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The Moment: Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories from 125 Writers and Artists Famous & Obscure
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The Moment: Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories from 125 Writers and Artists Famous & Obscure [Paperback]

Larry Smith
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 3, 2012
From the creators of Six-Word Memoirs comes The Moment, a collection of personal stories from writers both famous and obscure revealing how a single instant changed their lives forever. An innocuous decision, an unforeseen accident, a chance conversation, a tag sale, a terrorist strike, a tweet . . . sometimes all it takes is a single moment to redirect the course of an entire life. In the tradition of Smith magazine’s Not Quite What I Was Planning and the sensational Six-Word Memoirs on Love & Heartbreak—and in the spirit of StoryCorps, the Moth, and This American LifeThe Moment unveils everyday people’s inner lives in narratives of all shapes and sizes, with stories from six to 1,000 words, photographs, comics, illustrations, handwritten letters, and more. It’s enough to change your life forever.

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The Moment: Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories from 125 Writers and Artists Famous & Obscure + Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure + It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure
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Editorial Reviews

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.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006171965X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061719653
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #364,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BookHounds January 7, 2012


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.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and entertaining January 5, 2012
This book is perfect for someone like me, who loves to read but is short on time. Since I bought it, I've been reading a few stories each night before bed. I always set out to read one or two, but succumb to reading more like three or four. The "moments" are funny, engaging, soulful, smart, and sad, and though they give just a peek into the lives of the people who wrote them, I seem to finish each story feeling like I know each writer intimately. It's what I love about memoir. Buy this book - you'll love it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great. January 12, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I sit down and say to myself I'll read a story or two and end up reading ten or twenty. Each one as thought-provoking as the next. I'm not exactly what you'd call a "reader" but I'm having trouble keeping this one down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally -- a worthwhile read edited by Larry Smith :-) February 17, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I began reading this volume with admittedly low expectations, having just slogged thru four - count `em , FOUR - volumes of "6 Word Memoir" collections by the same editor, none of which I could recommend. Anyone who's interested can read my separate reviews for those selections. Suffice it to say that a major problem with those publications was that they didn't seem to be very much like memoirs at all, but rather more like advice, mottos, regrets, confessions, or even, in some cases, epitaphs. Although in the book at issue here ("The Moment"), the editor couldn't seem to resist including a couple of pages of "6 Word School Moments from Teens", I can't hold that against him because they were well-written and relevant.
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it, and want more March 21, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My husband went to see some of the authors read their essays at a bookstore in SF, and recommended this book to me. It was a ridiculously fast read and super satisfying especially for me who has about 10 minutes of personal time each night before I fall straight to sleep each night. It is enough to complete a few essays and feel satisfied. My favorite was the essay about the New Yorker photographer's near death experience in the middle east, but they were all great.

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!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sweet and sad and utterly lovely January 13, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The strength of all the Smith projects (, the 6 Word Memoir books) is their celebration of the genuine. Of life as it *is* lived, not how we would like it to be lived. Of people and their connections to one another. Of the way the grand and the mundane are often colocated. The Moment scales up the scope of each writer's entry from the 6-word level, but still keeps it petite, leaving each entry short enough to be enjoyed in a single sitting (you may find yourself reading 5-10 at a whack), capturing much of the same immediacy and betcha-can't-read-just-one feeling as the 6-word books, but with a far heftier emotional punch. Like life, It's funny and sad in equal measure. And it's unafraid to bring a clear-eyed honesty to each.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable, short, life-changing moments in the lives of 125...
I love short stories. I love essays. And I love learning things about people. In fact, I confess that I used to subscribe to People magazine. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Julee Rudolf
5.0 out of 5 stars GOOD EASY READS
Really great mix of stories funny, tragic, moving, you name it. Most are easy reads.
Published 9 months ago by Richard L. Holloway
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Readers Digest material only even more condensed for our short attention spans
Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A fun, interesting read. Great to pick up and put down and for in-between reads. Would buy again.
Published 14 months ago by Two Cents
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
Got this for my dad as a gift- he loved it :)
Published 21 months ago by G. Jay
3.0 out of 5 stars Life-changing Moments Told by Many People
It seems that I can't help finding typos and other errors as I read a book. This book had very few errors that I saw or remembered. Read more
Published on May 26, 2014 by Charlotte R. Mitchell
4.0 out of 5 stars A varied collection
As might be expected from a collection of very short memoirs by 125 people, there is considerable variation in quality. Read more
Published on May 9, 2014 by Anson Cassel Mills
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!
The stories were so diverse even with the common theme of "the moment." I loved the book! I've already recommended it to friends.
Published on August 5, 2013 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Great idea put to paper
The Moment is just that...stories from different writers about some moment in their life that was signficant to them. Read more
Published on October 21, 2012 by jonny_r
5.0 out of 5 stars The cover delivers when it promises "Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing...
This book will transform non-readers into page-turners. For avid readers, it will be over too soon, leaving you wanting more, now. Read more
Published on March 9, 2012 by Shauna Greene
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