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The Moment: Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories from 125 Writers and Artists Famous & Obscure Paperback – January 3, 2012
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From the Back Cover
The turning points, revelations, epiphanies, dramatic changes, the opening or closing of a door—in a life, a career, a love—can occur in a single glorious, terrible, unpredictable, serendipitous, crucial, calamitous, chaotic, amazing . . . Moment.
The creators of the enormously popular Not Quite What I Was Planning and Six-Word Memoir series now offer stories of the Moment—the one-time chances, unexpected coincidences, and sudden catastrophes that made all the difference in the story of one life.
The results are triumphant, outrageous, heartwarming, heartbreaking, embarrassing, illuminating, and inspiring—life-changing moments from contributors Dave Eggers, Diane Ackerman, Elizabeth Gilbert, Bill Ayers, Jennifer Egan, A. J. Jacobs, Judy Collins, and many more.
About the Author
LARRY SMITH is an adjunct associate professor of economics at the University of Waterloo and a recipient of the University of Waterloo’s Distinguished Teacher Award. During his longstanding tenure, Smith has taught and counselled more than 23,000 students on the subject of their careers, representing more than 10 percent of UW’s alumni. Smith has worked with more than 500 teams of student entrepreneurs, advising them as they have created companies of significant size and success across industries as broad-reaching as communications, software, robotics, entertainment, design and real estate. Smith is also president of Essential Economics Corporation, an economic consulting practice that serves a wide range of public and private clients. “Why You Will Fail to have a Great Career,” his TEDx Talk based on his experience counselling students, has been viewed by over six million people.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is such an inspiring book of essays! It is full of famous and not so famous people relating what moment in their lives was truly something that had a great impact on their lives and the lives of others, even if they didn't realize it at the time. The stories are honest and reflective in a way that can be most surprising to the reader. Each one has somewhat of an Ah Ha moment where the author describes an occurrence of an event that at the time, really didn't seem that important but when they look back upon it, it is special indeed.
I think my favorite one is Melissa Etheridge relating her singing A Piece of My Heart on an award show while she was undergoing cancer treatment at the time. She didn't see it as anything important at the time, but that performance gave strength to breast cancer survivors everywhere. She did it while not looking her best and with no hair. There are alot of little things this book offers most of which, is the wonderful attitude of those who have just done things and then thought about them later. You can easily pick this one up read a few pages and then reread the same pages and get even more out of the stories.
So by the time I began reading this book, I had, perhaps understandably, practically given up all hope that Larry Smith was capable of editing a book that I would find worth reading. However, I was pleasantly surprised and am happy to say that my tenacity was rewarded!
I love the fact that there are biographical blurbs for each and every contributor at the end of the book, sequenced in order of appearance. Reading these before reading each author's selection enhanced my enjoyment of the text.
Perhaps the quality of the writing in this book has something to do with the fact that most of the selections were written by WRITERS (as in people who make a living by knowing how to use words well). Although each selection is brief, they are not absurdly so (which cannot be said for the "6 Word" series). These narratives seem to have a more intense emotional impact in some cases simply because they are so concise and condensed. If so, rather than breezing through them, it is worth it for a reader to take their time to appreciate and savor how thought provoking some of the stories are.
Although not every reader (especially young ones) may know what it's really like to have a child, or be incarcerated, or gay, or Jewish, or in a war zone, or have a terminal disease, or be in a catastrophic accident, most of the experiences are infinitely relatable: just about everyone probably knows what it's like to dream, have a relationship, fail, succeed, grow up, fall in love, hope, feel liberated, have a friend, be rejected, or grieve. The format (someone not just telling about an experience they had, but telling WHY it was important to THEM) makes these stories especially insightful, compelling, uplifting, entertaining, and even exciting. Not every story will strike a chord with every reader. But I'm pretty sure that anyone who reads this collection is sure to find one that will.
Of course, as is my custom, I feel obligated to point out the few typos:
The story on page 37 ("No Consolation" by Neal Pollack) was great, but, in speaking of his grandfather's voluntary involvement with an athletic organization, the author indicates the "culminating" of that experience (page 37) at a particular point in time, and then, on the next page, the "culmination" -- of that same series of events -- happening on a different occasion. To me, there can only be one high point or pinnacle, not multiples.
On page 254 ("Denial" by Kathie Richie), there is a sentence that seems to have one too many "you"s ("behaviors that you make you think" - the first should probably be omitted).
In the contributor's biographical notes at the end of the book, two are out of sequence on page 343: The entry by John B. Carnett ("Birth") is actually found on page 306 (not 307), and the entry from Dar Wolnik ("Four Long Years") appears on page 308 (not 306).
Lastly, on page 344, the last sentence of Stephen Tobolowsky's biographical note needs one letter to change the phrase, "he may be know for" to "he may be known for".
All in all, I can (finally!) unreservedly recommend this volume edited by Larry Smith as a very worthwhile read.
My only (minor) complaint is that I wish the bios of the writers came directly after each story, because it was really cool to hear about who each writer was. Flipping back and forth, not easy on a kindle.
Besides that, keep it coming!