so vividly because it wasn't filled with fluff.
I just used its message today (which I won't give away) to inspire me to continue down the right road in spite of some obstacles.
Every one of my kids (all four of them) will read this book before they leave our house. Thanks, Mr. Keith for helping me with discernment on today's issue and every other time I have remembered your message. God bless you.
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Format: Hardcover
Short and sweet and a very, very easy read, this book is the kind of book that just makes you think "how nice". It is the kind of book that makes you feel good, the kind of book that, if your in a bit of a down mood or stuck in a rut, could be just what you need to re-energize your life.
If you are not an avid motivational or spiritual reader, only occasionaly reading material of this nature, this book is IDEAL. It has just enough content to make you think about your actions and your place in the scheme of things, without getting overly deep or philosophical. If everyone read this book and really thought about and made an effort to apply it's priciples, the world would be a really fabulous place.
I didn't rate the book 5 stars only because I prefer books with more content and insite and none of the ideas presented were new. It was just too simple for my taste... but hey... READ IT ANYWAY! It is definitely worth the very short investment of time it takes to do so!
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Format: Hardcover
As a psychotherapist and as an author (Embracing Fear, HarperSanFrancisco) I have spent the better part of 20 years realizing --- then teaching --- that for life to be good, it must be meaningful, and that the respect we most need to earn is our own. "Anyway" by Kent Keith is a clear, concise and clever expression of these two essential points. Great truths are simple truths, and this book is full of them.
Order at least five (5) copies; you will want to share this one. Sure it's more expensive to buy five copies, but do it anyway.
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Format: Hardcover
His Commandments have shown me that I should not limit myself by what other people think of me. Some people are just difficult to love and some never give will give me the approval I may need or want. The author teaches me the joys and virtues of doing good things for the sake of doing them, without expecting myself to be advanced or bettered in any way, and doing them even when it puts me at risk of becoming vulnerable. I believe that when we allow ourselves to love than we can receive love. It is important for me to know that I have people in my life who care and want to be there for me. This book has shown me to always try and help my friends, family, or even strangers just because I want to not for any selfish reasons.
I believe I will always try and remember these commandments when I am teaching. I think that I will put them up in my classroom as encouragement for my students as well as myself. I can use some of the commandments, as classroom rules to help my students better understand what I am looking for. Dr. Kent M. Keith is a great man with a great mind. I think that I will try my best to follow these commandments just because they are cool, very realistic, right to the point, easy to read, and easy to understand. I really liked the book and I will buy the hard copy to keep in my library at home and in my classroom.
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