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Words I Wish I Wrote: A Collection of Writing That Inspired My Ideas Paperback – April 7, 1999

4.5 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Robert Fulghum, the part-time Unitarian minister whose gentle and humorous stories have made him a bestselling author many times over (beginning with All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten), pays tribute to the writers who inspired him in Words I Wish I Wrote. He confesses that at one particularly low moment in the late '50s, he was dredged up from the Slough of Despond by reading the works Albert Camus, whose gaze over a deeper abyss gave Fulghum hope. It was that experience that led Fulghum to seek out writings with uplifting messages. The result is this compilation of brief passages from the likes of Wallace Stevens ("After the final no there comes a yes"), Tom Robbins ("Real courage is risking one's clichés"), and Buckminster Fuller ("God is a verb"). --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Publishing phenomenon Fulghum, who declared All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten, must have had some class. Here he sums up the works of thinkers who have influenced him, from Camus to Kafka to Proust.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (April 7, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060932228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060932220
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book has to be one of the best that I have ever read. The effect that it has on the reader is immediate and profound, for it has a way of showing you life through the simplest and yet most obtuse terms. It is truly a piece that will expand the mind and inspire the imagination, a much read for any "thinker."
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Format: Paperback
Fulghum's an independent thinker, and I respect him for that. Yeah, his works may not be classed among the greats of philosophy, but I like them. He combines a lust for life to rival Henry James with the knowledge of a lifelong reader and the wisdom born of a varied and examined life experience. I think this book is mostly a labor of love, a tribute to the thinkers who have influenced him as he hopes to reach others. (And if I recall correctly, he's donating the profits).
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Format: Hardcover
I must say that when I started this book today, my day, in fact my week was going very badly. By the time I finished it a couple of hours later my whole perspective had changed, and I feel revived and refreshed. Robert Fulghum has given me back a renewed feeling of faith and hope again. How can I ever show my gratitude? Only by telling others how much it has meant to me. Thank you Robert Fulghum, for sharing the wisdom that you have garnered from these great writers. Although you didn't write their words, yours are so inspiring to me. I would like to share some of my favorites that I think are relevant to the theme of his book:
"The way a book is read -- which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book -- can have as much to do with its worth as anything the author puts into it." (Norman Cousins)
He ate and drank the precious words,
His spirit grew robust;
He knew no more that he was poor,
Nor that his frame was dust.
He danced along the dingy days,
And this bequest of wings
Was but a book. What liberty
A loosened spirit brings!
(Emily Dickinson)
'Tis the good reader that makes the good book; in every book he finds passages which seem to be confidences or asides hidden from all else and unmistakably meant for his ear; the profit of books is according to the sensibility of the reader; the profoundest thought or passion sleeps as in a mine, until it is discovered by an equal mind and heart.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you, and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations--such is a pleasure beyond compare.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a sucker for beautiful words. These are some of the most beautiful I have read. I am so grateful to Mr. Fulghum for collecting these passages in one easily accessible volume. Though I read the book in two short hours, I find myself pulling it from the shelf frequently for comfort, words of wisdom, or lyrics to the music of my life. This book also gave me the "right" words to memorialize two very close family members. I am grateful. Do not deny yourself the pleasure of this wonderful little book. It is a "keeper." -- Dr. Allison L. Hayes
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You shouldn't put aside this book because of your prejudices. To me, this is the best lesson it leaves on us. Robert Fulghum was a minister, a unitarian uniersalist minister (Wikipedia), and to know that could fire eventually certain alarms in some people. It did on me, but I bought the book because I had read All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. In fact, I use that book in my lectures of mathematical modeling and simulation and (trust me) it really worked. And as the people say, one thing led to another.

Words I wish I wrote is one of those book you never finish. Is a companion book. A brik that's always there, waiting to be picked up in order to open it and read whatever you find, don't matter what.

Now well, the author collected these quotes through different ways. Taking them from a book, from a picture, from a conversation, many, many ways. So the selection has the fresh air of something that it came to be, something that wasn't intended.

Anyway, Fulghum explains, at the beginning of every chapter, why he choose those quotes and why they were important to him. And here is the magic, because what was important to him it seems to be important for us, the readers. There's a coincidence indeed, but a very happy one.

The chapters have titles like, well, Begin, Choose, Possible, Journey, and so on. They are thematic, so if you need it, you only have to look for knowing, beforehand, that you'll find exactly that: Begin, Choose, Possible, Journey...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fulghum's reading list, with comments. A guided tour among the authors and artists who have inspired and entertained this thoughtful and joyful intellect over his long and fruitful life. I hope to make the acquaintance of more of them as my life adventure unfolds.
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