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10 1/2 Things No Commencement Speaker Has Ever Said Hardcover – May 7, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (May 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393074315
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393074314
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Likely to be a primary source for many a commencement speaker for some time to come . . . well-stocked with valuable (and whimsical) insights.” (Boston Globe)

About the Author

Charles Wheelan is the author of the internationally best-selling Naked Economics and Naked Statistics and a former correspondent for The Economist, and founder of The Centrist Party. He teaches public policy and economics at Dartmouth College and lives in Hanover, New Hampshire, with his family.

Customer Reviews

Good advise and put in a very readable format.
Gary
I purchased several copies of this book on the recommendation of one of my son's high school guidance counselors.
virginia29
Nevertheless, this is an outstanding book well worth reading and buying.
J. Davis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Wilson Trivino on May 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
One of the most unique opportunities I have had was when I was invited to be the commencement speaker at my undergraduate Alma mater Kennesaw State University. I did not really know what to share with these newly minted graduates. I had sat through my share of commencements and did not even remember my own undergraduate commencement speaker at my graduation.
Now there is a book that will help anyone in that dilemma. In 10 ½ Things No Commencement Speaker Has Ever Said by Charles Wheelan, the author shares wisdom that he wishes would have been in his hands as a new graduate.
Wheelan got a chance to share his thoughts to his own undergraduate school some twenty years after he left. These ideas are more than the mere pump you up I told you so but real good insight. The book expands from his lecture at the 2011 Class Day Speech at Dartmouth College.
From "your parents don't want what is best for you" they want what is good for you. Parents want their children to be able to survive on their own.
How "It's all borrowed time", this is so true. When we are young we believe our own mortality but we discover that life's a time sensitive adventure.
Most importantly I thought the best was "Don't try to be great" just be solid. Good character and ethic will in the long run not lead you a stray.
I won't list them all so that you will have to get the book, but these gems are a treasure for anyone at any age. It is the perfect gift for the newly minted graduate or someone that needs some might words of wisdom to renew their own journey.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Joe Tye on May 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have purchased this book for both of my adult children - both now pursuing doctoral degrees. I wish it had been written 40 years ago, and that I had read it then, and taken it's advice to heart (especially the part about seeking life experience before seeking work experience in the first year after college). The advice Wheelan gives, though, isn't just for people graduating from college - it's for people graduating into life. Highly recommended for anyone.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Davis on August 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I've been a big fan of Wheelan's since reading Naked Economics and this book is equally well-written,intelligent, and humorous. He combines his personal life experiences and some social science data to give advice to a graduating class at his alma mater. I enjoyed reading all of them. Number 7 1/2--surprisingly criticized as trite by another reviewer--was my personal favorite; here Wheelan explains why parents' advice is often misguided despite good intentions.

I would make two minor criticisms: 1. I don't know if one should take his advice and not strive to be great. Wheelan argues that aiming for greatness puts too much pressure on people. I think that's an oversimplification--How many great scientists/athletes/writers/etc. are only great becuase they were determined to be great), and 2. I question whether you can put an actual numerical value on a happy marriage (Wheelan gives a number of $100,000/yr). Nevertheless, this is an outstanding book well worth reading and buying.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
June is a beautiful time of year when, traditionally, couples get married and college graduates earn their degrees. What can be irritating for those who attend graduation exercises is listening to boring speeches that seem to last forever while the assembled throng snoozes, bakes in the sun (if the ceremony is outdoors on a bright day), and dreams of being somewhere else. Occasionally, however, a speaker gets up and tells graduates what they need to know rather than what they want to hear.

Forty-five year old Charles Wheelan (Dartmouth - class of 1988) is a professor of economics and public policy. "Ten and a Half Things No Commencement Speaker Has Ever Said" is adapted from remarks he made to Dartmouth's class of 2011. Professor Wheelan skipped the usual platitudes and dispensed "nonconventional advice." Instead of praising the students for their achievements and assuring them that the world was waiting eagerly for their contributions, he answered the following questions: What is "the good life" and how can we achieve it?

Wheelan warns young people not to be drudges. Although he acknowledges that it is meritorious to work hard towards a goal, doing so may, in some cases, be counterproductive. Those who are too focused on earning money and/or being successful may develop tunnel vision and fail to benefit from enriching social and recreational activities. For example, the author and his future wife, Leah, took time off after college and traveled around the world. Not only was their trip exciting and enjoyable, but it also made them more well-rounded, perceptive, and better equipped to tackle life's challenges.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. F. Crowe on May 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Book was interesting and has some good points.. Not for High School graduates but for college age kids. Some of the points include lessons more difficult to understand until too late.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Tian on April 15, 2015
Format: Hardcover
I've been the owner of a copy of this book for about two years now, and just had to finally leave a review.
This is one of the best life advice books I've ever read. Left it at my parents' house in China, and every time I visit them, I reread this book at least a couple of times.
It may be short, and takes only an hour and a half or so to read in its entirety, but there is a lifetime's worth of wisdom in here.
The writing style is great - lively, chatty, casual, and often humorous. Wheelan sure knows how to induce a few chuckles here and there.
What I find most amazing about this book is how applicable it is to my life. Sometimes the chapter will have a literal relevance to you, sometimes it's more symbolic, but either way, every time I read this book I gain new insights and find new ways to apply its advice to my life.
For example, in the very first chapter, he argues that the "time you spend in fraternity basements was well spent." If you are currently a frat boy or spend a lot of time in fraternities, this might have literal relevance to you. But to me, as a non-Greek, this book made me recognize and appreciate the relationships I have with other people and helped me prioritize things in my life.
Another example is his usage of the trip he and his wife made to the Himalayas as a symbol. In this trip, they took a hike that took several hours, only to not see anything at the top of the Himalayas because of the fog. Yet, they enjoyed themselves along the way. This example helped me remember that life is a journey, and does not necessarily have an ultimate end goal. Life isn't a game of "start to finish," and this chapter really helped me take pride and joy in the journey, even if the end result didn't come out as expected.
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More About the Author

Former correspondent for The Economist, current columnist for Yahoo!, and professor at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, Charles Wheelan lives in Chicago with his family.

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10 1/2 Things No Commencement Speaker Has Ever Said
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