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Take My Advice: Letters to the Next Generation from People Who Know a Thing or Two Paperback – September 24, 2007

4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the spirit of Rainer Maria Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet, Harmon's tongue-in-cheek collection of words to live by should become a new classic. Over the past 10 years, he queried hundreds of social thinkers, academics, poets, artists and more--and received some fantastic responses. As Harmon says, "I would be a complete ingrate not to share those thoughts." And so, Mary McCarthy advises, "Be truthful... and pay attention. I would also recommend the avoidance of credit cards." Anita O'Day suggests, "Just get up there and let it rip!" Dr. Laura Schlessinger counsels, "Never sell your soul." And Katharine Hepburn recommends, "Work as hard as you can, whatever you do, and try to spread generosity of spirit."
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Determined not to make a "warm, gooey book with the shelf lifeof a banana," artist and writer Harmon asked a wide range of authors,activists, artists, radicals, journalists, and academics to offertheir advice to a new generation just reaching adulthood. Theresulting "letters" range from shocking to straightforward, intenselypersonal to generic, and the views are slanted far to the artisticleft. There's sound advice: "Look for independent sources ofinformation." And less sound advice: on the necessity of travel, onecontributor scolds, "Don't say you can't afford it. In a pinch you canalways smuggle something." And there's the completely outrageous:"Beware of whores who say they don't want money. The hell theydon't." The best selections are wise, realistic, and not coddling,and they offer fine, provocative browsing to world-wearytwentysomethings with artistic aspirations. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (September 24, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416578358
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416578352
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #838,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In the unbelievably commercialized world we live in, this book comes as a breath of fresh air telling college graduates how they should think as they head out into the world. Since most of the advisors are artists, their advice isn't likely to help you make a lot of money! However, I firmly believe that artists hold the key to the future because they alone refuse to buy into the dominant cultural/political system (in this case, mindless consumerism) and seek ways of framing new modes of thought. For this reason, this book should be read by anyone discontented with sheer consumerism and searching for a better way to live. What's especially telling is how many of these artists suggest that we stop watching TV!
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Format: Hardcover
because of the colorful list of contributors, folks like Richard Powers, Tom Robbins, William S. Burroughs, Alexander Theroux, Judith Butler, William T. Vollmann, Robert Creeley, Ken Kesey, R. U. Sirius, et al.--not your usual advice-mongerers. An especially appealing feature is the young photographs of many of the contributors: Camille Paglia at her first job, Quentin Crisp as a young exquisite, and a drop-dead glamorous photo of philosopher Martha Nussbaum as a college freshman that will make you weak in the knees. And the advice is more frank and useful than you'll find in most books of this ilk.
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Format: Hardcover
There are 79 fascinating original essays in this collection that were gathered together over a period of ten years from public figures who give out their advice, wisdom, and reflections on life. The book is chuck full of insight from people like Quentin Crisp, Bette Davis, William S. Burroughs, Katharine Hepburn, and others. Joe Dallesandro, star of Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey's late 60's cult films, "Flesh, Trash, and Heat" offers some excellent advice in his essay. He states, "The negative aspect of beauty in our culture is our obsession with it - like when a person becomes bulimic or anorexic because they want to look like a celebrity or a model in a magazine. He further states, "Beauty is fun, it has its place, but don't mistake it for self-worth". In other words we need more than beauty and good looks to feel fulfilled. We need to look inside ourselves and find inner beauty and true meaning in our lives. Once in a while we should forget the "me" and lend a helping hand to others who need us. Good advice.

You may not agree with all of the advice being dished out in these essays, but it is a fascinating look into the lives of these famous and not so famous individuals, and the way they think. It will also make you think a little more deeply yourself, and provide you with plenty of interesting advice to digest and compare with your own beliefs. Harmon has done an excellent job in bringing these people's thoughts into our own thoughts. This is a book I certainly will read again!
Joe Hanssen
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Format: Hardcover
I believe I picked up my first copy of 'Take My Advice' at some sort of clearance sale. Not long after I returned to purchase another copy to give to a good friend of mine. She had just graduated and I could not wait to share this book with someone. The editor did a great job of picking a wide variety of people to write essays on advice to the young. Very insightful. Very personal. I also enjoyed seeing the candid photos of the contributors from their youth. This book really struck a chord with me.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is filled with advice from a wide array of writers, artists, philosophers, photographers, poets, critics and even a sexologist.
I came across this book by fluke one day, and it turned out to be one of the most rewarding books I have ever read. After reading this, I felt uplifted, inspired and viewed success from a new angle. If you are a person obsessed with chasing the almighty dollar, I would not recommend this book. It only gives advice on the things in life that truly matter.
This book was created in order to give advice to the young, the people who are just starting out. But yet, I believe it to still be a useful tool to those growing older, for a person is never too old to learn or to grow. If you want things to change, it is best to start with yourself.
I will leave you with some sample pieces of advice given by the writer Lucius Shepard:
"Just because you're living on the edge doesn't mean that you don't have to do the right thing.
Run like hell if you have to, but try not to hurt anyone.
If you get ahead of the game, let some of your money loose in the world where it can do some good, and chances are that good thing will come back around.
Make sure you know whomever you have to trust.
Take the cash and flush the credit cards."
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By C A on September 6, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some great advise...introduced to a lot cool thinkers i never heard of...and that's a good thing.
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By Diane on December 2, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was a little disappointed. it wasn't appropriate to send to my teenage granddaughter.
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