32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Marlo Thomas has a home run with this one of a kind book that will hold the attention of readers of a variety of age groups. Because I come from a family of many men I was really impressed with the men who share their thoughts on words that have changed their lives so profoundly. From Tom Brokaw who admits he was a screw up and who had a professor tell him he needed to get his act together, to Jay Leno who had a school tell him in front of his parents that school wasn't for everybody.
And Mohammed Ali who was told by a teacher that he wouldn't ever amount to anything and how he won a Gold Metal at the Olympics and came back to school and placed the medal on the teachers desk and said the teacher was wrong. Very wrong.
Willie Nelson who while at law school (yes law school) was once again reminded that no one ever encouraged him, but the hymn Amazing Grace did and does to this day. And is the song he includes in every performance he does. And Paul McCartney who shared that his Mom had died when he was a teen and one night she came to him in a dream and told him to let it be....... that all would be ok. Her name was Mary and all these years most listeners of the Beatles song Let It Be have assumed it was the mother of Jesus, Mary whom the song speaks of, but it isn't. It was his Mother.
It was so surprising, yet refreshing that Marlo who is a well known feminist would go out of her way to ask conservative women/men to share their stories of words that changed their lives. Like Barbara Bush whose advise came from her parent and had to do with being a good example and listening well to ones children. And Laura Bush whose words came from her parent and involved laying on a blanket and looking up at the sky and being told that science was important even for a girl.
Or how about the actor Al Pachino whose words had to do with his alcoholism and how it was a good friend who said the right words at a time when he was drinking to much? Rather than words of condemnation and shame words that made him literally think about how often he lifted the glass of alcohol to his lips.
This is book that I am giving as a graduation present as well as a [present to a friend in a mid-life crisis since the stories are so varied and prove that words can either build a person up or tear them down. That thinking before you speak and speaking wisely, can be like lighting a candle in a dark world. The book literally left me in awe and even made me think about words that have changed my life. Words that were so positive and came from my parents.
Oh and ALL the proceeds of the book go to St Judes Hospital which cares for children whether their parents can afford it or not.
40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2004
To the few reviewers of this book who gave it a negative rating:
what's wrong with you?! You CLEARLY missed this point of this gem of a publication.
I was browsing around the bookstore at the local mall just passing time while my eye glasses were being repaired. I was standing near the bestsellers section, when for no particular reason, this book's cover caught my eye. I picked up a copy, glanced at it, flipped the pages, then discarded it back on the shelf and thought, uhgg, one of those chicken-soup, pseudo-inspirational, publications; you know, a book version of a "chick flick"...ah, no thanks. Then, and maybe it was the fact that I noticed the NY Times bestseller band at the top, or maybe the sincerity of Marlo's expression -- I don't know -- but I picked it up, again flipped through the selections until I found a contributor I recognized: Matt Groening. I read his, the another, then got to Mel Brooks..BAM..I was hooked. I've got to admit, the old widsom you can't judge a book by it's cover took on a literal truth in this case. When I glanced at the back cover and saw that all of the royalties of the book go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, I was instantly sold and proceeded to register to buy it.
The idea for this book and it's ultimate objective are both obvious and genious. Bravo Marlo and Friends!
This isn't literature, no, it's light reading with most entires being 3 or 4 pages; the contributions are from a diverse collection of musicians, actors, activists, entertainers, doctors, CEOs, journalists, politicians, direcors, writers, politicians, artists, and other people who are well known because of the success they've attained.
But the entries from the likes of Sidney Portier, Jay Leno,
and Itzhak Perlman are golden nuggets; personal experiences
of pivitol points in these contributors lives and given up in the name of charity -- awesome!
There are lessons and wisdoms in this book you can bank on. To say this book is replete with inspiration and would be an understatement. Best of all, you can read an entry in like 2 minutes!
If you don't buy this book, it's your loss.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2006
This lovely collection of inspirational essays is an excellent example of its genre. Filled with stories of ordinary people, it proves its one extraodinary theme: the right words said (or heard or read) at the right time -- regardless of the exact words or the person saying them -- can be a pivotal point in a life.
In the first volume of The Right Words at the Right Time, Marlo Thomas gathered 100 stories from well-known folks from a wide variety of fields: movies, science, politics, music, you name it. In the second volume, she collected the stories of the "average joe." And you find in both books that the "right words" were not necessarily profound. Most of the words were simple and sensible. Sometimes they were criticism. Sometimes they were even distinctly un-sensible. But they were the right words at the time.
You will discover that even if what you say is not profound, its effects can be. If you think about it, you'll remember the times that words have made a change in your life. What were they? Who said them? What was the effect? And when did you do the same for another person? All of these questions will come to you as you read. Because the stories reach right into the heart of some of the most meaningful experiences in our lives. We can't help but think and compare. And learn.
It is knowing that words can affect others that leads many of us who become clinical psychologists to that work. Much of the training is about being able to identify the right words and the right time and put them together. But as both volumes clearly show, anyone's words can be the right words at the right time.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
The Right Words said at the right time have the ability to change a person's life. The authors of the stories in this book are ordinary citizens. A simple word of thanks from a Burger King employee changed the attitude of a Navy sailor. That simple word of thanks made him proud to serve in the military again. Covering All the Bases is a story that contains the advice that it is important to pay attention to detail in everything we do in life. I liked the cute story of the woman who found love with someone over the Internet. The words that helped her connect with that person was a simple phrase from her childhood. The Chemistry Test is another good story with the message that anything is possible if you try hard enough. The author of this story took a very difficult chemistry test in high school. He learned that he could accomplish any obstacle, because he passed chemistry so many years ago. The story entitled Help is an excellent story submitted by a high school student named Jacqueline Sia. It is about friendship and having compassion for people. Just Getting Started is a beautiful story about a man who taught the people around him to live life to the fullest and never quit on anything. The Boy at Ground Zero is a very sad and touching story about how a man is affected by a little boy who lost his father on September 11th. I loved the story entitled Forty. The message of this story is that age is just a number, and that our accomplishments don't always have to follow a pattern and timetable. Within My Reach is an inspirational story about a man's determination to become a surgeon after losing one of his fingers in a car accident. This book is filled with moving stories and good advice. I enjoyed it very much.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
I really, really liked this book. In fact, as soon as I finished it I wanted to share it so I sent it (priority mail - no less!) to my friend in California.
I remember my dad saying "If something is worth doing, it's worth doing well" and that's in the book. Obviously those were words that came at the "right time" for me.
There's a lot in the book to think about. It's not a celebrity book by any means - its a people book. Words are very powerful and sometimes at the most unexpected times, they have such an impact on your life you never forget them. The same goes for this book.
It's to be enjoyed and then shared and remembered. Marlo Thomas has always gone for quality, not quantity. This one can sit proudly beside "Free to Be" - unless you send it to a friend.
Don't pass it by.
37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2002
Reading through the reviews written before mine, I am struck by the fact that "A Reader" could easily be one person, rather than several from various locations, who has submitted a few different reviews. It is not that I find A Reader's opinions so difficult to swallow (obviously, not everyone can enjoy every book) but it is the anger inherent in those reviews which I find dismaying. They convey the attitude of "how dare Marlo Thomas have something published which I don't care to read!"
Frankly, I don't go out of my way to buy and read "self-help" books of inspiration through the words of others. It was this specific collection of people that made me gravitate towards it. There are so many people represented here whom I respect and/or am interested in: Cal Ripken Jr., Itzhak Perlman, Anna Quindlen, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, etc. I wanted to read the words and deeds that at one time or another helped them. No, I do not expect the effects to last my lifetime, I do not expect to be miraculously changed by the different stories, but it seems to me that at this particular moment in the world's history, perhaps reading of Uta Hagen's mother's opening night advice, Dennis Miller's thank you to Jay Leno or Senator John McCain's sense of patriotism will brighten a particularly dark mood. A suggestion: start with the wonderful "essay" by Mike Nichols.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I bought this book out of curiousity and found it to be special. Ms. Thomas beautifully illustrates the serendipity of life and its impact on our life's direction. Her collaborators share their stories of events and words that shaped their lives...for some it was a subtle word, for others it was a major event.
As important as these words and events were, they were not as obvious for those transformed until years later when they could look back seeing the fork in the road and the direction the event/word took them. The shared stories come from all walks of life. The book is a good reminder for all on how each of us has the power to impact and transform another's life in a positive way every day.
This is a great gift idea, especially for those who are in transition (between careers or stages of life), or are weathering one of life's storms.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2002
I'm not really sure I get the point of this book. By the title, I expected some genuinely stimulating food for thought, but I felt instead as if I were force-fed some rather bland mounds of cotton candy fluff. Too many Forrest Gump-isms. Too populated with celebrities and movie stars expounding on their alleged "deep thoughts." Celebrities are given far too much credence here in America, as though the amount of media coverage they receive entitles them to be the gospel-speaking arbiter of mores and values. Many of these people are not heroes, nor are they responsible for any great contributions to mankind: they don't impress me in the least.
The most interesting stories are those who experienced TRUE adversity - such as John McCain's harrowing account as a POW in Vietnam; artist quadriplegic Chuck Close, overcoming a spinal collapse; Rudolph Giuliani's leadership in the events of 9/11/01; Quincy Jones and his colleagues' battles with racism; Ellen DeGeneres and the appalling treatment she received for admitting her sexuality (death threats no less) -- these and a few others are compelling tales.
There are as well, stories which have a true point and slant:
Jimmy Carter's tribute to an inspirational figurehead; Dr. David Ho's dedication to wiping out AIDS; Martin Sheen's activist roles (and admiration for a brave colleague who took a different stance to dealing with a country under fire; Paul Newman's obvious touching pride at how his Newman's Own line has been able to help sick children; Ralph Nader's defining moment of obtaining the true meaning of independence --there are some moments to ponder upon here.
Tom Wolfe's story, involving a response to a loud "booer' at one of his lectures, is a humorous, wittily told account.
The defining capping moment is provided by the Dalai Lama - in just a few short sentences, delivers the most inspiring message of all, one for the ages.
But I would have liked more sharply limned opinions, a more firmly-taken stand for causes, issues, political beliefs, or a really STRONG view of life as it is living today, and how it could be improved, what has been bettered, what is worse. A lot of these micro-personal accounts as presented in this book simply don't add up to much. Mind you: there's nothing WRONG with the majority of these stories, and they appear to be sincerely, genuinely told. There's just very few truly "Right Words" ~~ meaning, there's just way too few consecrating, profound words to really make a difference.
A sincere effort which doesn't quite emerge as a memorable one.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2006
We have always heard that 'a picture is worth a thousand words'. But no one has been able to quantify the value of having 'the right words at the right time'. Well, I guess that it is priceless.
Marlo Thomas was operating at an optimum gear when she put pen and paper to work. The narrations of this book are informative, entertaining, and reinvigorating. Effortlessly, they exposed a series of thoughtful and indispensable acts, which make the difference between men and boys. Words are truly supreme! They venture where no picture ever can: in expressing thoughts, locked-up emotions, uncanny desires, delirium, and so forth.
This book is about coping with various real life events. It is dynamic, exuberant, and realistic. The writing style of the author is commendable. Readers are bound to savor the rich but surprisingly fragile twists, which continue to give life its enduring essence. Another good effort by Marlo!
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2006
This is such a fasinating book and i can't get over how Marlo Thomas must of felt when all the stories and right words were flooding in around her.This is a book about the truth.This is a book about life and life itslef, and how we deal to cope woth what it throws at us.These are the real people of America.Right words are Living words, and they bring alive the very meaning of life itslef.This book is possibly the best book i have ever read.I'm even getting a shivver done my spine as I'm writting this now.Thomas has put together some of the best and brightest right words and memories form the public, just like you and me.
Sam Worral rating:5 stars.