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Life Is a Verb: 37 Days To Wake Up, Be Mindful, And Live Intentionally Paperback – August 26, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 149 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Life is a Verb is brilliantly-crafted, raw, gorgeously-designed, and daringly different from 'self-help' books. It relates, through stories that sparkle and astonish and soar, how to move, to be on your way, to realize who you really are through your actions. Through exercises that you participate in, as if in conversation with the author, you will learn, as she promises in the prologue, 'deeper things―how to know what to care about, how to treat others around you (and yourself), what to question, how to love, what to stand up for, and why you should tell stories and listen to the stories of others.' There is no more important learning.

So read it. Inhabit it. Breathe in every word, because every word of this book is essential. Let it animate you. Annotate it to make it your own. And then let it let you change yourself, and become who you were intended to be. Begin now. You have no time to lose."
--- Dave Pollard, author of The Natural Entrepreneur, and the weblog How to Save the World

"Patti's guide for the last 37 days of life will turn every one of your next 3700 days a fully lived experience. If you had some unsolved fear for death, that would be your season ticket to have a free ride on the train with the author. I have never seen such a simultaneously practical, esthetic and soul-caressing book in my life."

--Kichiro Hayashi, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo

"I laughed. I cried. I want the t-shirt! Seriously, Life is a Verb may well be the single book that will change the world or maybe only your life . . . Artful, funny, heart-breaking, Digh reminds us that today isn't a dress rehearsal and we can start today celebrating the magic of ordinary life. Reading Life is a Verb is like mainlining goodness. Digh shows us what is real and what matters, and she gives us insiders tips on how to make minuscule life corrections that result in quantum shifts in experience. She reminds us that life can easily be fun. This will surely be the last self-help book you will ever need or want to read."
--Patricia Ryan Madson, Stanford Emerita, author of Improv Wisdom: Don't Prepare, Just Show Up

"Life Is A Verb is a wonderful treat! Good exercises, stories, and examples. Reading it will help you appreciate just how much can be gained through living with intention. It's also a lot of fun."
--Roger von Oech, author of A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative
"I've said it once and I'll say it again: I adore Patti Digh's book Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally. I love her writing, her depth, her sizzle. This is a book that makes me sing with life and the possibilities we all have for transformation and awareness. It is the best antidote I've got these days for the pain and fear raging around us--that and loving hugs, long naps, fervent prayer and letting myself feel whatever I'm feeling."
--Jennifer Louden, author of The Woman's Comfort Book

About the Author

Patti Digh (pronounced dye)
Patricia Digh's first book, Global Literacies: Lessons on Business Leadership and National Cultures (Simon & Schuster 2000) was selected by Fortune magazine as a Best Business Book for 2000. Her most recent book, The Global Diversity Reference Guide, was published in 2003 by John Wiley.
Patti is a business consultant, writer, and trainer with more than 20 years of experience in the areas of globalization and diversity. Her firm, The Circle Project, provides consulting, strategic development, and training for organizations and executives around diversity and leadership issues. Patti has developed international and diversity strategies for major nonprofit and corporate organizations and has been a featured speaker at many international conferences.
A faculty member for the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication and the University of North Carolina at Asheville, her comments have appeared on PBS, and in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, and London Financial Times, among other publications. She has written over 75 published articles and has lived, worked and traveled in over 60 countries.
In speaking and writing, Patti uses a unique style of storytelling and inspiration, gaining an international reputation for her innovative approach and ability to galvanize reflection, synthesis and action, particularly around diversity issues in organizations. She recently keynoted the International Conference of the American Society for Training and Development, with over 12,000 participants.
Patti was formerly the Vice President of International and Diversity Programs for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), with over 195,000 members. While there, she established the SHRM Global Forum and award-winning diversity initiative, including the International HR Certificate Program,
the National Diversity Conference, the Diversity Train the Trainer Certificate Program and the MOSAICS diversity newsletter. Patti is also a co-founder of The Global Diversity Roundtable, a consortium of senior practitioners from multinational corporations that provides a confidential forum for the exchange of
leading edge practices, strategies, and methodologies in global diversity.
Patti's clients include Amdocs Israel, PepsiCo, the U.S. Postal Service, Discovery Communications, Shell Oil, PBS, the Australian Human Resources Institute, the American Cancer Society, JP Morgan Chase, the American Red Cross, and the American Institute of Architects, among many others in the U.S. and abroad. She has served on the President?s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities and on diversity advisory councils for the National American Red Cross, the AARP, and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, among others.
Patti's hobbies include making photographic image transfers and writing 37days, a weekly newsletter about living intentionally (www.37days.typepad.com). She and her husband, John Ptak, live in Asheville with their two daughters, Emma and Tess, a dog named Blue, three cats whose furniture scratching proclivities don't merit their being mentioned by name, and until the recent Unfortunate
Incident, a dwarf hamster named Maggie.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Skirt!; 1st edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599212951
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599212951
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jesse Kornbluth on September 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
In the beginning, this book really annoyed me.

Here's the set-up: "In October of 2003, my stepfather was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died 37 days later."

Tragic. Though I can't imagine, I can empathize. But then comes the goopy stuff:

"The time frame of 37 days made an impression on me. We often live as if we have all the time in the world, but the definite-ness of 37 days was striking. So short a time, as if all the regrets and joys of a life would barely have time to register before time was up...."

"I tried to reconcile the fact that this fearful death was happening with the understanding that I needed to make something good out of it. What emerged was a commitment to ask myself this question every morning: What would I be doing today if I only had 37 days to live?"

Well, you know the answer. Savor every second. "Enjoy every sandwich," as the dying Warren Zevon put it. Buddhism 101. The punch line of a million self-help books.

So was I moved by Ms. Digh's approach to her theoretical last 37 days --- pumping out reams of writing so her young daughters would have some idea who Mom was? No. And not because I'm hard-hearted. It's just that I've heard all this. Many times, most recently in "Improv Wisdom", which I consider the last word on Showing Up and Being Here.

But I stumbled on, past the beautifully designed pages with the lovely art and the super-sincere poems by poets I'd never heard of, until I achieved the entrance to Part One. "Inhabit Your Story." The predictable moral arrived on schedule: "Find the change you can make and make it."

On to Part Two: "The Six Practices for Intentional Living.
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Format: Paperback
Inspired by the death of her step-father (and informed by the death of her father), Patti Digh's book offers advice, nudges, and insistence toward joy and responsibility (not quite the word I want), in equal measure.

With essays like "Dance in Your Car," "Follow Your Desire Lines," and "Always Rent the Red Convertible," Digh urges us to loosen up, take chances, take hold of this "one wild and precious life" (as she quotes Mary Oliver).

But she assumes a life of joy will be a life touched and shaped by other people, and she includes their care in her instruction manual. "Save Face for Someone Else," and "Wear Pink Glasses" offer models of graceful ways of being with, seeing, and upholding other people. "Love Unloveable People" gently offers each of us a daunting challenge: to respond to what is good in everyone.

Digh doesn't overlook the challenges of relationship, including our relationship to self. From "Choose Your Seatmates Wisely," to "Burn those Jeans," "Don't Sell Your Red Shoes" and "Say Wow When You See a Bus," she offers fresh perspectives on familiar situations and straight-jackets of "propriety," inviting each of us to find a way to be a little more authentic.

The essays alone would be engaging and provocative, as Digh has proven in her blog, 37days. In the book a precious few are arranged to illustrate her six-point guide to a life marked by Intensity, Inclusion, Integrity, Intimacy, Intuition, and Intention.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought the Kindle version of this book, and enjoyed the content, EXCEPT where the typographical errors were so bad that I was not completely sure what the author was really saying. In addition, the illustrations which are an important part of the message of the book are scattered in a seemingly random manner in the Kindle version. I liked the book enough that I bought the "old-fashion" paper version: what a difference!

Many books translate well to Kindle. This book is not one of them, in my opinion. I'd give the Kindle version zero stars if I could, and the hard-copy 5 stars.
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It makes you think about how to live your life better - not necessarily more organized or efficient or more anything, unless the "more" is some part of your own personal "better". The writing exercises are excellent, bite-sized, and spur you to much deeper consideration of the topics. And the writing itself is funny, real, down-to-earth and extremely moving. I've bought one copy and will buy several more as gifts.
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Format: Paperback
I bought "Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally" about three days in to 2010. I (like many) stumbled in to the new year still overwhelmed by the last. It took me a few days to realize- something has to shift. Who doesn't look for positive books or movies, or skim the self help aisle at Barnes and Noble when grasping for something, anything to help them shift their lives? Truth be told- I was looking on Amazon for "The Happiness Project" when I was pointed in the direction of Patti Digh's book. I am halfway through it and I've cried, laughed, written pages and pages of self awareness I've been overlooking, and danced in my car with oomph. I realize there is more to life than the hiccups I have endured over the last year....with Haiti enduring such a tragic earthquake this week, or the economy still teetering and so on. But the tragedies in our world actually coincide with lessons, ideas, and thought processes encompassed in Digh's book. What I've learned so far- life happens whether we want it to or not, but it's how we react and create the future that makes the difference. Yes, people may say many of the ideas in the book have been heard before- but I guarentee you they haven't been told with such ingenuity and intention as Digh tells them. The writing excersices alone have made me think more about my life, others around me, and complete strangers than I have probably my entire 31 years of living. You get from this book what you put in to it. You keep an open mind, you give yourself the ability to learn from new ideas about the way you live- and you will enjoy this book as much as I have. I've learned not everyone has a charmed life, but they are still people that deserve kindness and hope. What better way to pull myself out of a year long emotional rut than writing,thinking and learning about the world around me...the different people...and all the joy I never bother to see? I would give it more stars on my review if I could.
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