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Life's Greatest Lessons: 20 Things That Matter Paperback – January 7, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Urban, a psychology Ph.D. specializing in "peak performance," draws on his own life experiences, wisdom imparted by his mentors and basketball coaches, observations of high school and college students, and the writings of other self-help gurus like Stephen Covey and M. Scott Peck to compile this catechism of conventional truisms. According to Urban, life’s great lessons are exactly what you always dreaded they’d be (they’re also his chapter titles): life is hard and not always fair; there’s no substitute for hard work; you have to give up something to get something. Although slightly disdainful of the hug-happy self-esteem movement, Urban does insist that we all have a potential to live up to. Fortunately, since "attitude is far more important than intelligence, education, special talent, or luck," with enough positive thinking success is virtually assured—as long as we buckle down, set goals and stick with them, manage our time efficiently and find Jesus Christ or some other kind of spiritual content to nourish our lives. Urban is an ex-high school teacher, a self-admitted former "growth junkie" and a leader of the "character education" movement, and is thus awash in good lessons; his prose, though, tends toward the bland and platitudinous, which may make the lessons hard for some to swallow.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Rabbi Harold Kushner author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People A wise and wonderful book. It will enrich anyone who reads it.

Ken Blanchard coauthor, The One Minute Manager and Whale Done! With its timeless message for people of all ages, this book is going to become a classic. It should be in every home in America.

Stephen R. Covey author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People A tremendously enriching book full of classic wisdom to live by.

Mel Levine, M.D. author of A Mind at a Time This book can help all of us assemble our priorities.

Thomas Lickona author of Educating for Character A great book about character for kids, teachers, and parents!

Laurie Beth Jones author of Jesus, CEO; The Path; and Teach Your Team to Fish Hal Urban has put into bite-size pieces some of life's most important truths. Read, learn, and enjoy!

Pat Croce author of I Feel Great and You Will Too! and 110% Life's Greatest Lessons helps to unlock your mind to a treasure chest of life's opportunities and possibilities.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 4 edition (January 7, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074323782X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743237826
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A very thought provoking overview of the simple (yet not so simple) job of making the most of your life. Written in a down-to earth style that makes it easy to understand, yet still challenges you to reach to become more of what is good and right in order to succeed in life. Begins with a look at what success is and is not, and moves on to how your choices and reactions to circumstances direct where your life will go. Topics include, Life is hard, Life is Fun, Attitude, Habits, Thankfulness, Respect, Honesty, Kindness, Self-motivation, Goals, Hard work, Sacrifice, Time Management, Self image, Balanced Care of Body, Mind and Spirit, and Persistance in the Face of Failure. A great choice for teachers, parents and those who guide youth. A very enjoyable read...because it is so true! I'm planning on giving several as gifts! What a fabulous book! Read it! You won't be sorry!
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Its timeless message on character education should be read by every child, parent and teacher. It is sure to become a classic.
I have given away at least five copies to family and friends!
It was awarded Best Inspirational Book of the Year 2000 by Writer's Digest Magazine.
I have donated a few select books that have been added to my local Public Library. This is by far the best inspirational and motivational book I have read so far. It contains the wisdom of the ages and essential life truths.
A few of the books I have donated are: HOW TO SUCCEED IN LIFE: Ideas and Principles They Don't Teach in School by Ned Grossman, MASTER SUCCESS: Create a Life of Purpose, Passion, Peace and Prosperity by Bill FitzPatrick, a local author from Natick, MA, FREEDOM FROM FEAR: Learn How to Live Life to the Fullest by Mark Matteson, The story of one man's discovery of simple truths that lead to wealth, joy and peace of mind, and I DARE YOU By William H. Danforth.
I highly recommend Life's Greatest Lessons, as it teaches the wisdom of the ages. This book is so wonderful, that after I finished it, I went back and re-read it again. Periodically, I will reread certain chapters again. I am very select in what I choose to donate to the library. I am donating it to the library so it can benefit the most people possible. This book on character education is a topic not normally taught in schools. It is an "owner's manual for a happy and successful life." It describes in a simple easy to understand manner, common-sense life skills that can be applied immediately to enhance and enrich anyone's life.
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Format: Paperback
First of all, I expected to like this book. The raving reviews made it seem inevitable. And glancing through the table of contents, well...it's a toss-up. The principles are pretty basic, so you expect Urban to have something really profound to say about each one.

But two of his starting points don't quite align with mine. First of all, let's look at the "Attitude is a Choice" chapter. He says we have "the ability to choose our own attitude in any given set of circumstances." To some extent, this can be useful. And he's realistic about the "positive thinking" movement, clarifying that he doesn't just mean wishful thinking, but instead "constructive thinking." Still, after having read Ehrenreich's Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America and Gore's Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness, I'm less inclined to believe that this attitude-changing approach is altogether wholesome. Experiencing the full range of human emotion is part of life, and even if Urban allows for some of it, it's incomplete. "People who succeed in life don't *think* they can, they *believe* they can," he says, and while he grants that this belief must come from a solid foundation, it still seems to place blame on people who just don't believe in themselves enough. So that's Misleading Starting Point #1: a spin-off of "positive thinking" as a tool for success.

Secondly, he's coming from a Judeo-Christian perspective. I actually flipped to his recommended books and saw that "Mere Christianity" is #2, so this wasn't my imagination.
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I know that phrase is used a lot, but I don't use it a lot. I can honestly say that about THIS book....and I read a lot of self-help books. Not because I'm "messed up", but because I LOVE to learn. If I can read a book that can help me be a better person, I will read it...and not just READ....I absorb it and put it into practice. This book did that for me. It even changed the relationship I'm in. We are very serious, but have been having some communication problems. This book caused ME to change so much that my partner also changed and now our relationship has never been better. It showed (or reminded me) what kind of person I want to be, HOW to be that person, what is important in life, how to relate better to the people in my life that matter.....and I could just go on and on, but I won't. I just wanted to say that I got it at our library and it made SUCH an impact on me that I came here and bought the book used so I can go back OFTEN and refer to things I want to constently remember. To me, it's a book that EVERY person should read. I'm giving it as gifts to my grandchildren and children for their birthdays. GREAT BOOK!!!
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