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10 ½ Things No Commencement Speaker Has Ever Said Hardcover – May 7, 2012
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Now there is a book that will help anyone in that dilemma. In 10 ½ Things No Commencement Speaker Has Ever Said by Charles Wheelan, the author shares wisdom that he wishes would have been in his hands as a new graduate.
Wheelan got a chance to share his thoughts to his own undergraduate school some twenty years after he left. These ideas are more than the mere pump you up I told you so but real good insight. The book expands from his lecture at the 2011 Class Day Speech at Dartmouth College.
From "your parents don't want what is best for you" they want what is good for you. Parents want their children to be able to survive on their own.
How "It's all borrowed time", this is so true. When we are young we believe our own mortality but we discover that life's a time sensitive adventure.
Most importantly I thought the best was "Don't try to be great" just be solid. Good character and ethic will in the long run not lead you a stray.
I won't list them all so that you will have to get the book, but these gems are a treasure for anyone at any age. It is the perfect gift for the newly minted graduate or someone that needs some might words of wisdom to renew their own journey.
As with any 'self-help' book, some judgment is needed to determine how to apply (or not apply) the advice in this book to the context of each person's life. That said, in my opinion, the author offers a lot of sound advice, some of which could be viewed as a bit unorthodox. The advice is targeted towards people graduating from college, but most of it applies to later stages of life as well, and some (not all) of it also applies to younger people.
Here are the key points of the book from my vantage point, which roughly align with the chapter titles:
(1) Happiness in life largely comes from our personal relationships, having a sense of purpose, health, and enriching experiences. Money makes a difference also, but it provides a diminishing benefit once people get beyond say upper middle class (but I would qualify this by noting that the value and benefit of money depends highly on how it's used, and isn't simply a function of the amount of money).
(2) Achieving anything significant requires sacrifices, delayed gratification, and going through periods of self-doubt and failure, so perseverance is essential. But also recognize that the journey is at least as important as the end goal, so be sure to smell the roses along the way, keeping in mind that none of us knows how long our life will be and some lives wind up being much shorter than average. The tradeoff between living in the moment and living for the future must be navigated every day, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade.
(3) Even if you don't aspire to greatness, at least aspire to being solid.Read more ›
I would make two minor criticisms: 1. I don't know if one should take his advice and not strive to be great. Wheelan argues that aiming for greatness puts too much pressure on people. I think that's an oversimplification--How many great scientists/athletes/writers/etc. are only great becuase they were determined to be great), and 2. I question whether you can put an actual numerical value on a happy marriage (Wheelan gives a number of $100,000/yr). Nevertheless, this is an outstanding book well worth reading and buying.
Forty-five year old Charles Wheelan (Dartmouth - class of 1988) is a professor of economics and public policy. "Ten and a Half Things No Commencement Speaker Has Ever Said" is adapted from remarks he made to Dartmouth's class of 2011. Professor Wheelan skipped the usual platitudes and dispensed "nonconventional advice." Instead of praising the students for their achievements and assuring them that the world was waiting eagerly for their contributions, he answered the following questions: What is "the good life" and how can we achieve it?
Wheelan warns young people not to be drudges. Although he acknowledges that it is meritorious to work hard towards a goal, doing so may, in some cases, be counterproductive. Those who are too focused on earning money and/or being successful may develop tunnel vision and fail to benefit from enriching social and recreational activities. For example, the author and his future wife, Leah, took time off after college and traveled around the world. Not only was their trip exciting and enjoyable, but it also made them more well-rounded, perceptive, and better equipped to tackle life's challenges.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Recently, I sat down at Auntie's Bookstore with a tiny book called "10 1/2 Things No Commencement Speaker Has Ever Said" by Charles Wheelan. I was just passing time. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lane
What a laugh! Thoroughly enjoyed this whimsical little book! (And yet, some of the things resonated so well - but are never spoken about!)Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
I wish I'd read this when I graduated from high school - which was long before this was written or even contemplated. I will pass this advice on to my kids.Published 12 months ago by Charles M. Dalton
Adapted from a speech given to graduating students at Dartmouth, this book reminds us all to live life in such a way as to improve relationships. Read morePublished 12 months ago by John Mc
I've been the owner of a copy of this book for about two years now, and just had to finally leave a review.
This is one of the best life advice books I've ever read. Read more
I was expecting to find some nuggets in this book that I hadn't heard before, but most of the advice sounded EXACTLY like commencement speeches I had read. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Goofygirl13
The book was a very short read but so true. Chapters on who you know and the time spent at fraternity parties especially rung true with me. Read morePublished on July 31, 2014 by Kaman C. Hung