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Things Don't Have To Be Complicated: Illustrated Six-Word Memoirs by Students Making Sense of the World (TED Books) [Kindle Edition]

Larry Smith
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description

What would you say if you had just six words to define your life? That’s the challenge Larry Smith presented to his online community, SMITH Magazine, in 2006. His quest was inspired by the legend that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a novel in just six words. His heartbreaking result: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Giving the form a personal twist, Smith reimagined the six-word novel idea as the Six-Word Memoir, challenging contributors to create a half-dozen words of self-reflection. The constraint, it turned out, fueled rather than inhibited creativity: “Sometimes lonely in a crowded bed.” “My life made my therapist laugh.” “Wasn’t born a redhead — fixed that.” “I still make coffee for two.” Inspired by Six Words’ popularity in English classes and art classes alike, Smith recently called for submissions for illustrated Six-Word Memoirs, in which he asked students, whether in grade school or grad school, to create a piece of artwork that enhanced their memoirs. The voices in 'Things Don’t Have to Be Complicated' are younger than those of previous memoirists, but no less profound: “Said he loved me, he lied.” “Two girls, both of them me.” “Big dreams, big heart, big mouth.” “I’m a Muslim, not a terrorist.” “Life is better with headphones on.” This book contains dozens more. At its core, the Six-Word Memoir offers a simple way for anyone of any age to try to answer the question that defines us all: Who am I?

Product Details

  • File Size: 7468 KB
  • Print Length: 82 pages
  • Publisher: TED Conferences (December 18, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #318,612 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book and Concept February 3, 2013
By John
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is not just a great book but a great concept. Everybody should try this, express who you are in six words. And of course you can have multiple versions for your multifaceted life. I am a photographer so I wrote:
I capture images with my lenses.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have learned a lot January 31, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Once upon a time I had been member of research team working on vocabulary within particular field of humanities. Head of the grant was forcing all the researchers to be short and effective in writing. Each of us had to produce a definition of particular term. We were not allowed to use more than 12 words. That was the time for learning - we learned how to speak and write on our topics with no "empty" words.

Larry Smith's book shows something very similar. I love it. I have learned a lot from the book because it shows possibility to be even shorter in your expressions (6 words only) + it shows how you can speak about yourself, about your life shortly and effectively.

The whole skill in both above mentioned cases is to catch the most important point of view. Really THE MOST important. You need to learn how to do it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reading and talented students! December 25, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My boyfriend allowed me to purchase this on his brand, new kindle and I absolutely enjoyed every second. This is a wonderful, inspirational and insightful book. Visuals were beautiful to see. Students are very creative, talented and unique in their work. Very glad I decided to read this book. :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ingnited creative spark with simple constraints. March 1, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Excellent book, and pictures. The drawings make the book. The only thing missing is hyper-links from authors to their bios.

Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best six dollars I've spent this year February 22, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The idea six words + drawing is very inspirational. What amazing kids, adolescents and students we do have! If you have a bad day, this book will save it.
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More About the Author

Larry Smith is founder and editor of the personal storytelling community SMITH Magazine,, the creator of the Six-Word Memoir project ( and bestselling book series. An original content innovator, he's built his career around inspiring people, young and old, to tell their stories in fresh and enriching ways. He's reinvented the notion of "writer" and revolutionized the genre of "memoir," inspiring thousands of individuals, classrooms, clubs, nonprofits, churches, and even hospital wards to start telling their best personal stories.

He's also a contributing editor of ESPN Magazine and has been the articles editor of Men's Journal, executive editor of Yahoo Internet Life, a founding editor of P.O.V., as well an editor at Dave Eggers' Might magazine. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Popular Science, Men's Health, Salon, Slate, and elsewhere. He has contributed personal essays to the anthologies "Modern Love: 50 True and Extraordinary Tales of Desire, Deceit, and Devotion," "Maybe Baby: 28 Writers Tell the Truth About Skepticism, Infertility, Baby Lust, Childlessness, Ambivalence, and How They Made the Biggest Decision of Their Lives," "Cassette From My Ex," "Unscrolled: 54 Writers and Authors Wrestle with the Torah," an "Unstuck: 52 Ways to Get (and Keep) Your Creativity Flowing at Home, at Work & in Your Studio."

Larry has led team-building workshops and spoken on the power of storytelling in schools across America, as well as at foundations and nonprofits, and companies such as ESPN, Twitter, Dell, Shutterfly, Yelp, and Google.

To contact Larry for a speaking engagement or workshop, email: news AT smithmag DOT net.


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