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Wisdom: The Greatest Gift One Generation Can Give To Another Hardcover – October 1, 2008

39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Andrew Zuckerman 
Andrew Zuckerman was born in Washington D.C., in 1977. After an internship at the International Center of Photography in New York, he attended New York University's School of Visual Arts to study photography and film, and graduated in 1999. His photography and film work has been commissioned extensively for numerous brands throughout the world and has received many awards, including the D&AD Yellow Pencil award for excellence in photography. 

Zuckerman's first film, High Falls, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007 before going on to win Best Short Narrative at the Woodstock Film Festival. His last book, Creature, was published worldwide in November 2007. 

Alex Vlack 
Alex Vlack was born in New York in 1974. He has produced documentaries for television and media installations for museums. In 2006 he co-founded Late Night and Weekends with Andrew Zuckerman, where they create books, films, and broadcast content. He wrote and produced High Falls, and produced and co-directed Still Bill, a feature documentary about Bill Withers.Andrew Zuckerman is a New York–based photographer and director, and the author of Creature.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Abrams; Har/DVD edition (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810983591
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810983595
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 1 x 12.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #314,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andrew Zuckerman (American, b.1977)

Noted filmmaker and photographer, Andrew Zuckerman, utilizes a multitude of platforms to produce work that is systematically executed, conceptually based, and democratically presented. Minimalist in nature, Zuckerman aims to create atmospheres of clarity and neutrality to facilitate the viewer's access to the material. His commitment to diversifying the points of entry into his work has garnered a global audience.

Zuckerman first made his mark on the publishing world with the 2007 release of CREATURE, a compendium of intimate animal portraits set against his signature white background. He has since explored this distinctive approach - which divorces subjects from their context and equalizes the larger conversation between them - in four additional critically acclaimed multi-media projects: WISDOM (2008), BIRD (2009), MUSIC (2010), and FLOWER (2012). Renowned designer, Massimo Vignelli, has lauded Zuckerman's "uncompromising notion of space in which any object becomes its own essence." His books have been translated into numerous languages and published in 18 international editions.

Exhibitions of Zuckerman's work include a solo show of photographs from CREATURE at the Forma International Center of Photography in Milan and the ongoing WISDOM traveling exhibition, featuring portraits and interviews with extraordinary individuals over the age of 65, including Nelson Mandela, Andrew Wyeth, and Chuck Close. It premiered at the State Library of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. In July 2008, Zuckerman's portrait of Nelson Mandela appeared on the cover of Time magazine. Zuckerman's companion film to BIRD has been exhibited on The High Line in New York City in 2009, and at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston in 2010. Photographs from BIRD were on display at Colette in Paris. His short film, "High Falls," premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, and was selected as Best Short Film at the Woodstock Film Festival the same year. Writer David Carr called the project "a pretty film and a pretty smart film" in his New York Times review. In 2010, Zuckerman interviewed and photographed over fifty eminent musicians, composers, and producers (from Ornette Coleman to Iggy Pop) for the MUSIC project, which was realized as a book, film, and iPad app. His most recent multimedia project, FLOWER, includes images of over 250 varieties of flora with an accompanying taxonomical index and time lapse films of the life cycles of seven species, which were created from thousands of high definition stills. Filmmaker David Lynch has called FLOWER "a grand celebration of mother nature's artistry." CREATURE, BIRD, and FLOWER are informed by a conservationist approach.

Zuckerman's work has been commissioned by influential international brands and for inclusion in major private collections.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Stacy Miller on October 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought Zuckerman's Wisdom based on excerpts I read in Reader's Digest. Now that I've received the book and had a chance to read it, I am blown away. It is stunningly beautiful, both the pictures and the words. I'm only 39 so I don't have the "perspective" someone 65 or older would but I can appreciate every line, every word, every image in this book. I teach high school English, history, and humanities and I can't find a single interview in this book that I couldn't share with my students somehow. We read Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart and his interview in the Zuckerman book only adds to what he wrote in his novel. I was so moved by what Nick Nolte had to say about finding peace in ourselves and then finding that same, sacred peaceful space in others. (There's more to him than that crazy DUI mug shot.) I had to order two more copies of the book--one to keep in my classroom and one to give to friends. I will ship more at Christmas. Really, the book is filled with so many different points of view, so many perspectives, so many ways to look at life and how to live it. Each interview is thought-provoking in its own way. The 56 minute Wisdom DVD that comes with the book is icing on the cake. It's one thing to look at the (beautiful) photographs and to read the interviews that go with them, and another to watch the subjects and hear their voices. I just can't say enough about this book and how moved I am by it. I saw that a previous reviewer commented on the font/text size and layout of the book, and while I agree it would make reading a challenge, I think the layout works. One, you can't put too many words on a page. I like to think of the white space as thinking space. The words are placed for effect.Read more ›
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87 of 95 people found the following review helpful By A. M. Pavlisin on October 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I just received my copy yesterday, eagerly tore the wrappings off and started on it. The book is WONDERFUL! The photos are FABULOUS! The insights are AMAZING! Here's the DISAPPOINTMENT; the text, as important as it is, is set in light weight, small type, impossible for people the same age as those represented therein, to read comfortably or at all, without a magnifying glass.

What on earth would possess the lay-out people to do such a thing? Is there anybody out there in the publishing world wise enough to realize that older people don't buy books that are an uncomfortable strain to read? I had intended this to become my Christmas gift for at least 5 other seniors in my circle of friends. No chance of that happening now that I've seen it. What a shame!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mark Blackburn on November 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Andrew Zuckerman's "WISDOM" is a big and beautiful book, offering up huge color portraits (razor-sharp for this HI-DEF age!) . . . combined with `words of wisdom' from the minds of 51 public figures, mostly from the world of arts & entertainment, but with a few `political' icons included as well.

The `cover photo' honor went to Clint Eastwood who counsels: "Take your profession seriously; don't take yourself seriously."

Jazz giant Dave Brubeck (in one of my favorite insights in the entire book) recalls the time when his late, great alto sax player Paul Desmond "covered (other musicians') mistakes."

"When we recorded with the NY Philharmonic, with Bernstein conducting, a trombonist hit a B-natural instead of a B-flat, by mistake; Paul was improvising and brought that (wrong note) right into the improvisation immediately, and it's so beautiful!

"I always say `There is no mistake . . . if you can resolve it!' Whether it's in your music or your life. Sometimes the mistake actually motivates you - elevates you, into a better circumstance."


When I opened this book for the first time today, I went straight for the thoughts of one of my heroes, Desmond Tutu - the former Anglican primate of South Africa and 1984 Nobel Peace prize winner.

Perhaps better than anyone else in this book, the saintly 'Archbishop Emeritus' offers us the clearest connection between true wisdom and true happiness:

"Happiness is when I see others happy. Happiness is a shared thing. When you bring a gift to someone on their birthday and you see their face light up with joy . . . it's quite incredible what that does for you -- the giver.

"Jesus did say, actually, `It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Donna V. on April 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
FANTASTIC photos and inspirational writing! Wisdom is full of thought provoking and actually useful advice for people of all ages. Although it may not feature the "hip, cool" celebrities of 2008-2009, even kids will recognize some, and should be taught about others. As previous reviews mention, the font size and color is a big problem. The words here are even more important than the portraits, so it is annoying that they are printed in light gray and too small. I'm not a "senior citizen," but I still found the book quite hard to read. At least if they were printed in black, the size wouldn't matter as much.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Tom Cantlon on November 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The concept, and the whole idea of honoring wisdom is great. And there are some wonderful pearls that come out of it. But look who was chosen. With few exceptions they have to be photogenic and look the part of a wise elder. They are famous, accomplished people. So is it surprising how many references there are to taking chances, changing the world, etc? If they were to do it again I would suggest they go to neighborhoods all over the world and ask who are those people in the area generally agreed to be wise. Not the famous, may or may not be greatly accomplished. Just quiet, private people leading wise lives and having a positive effect on the world around them. It is the most underrated and powerful way to make a better world, and what they would, no doubt, find many a wise person doing. This project is a hybrid of wisdom and attractive celebrity. A purer version of it would be that much better.
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