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Showing 1-10 of 183 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 247 reviews
on October 24, 2015
At first I was inspired, except maybe the part where the author suggests that joining the military and going off to war is right of passage. But as the chapters wear on they become darker, more cynical, and by the end complaints without solutions.
There's an ongoing theme of risktaking that while applicable to things like getting outside of a comfort zone should not include stupid risks or the ol' "we're all gonna die some day might as well not be afraid of nothin'" way of thinking.
Don't be scared of child predators, instead, consentrate on global warming. He lost me at change the work with hope but love is just a temporary insanity.
The author seems the type of man who has nothing left to lose, so risk to him is easy. Like he can't wait to die, so long as the way he dies has meaning.
Some chapters discuss his personal life without offering any connection to anything particularly useful to the reader other than instilling a sense of hopeless non-control over our lives or others.
Tragedy tends to turn sufferers altruistic and I'm not sure the author is as self aware as he seems to think he is.
I mean I'd never get married after reading this book since it insists that the chances of two people coexisting peacefully together for a long period of time is roughly the equivalent of successfully navigating an asteroid field.
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on June 19, 2016
Don't read this in one or two sittings, even though you could. Read a chapter a day and reflect on what it means and how you can apply it to your life. The lessons seem easy but most are not. The author has many black and white judgements which probably should be more gray but his many points are well taken.
Some things he points out are painful, some will make you laugh, others will make you sad, but all can make you think. I will put this on my shelf and re-read in 6-12 months, as I want to be reminded of its valuable lessons.
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on April 21, 2014
Over the past 10 years, during various lectures and seminars I've recommended this book to hundreds of people. Many, without exaggeration, have reported back that this remarkable book has improved their relationships, decreased personal stress and literally improved their quality of life.
Dr. GSSamson
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on February 5, 2014
I have no argument with the readers who have found this book to be helpful--that is a good thing. My concern is for the people who suffer from depression and childhood trauma--change does not come easily for these people and some of the attitudes expressed by the author come across as too much of a "snap out of it" or "just move on" sort of thing. That sort of thing only adds to their pain. Current brain imaging technology has shown how real the effects of trauma are. I wish the author had shown more of a sense of empathy.
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on September 25, 2014
Gordon Livingston is not one to say, "Take your medication and be happy." If you prefer an active role in confronting your troubles, then these short essays are like conversations with a friend. He says his piece, then he stops and gives you a turn. Sometimes he says things you didn't know people could say--things you only hear from someone who trusts you. Everybody has good ideas. Trust is compelling. This book is not about some comprehensive, hard-sold truth with its attendant acronyms, hyphenated solutions, or checklists. It feels more like a conversation. I laughed. I was relieved to know I'm not the only one thinking that. I saw a few things in a new light.
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on January 19, 2014
I originally found this book in a consignment store. The introduction by Elizabeth Edwards caught my attention first. This is Senator Edwards' wife who died of cancer. The introduction was riveting and heartfelt. As I was reading the book, I spilled coffee on it and literally ruined it. So, I bought this one from Amazon and am so glad I did. Life is difficult at best. Some make it through better than others. Dr. Livingston always gets right to the point while simultaneously being tender and truthful. He shares so much through his knowledge and personal experiences in what seems to be the least amount of words. I fully intent to keep his book as a resource for living life.
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on July 18, 2016
This book is like therapy in a box. There are many insights that ring true for anyone who is in or has been in a relationship of any sort. Or anyone who has children or parents. It's not a positive book, though. It's a realist's point of view. Be prepared to take action and it's worth the effort.
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VINE VOICEon June 21, 2008
There is something in this book for everyone. You'll need to wade through and past certain lessons that aren't applicable to you at this time or state of your life. The book is a mix of lessons of a practicing psychiatrist, lessons from his own life (which were particularly moving and insightful) and lessons he is trying to pass along to the reader - so the book does at times read like a "hodge-podge" as stated by another reviewer. You won't find that the "30 True Things You Need to Know Now" come with a 3-step playbook on how to fix or succeed but the insights are valuable. The following chapters were particularly useful for me:

Chapter 4: The statute of limitations has expired on most of our childhood traumas. We are responsible for most of what happens to us

Chapter 6: Feelings follow behavior.
As much as we try, we do not control how we feel or what we think. Efforts to do so are uniformly frustrating as we struggle against unwanted thoughts and emotions in ways that only exacerbate them....But any change requires that we try new things, risking always the possibility that we might fail. Another question I often ask patients is, `What are you saving yourself for?'.

Chapter 9: Life's Two Most important questions are `Why?' and `Why Not'? The trick is knowing which one to ask. If people are reluctant to answer `Why?' questions in their lives, they also tend to have trouble with `Why Not'? The latter implies risk. Steeped in habit and fearful of change, most of us are to some degree risk averse. Particularly in activities that may involve rejection, we tend to act as if our sense of ourselves is fragile and must be protected. One would think that these fears would improve with age and experience; the opposite is usually the case...To take the risk necessary to achieve this goal is an act of courage. To refuse them, to protect our hearts against all loss, is an act of despair."

Chapter 11: The most secure prisons are those we construct for ourselves...So much of our lives consists of broken promises to ourselves. The things we long to do - educate ourselves, become successful in our work, fall in love, are goals share by all. Nor are the means to achieve these things obscure. And yet we often do not do what is necessary to become the people we want to be. It is human to shift blame for our failures...a shortage of time and the requirement to make a living are common excuses for inaction. Also, the fear that we might try and not succeed can produce a crippling inertia. Keeping our expectations low protects us from disappointment....whenever, as happens frequently, I point out to people the discrepancy between what they say they want and what they actually do, the response is surprise and sometime outrage that I will not take their expressions of intent at face value but prefer to focus on the only communication that can be trusted: behavior."

Chapter 15: Only Bad Things Happen Quickly. The process of building has always been slower and more complicated than that of destruction.

Chapter 18: There is nothing more pointless, or common than doing the same things and expecting different results.
I believe in what works. What you are doing now isn't working. Why not try something else?
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on April 2, 2017
Interesting book, not much new, just a new way to list it.
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on August 15, 2014
I wish this book had been titled: Too Soon Old, Too Late WISE as it would be a much more accurate title. The topics covered in Livingston's excellent book are much more about wisdom than smarts. I love the book and have already had to replace mine because I gave my initial copy to a friend who, like myself, really profited from the book.
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