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If I'd Known Then: Women in Their 20s and 30s Write Letters to Their Younger Selves (What I Know Now) Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 21, 2008

3.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, April 21, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Spragins's ingenious book is the rare self-help volume that young women would elect to read and decidedly enjoy. The author profiles 35 highly accomplished women and asks them to write a letter of counsel or encouragement addressed to their younger selves. The result is a collection of life directives that are highly personal and disarmingly honest. The contributors—who include actress Jessica Alba, activist Zainab Salbi and comic book artist Ariel Schrag—are stars in their own right, but their letters reveal that even winners have problems—the same fears, concerns and shortcomings as anyone else. And in many cases they are still struggling—which raises the question: how wise can women in their 20s and 30s (no matter how accomplished) be? Very, it turns out. These artists, athletes and entrepreneurs compassionately address bad relationships, bullies, eating disorders and crises of faith without ever sounding jaded or condescending. This book offers sound advice and is highly recommended for women just starting out. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Boston Globe
“Younger women will be inspired by the advice, but women of all ages will love the fascinating insights into some truly remarkable lives”


Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star
“Advice applies to everyday, ordinary women--at any stage of life”


Richmond Style Weekly
“With candid discussions of body image, alcoholism, death, insecurity and trying to succeed in the face of seemingly impossible circumstances, this is a great conversation starter for girls.”
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Product Details

  • Series: What I Know Now
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (April 21, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0738211206
  • ASIN: B001L5T2DY
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,687,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The by-product of a good book is one that keeps you thinking of the subject long after you finish. "If I'd Known Then" does that by stimulating the inner conversation we all need to have with ourselves. The everyday wisdom you'll find solicits the reminders we all need to constantly remember - about life and love, success and failure.

It's not about the book, but about what you do with it. And since you'll get out of it what you put into it, I suggest you take the author quite literally and encourage the young women in your life to write a letter to themselves. They'll wish they had and be glad they did.
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Format: Hardcover
There are few things in life that can transend everyday distractions long enough to actually inspire me - but this book did. As a 30 year old myself, I felt a mirrored twinge of heartbreak, longing, confusion and self exploration that is written so poignantly by these women. I recommend it to anyone and everyone who wants a little reminder of how you became who you are today.
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Format: Hardcover
Have you ever wished you could write a letter to yourself when you were younger to give yourself hope or encouragement to get through a difficult time? That's what the 35 women did who appear in If I'd Know Then, Women in Their 20s and 30s Write Letters to Their Younger Selves.

Readers will recognize many of the writers as well as receive introductions to remarkable women they may not have heard of before. The letters are all heartfelt, with the authors talking directly to the young girls they once were. It's a wonderful reminder that no matter how famous or wealthy or popular someone is, we all share many of the same insecurities, doubts, fears and self-imposed limitations.

This book is part of the What I Know Now series, and I think it's a great addition for younger readers. I was particularly struck by the story of Mindy Lam, who was labeled an unlucky child when she was born in China and treated harshly during her childhood. She overcame incredible hurdles to come to this country, learn to speak English and find a way to support herself before stumbling upon an idea for creating jewelry that has made her successful beyond her imagining. All the stories are inspiring.

Moms in a mother-daughter book club can write letters to their younger selves as a meeting activity to inspire discussion. And girls could also think about issues they're dealing with now that they may see differently in a few years.

I believe girls in 8th grade and up would enjoy reading If I'd Known Then.
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Format: Hardcover
If I'd Known Then is a perfect addition to the What I Know Now series. While advice may come from 20 and 30 year old women, their words of wisdom are universal: they show no age or gender boundaries. As an undergraduate I chose to share some of the stories with my graduating peers. These friends of mine have been very worried about graduating college and insecure as to what comes next. After reading these stories aloud to them we laughed, cried, and realized that there is no pressure to discover the answers. Without outwardly giving advice (this is what you should do), If I'd Known Then helps you reach your own personal conclusions. This is the kind of book that makes you want to think, reflect, and most importantly grow. The book is a remarkable achievement and will undoubtedly impact readers for a long time.
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Format: Hardcover
This wonderful book is a series of letters from smart, successful, accomplished women (some bona fide stars) in their 20s and 30s who are writing letters of advice to themselves at a younger age--often during their middle or high school years. Who knew that Sasha Cohen or Jessica Alba or Danica McKellar ever had a moment of insecurity or disappointment or feelings of utter failure? The letters are brave and honest and inspiring.
As a mother of girl who is about to be a teenager, I look forward to sharing this book with my daughter- in the hope that the sense of perspective these woman have on those years will help her grow up strong and happy.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a lovely book - readable, touching, and insightful. The letters from young women (young to me, anyway!) to their younger selves are surprisingly wise. Ellyn Spragins has managed to create a cohesive style even while making sure the individual voices of these very different women come through loud and clear. This book is a wonderful read for women and men, old, young and middle-aged.
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By Ross on September 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This has become one of my absolutely favorite books - and is frequently a gift purchase for friends and family now. It's letters from women in thier 20s and 30s are poignant and honest. It really makes you think, but isn't written in the "chicken soup for the soul" sappy way ;) Just real women sharing real stories.

Excellent read for men or women of any age!
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