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Before I Go: Letters to Our Children About What Really Matters Hardcover – October 15, 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

This extraordinary book is a collection of luminous, practical, edifying, and hilarious insights into life―into real love. They are the heritage that the author/father, easing into the end phase of his life, has garnered from long experience and deep reflection, and which he seeks to pass down to his children and grandchildren, and the coming generations. Kreeft's 'last words' are in turn wise, witty, earthy, pithy, and frequently sublime. This is neither an abstract tome nor a 'how-to' manual. It's simply a treasure that should be handed out gratis to all young couples planning to be married―in fact, to all those embarking on the human adventure. In a word―to everyone. (Michael D. O'Brien, author of Father Elijah)

Kreeft's latest book, presented as homey advice about life to his own children, appears deceptively simple, but it is profound and thought-provoking. This is no surprise for all Kreeft fans, myself included. (Father Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R., author of The Virtue-Driven Life)

Peter Kreeft exhibits four gifts: he writes beautifully, he has a sense of humor, he really loves wisdom, and he is not afraid to share that love. Fortunate the young people into whose hands falls this book. (Lawrence S. Cunningham, The University of Notre Dame, author of Thomas Merton: Performing the Gospel Life)

Readers rightly look for both wit and sagacity from Peter Kreeft. They will find both in this book. But they will find that both spring from the heart of a very wise father who walks with the Father of us all. (Thomas Howard, author of On Being Catholic)

The book offers 163 lessons for the good life based on Kreeft's own experiences and study and just plain living (more than six decades). It is common sense delivered with uncommon ease and sincerity. The reader―and this is a book for all ages―will stop often along the way, so obvious are these bits of wisdom we fail to remember. Topics range broadly: making choices wisely, prioritizing, handling worry, time management, prayer life, sacrifices, marriage and family, keeping a chapbook, love, death. Before I Go belongs in every Christian family's library, to be dipped into often. (Patricia A. Kossmann America)

Little books of advice such as the Chicken Soup series or Tuesdays at Morrie's have been popular for a long time now. Here is one that is just as interesting, just as easy to read, but far more profound―because, of course, it is far more Catholic. Apologist and philosopher Peter Kreeft is at his best with this collection of 163 mini-essays. . . . It's everything you want your children to understand about life, love, and God, expressed with Kreeft's keen wit. (Faith and Family)

These 'chats' are worth reading or re-reading for a lifetime. . . . They are all well-written, and important. (Fcs Quarterly, Fall 2008)

Reading Before I Go will be a pure pleasure for the thoughtfully reflective, and a valuable gift for many parents to use in passing on wise words to their children before they lose the ability to say those final, important words. (Dr. Michael Philliber Reader Views, November 2007)

About the Author

Peter Kreeft has been featured on the PBS series "The Question of God." He is professor of philosophy at Boston College and lives in West Newton, Massachusetts.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Sheed & Ward (October 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580512240
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580512244
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Charles Schmidt on October 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Peter Kreeft is an outstanding philosophy professor at Boston College who has written over 40 books, most of which are excellent. Professor Kreeft is similar to G K Chesterton and C S Lewis in that he is a Christian philosopher who writes very clear and profound books that are full of wisdom.

BEFORE I GO consists 162 life lessons that Kreeft has learned, and each lesson is covered in 1 to 3 pages. Lesson 6, "The Most Important Person" is a hierarchy of what a person's priorities in life should be, with God first, one's spouse second, one's children third and so on. Lesson 9 is a succinct description of "What is a Good Person?"

Lesson 48 has a funny litmus test on how to tell if a book is a great book; funny because it rings true. And Lesson 51 has a poignant lesson learned too late from the poet Thomas Carlyle. Kreeft's advice on how to keep marriages intact in Lesson 87 is short, sweet and dead-on-target.

"Before I Go" is short - it took only about 3 hours to read - and full of wisdom. This is indeed a great book in that it gives cogent guidance on the good, the beautiful and the true. Were Socrates to read this book, he would realize that he had finally found that wise man that Socrates sought in ancient Greece but never found. This is Kreeft's 2nd best book - exceeded only by his outstanding HANDBOOK OF CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS - and I give it my highest recommendation.
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Format: Hardcover
How much more SINCERE can a book get than one written by a father for his children? How much more LOGICAL than one authored by a renowned philosopher?

Peter Kreeft has received honors such as the Woodrow Wilson, Yale-Sterling Fellowship, Newman Alumni Scholarship, Danforth Asian Religions Fellowship, and Weathersfield Homeland Foundation Fellowship.

Spectacular. But I think I'm safe in guessing his greatest achievement to date includes his children, for whom this book is written.

Kreeft saves his best nuggets of wisdom for his latest, easiest-to-digest work. Whether you want to know the four most imporant choices in your life (I'm not going to spoil it but they're simpler than you think), how your life is art, or how simplicity can literally change the world, you'll find it in the pages of BEFORE I GO.

Treat yourself to this gem of a publication. It's one you'll likely want to pass on to YOUR children as well.
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Format: Hardcover
I liked the readable format in which to share some universal "words of wisdom" with my children. Perhaps reading them in another person's time & space will reinforce the significance for all.
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As Peter Kreeft himself says, some of his simplest works are is most favored. This is one of them. Some of the most simple things in life can have the greatest affect on how well our life is. This book provokes thought on things that are often overlooked. I love Peter Kreeft's philiosophy and so far this is my favorite of his books. It deserves careful and thoughtful reading.
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In short chapter format, this book lovingly, gently and wisely shares with the child all the important information that Christian parents want their kids to embrace. I hope my parents and all my children read this book because it's my sentiments exactly. Let's all read this book...please. If I am not around and my kids read this...please read this book.
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I bought this book to give to my kids. It is filled with so much wisdom that I need to share with them "before i go".
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This book has inspired me to start the same sort of thing to leave behind for my daughters. There's so much that they don't hear now and as one reviewer stated, this is like an "insurance policy". Your word, thoughts, feelings, etc. can be remembered when you're gone. Very fast read. Let it inspire you .
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Format: Hardcover
Reviewed by Dr. Michael Philliber for Reader Views (12/07)

Having sat with several people as they draw close to the end of their life, I have noticed that many find themselves frustrated by the short time they have to say the final, important things to their loved ones. Peter Kreeft has taken a preemptive strike at that moment for his family by writing this short, readably warm book, "Before I Go: Letters to Our Children about What Really Matters." Kreeft states that this book is simply a "word-insurance policy. It is a way of speaking even after you are dead" (4). And he has written it for his grown children against the day that he may no longer be able to say what he deems are the important things, before he goes.

The short chapters are normally succinct, lasting anywhere from three sentences to three pages, but the depth of insight vastly surpasses the amount if ink and paper. For example, in one short chapter, he poignantly reveals the two categories into which people generally fall, "There are only two kinds of people: sinners, who think they're saints, and saints, who know they're sinners. There are only fools, who think they're wise, and the wise, who know they're fools" (51). It becomes clear as one reads further into this book that the writer is skilled at writing and at writing in a memorable fashion. I found myself struggling to put the book aside, because each chapter enticed me to jump to the next.

Kreeft teaches philosophy at Boston College, which shines through in several chapters, particularly in the superb craftsmanship with which he is able to hone an idea down to its primary point, like the following; "Worship God, love people, and respect stuff" (54).
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