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Letters to a Young Brother: Manifest Your Destiny Paperback – April 19, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 203 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet, Harper, a young black actor and graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School, offers similar inspiration to young men clamoring for advice and encouragement at a time when popular culture offers little positive direction. Interspersed throughout are e-mail inquiries from young men and Harper's responses and those of other celebrities, including Nas, Venus Williams, and Barack Obama. He devotes separate chapters to school and work, sex, and life aspirations, tackling such issues as single parenthood, sexually transmitted diseases, the allure of materialism, and the power of words and faith. Harper offers his personal story: a young man brought up by a demanding father, who developed a relationship with his mother only as he grew older. He views the youth of today as an evolved species, like the latest model car, with improvements that come from the experiences of those who came before. Although aimed at young black men, this book, with its contemporary language and approach, should have appeal for youth of both sexes and all races. Vernon Ford
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

In a direct and often colloquial tone . . . the letters stress the importance of having options and working smart, not just hard. (THE NEW YORK TIMES)

Harper’s message is a solo soaring above the choir. (LOS ANGELES TIMES)

Hill writes in a down-to-earth style. . . . A priceless, no-nonsense, step-by-step guide. (The Dayton Defender)

Filled with heartfelt wisdom and solid step-by-step strategies for cultivating self-respect, Letters to a Young Brother is an inspirational guidebook to a better life and a book that will change lives. (Black College Today)

[This] book can serve as a strong and silent mentor. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

In clear, accessible language, Harper encourages his youthful readers to maintain productive values and never give up hope. . . . With frank, loving advice about relationships, careers, sex, education, spirituality, and money, Harper helps young readers take that first step toward fruitful change. (Jabari Asim, The Washington Post)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Avery; 4/30/07 edition (April 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592402496
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592402496
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (203 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Hill Harper is a well-known and often lusted after actor who has played in movies such as Lackawanna Blues and the hit crime series CSI. However, LETTERS TO A YOUNG BROTHER shows a completely different side of him. Through the book, he shares his commitment to youth as well as a lot of his background and life expereinces. Harper immediately grabs your attention as he shares stories about his trailblazing family and his own Ivy League educational background. From there, he presents a series of letters which address many of the questions he receives from fans at speaking engagements, via email, or other avenues. As hereplies to these letters, he provides sound moral advice about how to live. In addition, he has reached out to some of his famous friends, other positive male role models, asking them to respond to some of the questions and includes thier responses in the book. He touches on education, financial stewardship, relationships with parents, and how to pick good friends. As he touches on the topics, he gives advice in an encouraging rather than preachy tone. In the end, readers will take away a myriad of positive messages, sound advice, and a new appreciation for the importance of hard work and personal responsibility.

Hill Harper has written a timely book that is intended for young, under-served male youth, and particularly African-American males. However, this is a book youth of any cultural or socio-economic background or gender, can benefit from reading. LETTERS TO A YOUNG BROTHER is a good book for parents, and people working with youth can also benefit from reading it.
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Format: Hardcover
This book has resonated with myself and many whom I love. I recommend this book very highly because of the brilliant communicated message, anecdotes, quotes and most of all raw truth and inspiration. It is a necessary read for all young brothers.
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Format: Hardcover
I had the great opportunity meeting/hearing Hill Harper at the Queens Public Library on May 1st 2006. I was moved with his enthusiasm to help the brothers. You felt his passion, sincerity and determination when he spoke.

Now,that I just completed reading the book I was greatly challenged to do more and step out of the shallow into the deep. This book needs to be planted in every brother's hands at achools,halfway homes, substance abuse programs and churches or wherever.

Get the book! Read the book! and Pass it on!
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Format: Hardcover
I love this book! I enjoyed the personality that shined through and the courage he had to open up, along with the ability to be very candid with the many topics chosen in writing this book. It's encouraging and inviting. You feel him and it makes you think and assess where you are in life, while supplying solutions/options to everyday dilemas. It's a great read for those stuck on what others think about them and has allowed those opinions to stump their growth and or potential. The book also focuses on choices, results and fulfilling your destiny by always being proactive.
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By Shix B on April 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am so excited that there is a book of hope for young men. I enjoy the positivity and love that is expressed throughout this book for our Young Kings in training. There are about 500 people that I would like to recommend this book to, and I have already made a significant dent in those on my list. Let's continue to lift up these young people in LOVE and let our lives, not our words be the encouragement to keep them motivated!
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Format: Hardcover
This isn't the most enthralling or cogent book on the subject of black male identity and destiny, but brother Harper really won me over with his heartfelt personal truths and some pretty decent writing.

I would encourage all young brothers and "mothers" of young brothers to pick up a copy of this book right away. It'll be a cool summer read, too.

DA ISAAC AT CHA!
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Format: Hardcover
For the record, I technically give this book 3.5 stars :)

I find it to be a straightforward, easy read that can encourage and motivate young people in general, if read and discussed with a parent or respected adult. Hill Harper seems fairly open, honest and responsible in his approach to responding to various questions that plague the minds of young brothers. Sincerity, concern and confidence resonate throughout the book and allows us adults a chance to peek into the wonderfully complex yet fascinating world of young brothers growing up today. I can see 11-15 year olds benefitting from the examples, experiences and outlooks given in this book and I recommend sharing it.
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Format: Hardcover
This book addresses areas of concern to not only young black males, but all adolescent boys. For example, relationships with mothers, performance in school, gang affiliation, drugs and so on. The fact that it is written by a successful black man, in fact a movie star who draws on his celebrity connections frequently, should pull young readers in. Unfortunately the writer, in my opinion, is unable to sustain interest in the novel because he really has no "novel" insights. It is in the end a sermon by someone who was never really in the trenches, (though sometimes he implies he had a lot in common with his targeted audience) but a child brought up in a privileged family. There are too many overused cliches that sound good, but are difficult to implement. For example, "You never know when a miracle will happen." "Do the thing that frightens you." "Your best self will continually evolve."
OK, just what does that mean to a kid with serious drug, school suspensions, bad home life, missing parents and other issues. Hill's heart is in the right place, and the title is cleverly modeled on Rielke's work, Letters To A Young Poet, but as a teacher looking for some gems with which to inspire my sometimes troubled, insecure, unmotivated, searching, disillusioned, unloved adolescent students, I mined in vain.
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