Customer Reviews: If This Isn't Nice, What Is?: Advice to the Young-The Graduation Speeches
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on December 28, 2013
If you love Vonnegut, of course you’ll love this. A lot of it will seem familiar, but who cares. A lot of it is repeated. Again, who cares? He is smart, witty, cynical, genius. If you don’t have everything by Vonnegut yet, this should not be at the top of your list, but once you've read everything by him and you want more, get it. It’s not Vonnegut at his best, but even when he’s mediocre, he’s better than most.
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on March 22, 2014
This was a quick and interesting collection of speeches given by Kurt Vonnegut, mostly to graduating college classes. Though every speech was different, there were definitely a few repeating themes. Well worth a read, and uplifting for the most part. I enjoyed it and I think some of the ideas will stick with me.
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on April 13, 2014
I love Vonnegut. Reading his grocery shopping list would be enjoyable, entertaining and informative. This book is all of that and more.
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on September 25, 2013
I give Vonnegut's compilation of speeches a solid three stars, as it was a very quick and enjoyable read. Although mildly redundant--how could it not be given the similar themes throughout most of his speeches--and sometimes a bit too sarcastic-ly cynical in my opinion, I still appreciated his thoughts and perspective. What I liked best was his assertion that being happy and not realizing it is the most tragic waste of all. So, he pleads, notice when little things make you smile. Remember and recount these moments, for they are happiness.
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I love Kurt Vonnegut, and I love many of the words of wisdom that appear in this book. It was a nice idea to compile these speeches into one volume. That said, the book is very short, and there is much overlap among the speeches. The same phrases and ideas are mentioned over and over. I don't think Mr. Vonnegut set out to write a "fresh" speech every time his services were requested. Nevertheless, I bought a hardcover copy for both of my boys, who are 18 and 25. I think the book makes a nice gift for young people, despite its shortcomings. If you're looking to read this book yourself, though, and you have a Kindle, I would definitely borrow it instead of buying it, and save yourself a few bucks.
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on May 18, 2014
Kurt Vonnegut was a wise and hilarious man, as well as a creative genius, so I was glad to read his graduation speeches. Still, having several of his speeches in one book reminded me that even geniuses have formulas, and Vonnegut certainly had his own version of a speech. I found the formula a bit tiring after the first few speeches, but I did appreciate the chance to read some of Vonnegut's words of wisdom, and I have found myself saying, "If this isn't nice, what is?" all the time now!
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on September 12, 2014
If you've read Vonnegut's fiction you won't find a lot new here but his graduation speeches do a good job of distilling his overall worldview. The speeches do repeat themselves a bit. Not to the point where you would say read one, read them all but enough that they echo each other. If you haven't read any Vonnegut and want a concise view into his opinions this is a great place to look. If you love his message as I do and want a book you can read to remind yourself of why you love his message this is a good book to have. My only caveat is that if you are well versed in Vonnegut you won't find much new here.
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on June 1, 2014
Great collection. Wry, wise, and funny. Love his line that those who want to post the Ten Commandments in public places never suggest that we post the Beatitudes.He quotes Twain that the object of life is for otherss to hold us in high regard. Lots of gems sprinkled througout. Good introuction by Dan Wakefiled. Oh the book's titile? When he and his uncle would hang put on a nice day, the uncle would look around and say, "if this isn't nice, what is?" A good mindset to live by.
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on March 5, 2015
This was my first run in with Kurt Vonnegut, though I have heard a lot about his published work and his reputation as a exceptional writer. Unfortunately this was not the best book to jump into, While trying to get a taste for his work. A novelist may be amazing at what he does, but for some it doesn't always translate into their speeches.

This is a collection of graduation speeches throughout the years, and across the country. He brings up many intriguing points, while sharing his opinions on various topics. Some speeches had a couple great jokes. But unfortunately most of the time his humor was lost in the dated references he used. In other situations I found the topic to be lost while he was drifting into a completely unrelated anecdote. It felt more like a grasp at straws then a witty joke or attempt to switch in topics.

All in all it was a bit boring, and more of a burden to read then a satisfying read. I found the book to be repetitive. Many speeches had the same points, and even same lines. It's understandable that he would use the same joke or same anecdote in speeches at different universities, but in a book its daunting to get through.

I am thankful to have had the opportunity to read this book, which I won via Goodreads Giveaways. It's unfortunate that I wasn't able to give it more than a 2 star rating. I believe in honest reviews. I think If I were able to hear them first hand maybe they would have had more impact. Unfortunately reading this book just fell short of any expectations.
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on July 18, 2014
I personally love Kurt Vonnegut. This particular volume is a collection of speeches given mostly at graduation ceremonies. While not as exciting as some of the recent releases since his death, this one is worth the cost if you are truly a Vonnegut nut. It does tend to repeat and there is really nothing totally exciting, but hey, this is Vonnegut and a must for a complete collection.
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