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The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours Paperback – May 12, 1993

22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

To help parents chart a course for their children based on traditional values--self-reliance, family, hard work, justice, the pursuit of knowledge and of brotherhood--Edelman, founder and president of the Childrens Defense Fund, effectively recounts her experience and vision in essays variously addressed to her own children, to all children and to parents. Edelman, who grew up in the segregated South and was the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi bar, recalls the community of her childhood where one child's accomplishments gave joy to all, where neighbors took care of each other and where parents instilled a sense of responsibility in their offspring. In the introduction the author's son Jonah examines the value and pressure of being raised by an African American mother and a Jewish father. 40,000 first printing; $40,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-- Edelman passes on the values of hard work, service, responsibility, and faith that her parents not only preached, but also lived. Her 25 lessons for life eloquently distill the essence of her rich heritage. Intended for her sons as they approach adulthood, the book is uniquely applicable to all races and creeds. The author's style is warm, personal, uplifting, and easy to read. The book has several uses: for personal searching for answers, guidance, or reassurance; for a curriculum unit on child-care; for a book discussion group. It should be required reading by anyone in a position to influence or change the future of America's most valuable resource, its children.
- Judy Sokoll, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 97 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 12, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060975466
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060975463
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #214,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marian Wright Edelman is the founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund. She is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours. She is the winner of many awards for her work, including a MacArthur Fellowship, the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award, a Heinz Award, and a Niebuhr Award. In 2000, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings. Edelman is a graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School. She and her husband live in Washington, D.C., and have three children and four grandchildren.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is truly one of the most oustanding books on success, Life fufillment and child care. The author gives some really powerful principles on success and achievement, such as never stop learning and improving your mind, Setting goals and working quietly and systematicly to achieve them and never giving up no matter what happens or struggles that you face.This book really inspired and motivated me to succeed and I believe anyone who puts it's principles to work will succeed to.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
I was moved deeply by this book. I have never felt so strongly about a book. I feel that it is a must for all members of my family and it is certainly on my wish list for all my friends and family. I'm sorry I did not learn of this book earlier.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Daniel L. Berek on December 20, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Drawing from inspirational experiences from her own childhood, Dr. Edelman talks to (not at) her own children, urging them, in whatever occupation they may choose, to serve the community at large. This is also a book for adults (parents, educators, and religious and community leaders) to read, to live a life of principles and a desire to somehow make the world a better place - in short, to serve as the strong, positive role model that so many of our children have had to do without.
The book is also an indictment on how American society and political leadership do a great job at paying lip service to the needs of children but fails miserably in their actions. Complaining, however, is not enough; if children are to grow up to be conscientious and caring citizens, adults must set a good example.
It's a small book with a big heart and a great message. I strongly recommend it to anyone who cares about children and social justice in general.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By stomv on July 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
The book is short -- less than 100 pages. Yet, I spent many more hours reading this book than most. Why? Edelman has the ability to really draw you into her heart and her mind. I found myself rereading pages, lessons, and chapters because I enjoyed them so much the first time. I've read this book cover to cover three or four times.
It's a wonderful, emotional, insightful, inspirational 97 pages. Buy two copies, and give one to your parents or children.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
Sometimes when we think our parents are about to talk to us, we automatically assume we will be in for another lecture. This book is not the case. The author takes the time to translate 25 mini-life lessons handed down to her by her parents and interprets them into the fail proof actions her children should follow in order to fully become productive members of our American society.
This is definitely what every parent, parent association, mentoring program, and teacher should read. It speaks volumes on so many issues that affect our children. It provokes one to action. It also sets a tone of excellence that can be realized in each child despite their race, gender, or economic status. It emphasizes drawing on the resources within to make it in life.
A valuable component is the author's challenge to have young people learn the value of serving others.
This is one book that reads easy and speaks a lot of truth. You must have it in your personal library collection.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mark B. Cohen on August 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
The author has written a book which combines traditional values with extraordinary wisdom and an eloquent statement of a needed American agenda to get children out of poverty. A black woman married to a somewhat prominent Jewish attorney (Peter Edelman) who has made his own impact on public policy, the author addresses this book to her three sons as they face growing up with the rare combination of being black, Jewish, and the sons of prominent people in the world of governmental policy-making.

The author protects her children's privacy, and gives us few personal anecdotes about them. She wants her children to successfully make their way in the world, and hopes that they will find the examples of their parents and grandparents to be inspiring and useful.

The heart of this book is the author's 25 lessons for life. It is a message of personal responsibility that the most hardened conservative would have problems disagreeeing with. But she breaks with conservatives in asking that the notion of personal responsibility cover responsibility for getting the government and other agents of society to take care of needy children even if their parents do not have the personal responsibility or the resources to do what they should do themselves.

Her 25 Lessons for Life are as follows: "(1) There is no free lunch. Don't feel entitled to anything you don't sweat and struggle for; (2) Set goals and work quietly and systematically toward them; (3) Assign yourself; (4) Never work just for money or for power.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
I wish I'd read this a lot soon. As a white foster mom of 2 afro-american girls, this is a treasury of wisdom, hope and promise. I will be sure both my foster daughters have a copy of this book and will hope that as they get older, they will refer to the wisdom and thoughts of Marian Wright Edelman with frequency and habit.
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