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Words I Wish I Wrote: A Collection of Writing That Inspired My Ideas Paperback – April 7, 1999

4.5 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Robert Fulghum, the part-time Unitarian minister whose gentle and humorous stories have made him a bestselling author many times over (beginning with All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten), pays tribute to the writers who inspired him in Words I Wish I Wrote. He confesses that at one particularly low moment in the late '50s, he was dredged up from the Slough of Despond by reading the works Albert Camus, whose gaze over a deeper abyss gave Fulghum hope. It was that experience that led Fulghum to seek out writings with uplifting messages. The result is this compilation of brief passages from the likes of Wallace Stevens ("After the final no there comes a yes"), Tom Robbins ("Real courage is risking one's clichés"), and Buckminster Fuller ("God is a verb"). --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Publishing phenomenon Fulghum, who declared All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten, must have had some class. Here he sums up the works of thinkers who have influenced him, from Camus to Kafka to Proust.
Copyright 1997 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: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (April 7, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060932228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060932220
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #605,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book has to be one of the best that I have ever read. The effect that it has on the reader is immediate and profound, for it has a way of showing you life through the simplest and yet most obtuse terms. It is truly a piece that will expand the mind and inspire the imagination, a much read for any "thinker."
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Format: Paperback
Fulghum's an independent thinker, and I respect him for that. Yeah, his works may not be classed among the greats of philosophy, but I like them. He combines a lust for life to rival Henry James with the knowledge of a lifelong reader and the wisdom born of a varied and examined life experience. I think this book is mostly a labor of love, a tribute to the thinkers who have influenced him as he hopes to reach others. (And if I recall correctly, he's donating the profits).
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Format: Hardcover
I must say that when I started this book today, my day, in fact my week was going very badly. By the time I finished it a couple of hours later my whole perspective had changed, and I feel revived and refreshed. Robert Fulghum has given me back a renewed feeling of faith and hope again. How can I ever show my gratitude? Only by telling others how much it has meant to me. Thank you Robert Fulghum, for sharing the wisdom that you have garnered from these great writers. Although you didn't write their words, yours are so inspiring to me. I would like to share some of my favorites that I think are relevant to the theme of his book:
"The way a book is read -- which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book -- can have as much to do with its worth as anything the author puts into it." (Norman Cousins)
He ate and drank the precious words,
His spirit grew robust;
He knew no more that he was poor,
Nor that his frame was dust.
He danced along the dingy days,
And this bequest of wings
Was but a book. What liberty
A loosened spirit brings!
(Emily Dickinson)
'Tis the good reader that makes the good book; in every book he finds passages which seem to be confidences or asides hidden from all else and unmistakably meant for his ear; the profit of books is according to the sensibility of the reader; the profoundest thought or passion sleeps as in a mine, until it is discovered by an equal mind and heart.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you, and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations--such is a pleasure beyond compare.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a sucker for beautiful words. These are some of the most beautiful I have read. I am so grateful to Mr. Fulghum for collecting these passages in one easily accessible volume. Though I read the book in two short hours, I find myself pulling it from the shelf frequently for comfort, words of wisdom, or lyrics to the music of my life. This book also gave me the "right" words to memorialize two very close family members. I am grateful. Do not deny yourself the pleasure of this wonderful little book. It is a "keeper." -- Dr. Allison L. Hayes
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fulghum's reading list, with comments. A guided tour among the authors and artists who have inspired and entertained this thoughtful and joyful intellect over his long and fruitful life. I hope to make the acquaintance of more of them as my life adventure unfolds.
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Format: Paperback
This book has alot of inspiring quotes. I found myself writingthem down in my own notebooks. The only thing is after reading this book it made me feel like I wasn't living my life to the fullest, because I wasn't doing something groundbreaking with my life, like leading a revolution to feed the hungry or something. It's the same feeling I get after watching Oprah Winfrey. Read the book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Strangely, I love this book and read it once a year. I find that a certain poem or chapter is more meaningful or poignant than the year before-each according to the season I am walking through. I date and make notations next to each page that speak to me this time around. I wish that I could have purchased it in hard copy but am overjoyed that, regardless of the binding, every cent of the proceeds from the sale of this book benefit Human Rights Watch. The original version of this book that I owned was undoubtedly from a thrift store. It was a hardback, I had read it so many times and made so many notes but my husband hated the book, threw the book at me several times and must have destroyed it because I never saw it again. (Countless notes written in the margins-sigh). I am so happy to have had a reason to buy another version and pay retail for it. Yay Human Rights Watch and Yay Robert Fulghum! Awesome book. We should all make a similar book.
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Format: Paperback
I have enjoyed the other reviews, especially one with all the Poetry! From judging by the Author's picture on the back cover in his Library, seeing the references to William Butler Yeats, and quotes in Chaps: Simplify, Play, Lafter, God, Bene-Dictions and Contra-Dictions. I wholeheartedly agree that he loves poetry and very likely is a Poet! He is infinitely qualified to write about and quote these intensely varied poems like "Ithaca, "How can I keep from singing, "All things dull and ugly, plus Annie Dillard and Thomas Merton!

I am pleasantly surprised seeing his quote of Scott Fitzgerald, on being able "to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time..." Since I had lost that proper resource. Also happily, I noted the successive pages with Walt Whitman, William Blake and Ralph Walso Emerson! I am fortunately blessed to discover this collection of Wisdom, to keep alongside of Thomas Moore's neat "Meditations, Thomas Merton's "Essays on Contemplation, and Anthony deMello's "Awareness plus his "Song of The Bird.

Reading his Introducton, so personally written, I was reminded of his earlier, "From Beginning to End" and his final chapter fittingly titled Bene-Dictions using Carl Sandburg and Jerry Garcia! Pointedly contrasting excerpts from my favorite chapters I conclude with his Big Chapter on God: With "Renascence of Edna St Vincent Milay, "When We Very Young of AA Milne, ee cummings, Nikos Kazantzakis...Altogether are too much for my mysticism to handle at one sitting! From an experienced Lover of Wisdom Writings... Retired Chaplain Fred W Hood
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