30 Lessons For Living…Profound!

30 Lessons For Living: Tried & True Advice From the Wisest Americans

At 20, I wouldn’t have read it.  I was in a hurry – learning, climbing.  Mortality? Huh?

At 30, it’s family, career and it’s obligations – no time to contemplate.  Little time to read.

At 40, I’m beginning to settle, mind is opening – I might have given this book a glance.  But I’m wary.

At x0, (I can’t believe it or say it or type it).  Where did the years go?  My eyes are WIDE OPEN.  I’m locked in on this book.

Not sure how I tripped into the book.  (Coincidence?  Deepak Sharma would say Not.)

I read an Amazon review where the reviewer described the book as “Profound.”  Really?  How many top-10-list self-help books have I read?  Not sure I can recall one lesson from these books.

I was skeptical.  (Highly)

And I was wrong. (Again)

There is an estimated $1 billion spent each year on self-improvements books in the U.S.  And more advice columns, television experts, and websites – all preaching advice of one sort or another.  Yet none of them speak from experience of having lived and learned.  Karl Pillemer, the author and a gerontologist at Cornell, interviewed more than 1,000 older Americans between the ages of 70 to 100 in search of lessons for living.  He spent over 5 years on the project and summarized his findings in this book. Lessons range from:

  • Lessons for a Happy Marriage (Marry Someone a Lot Like You; Friendship is Important; Don’t Keep Score; Talk to Each Other; Commit to Marriage not just your Partner)
  • Lessons for a Successful and Fulfilling Career (Seek Intrinsic Rewards, not financial ones; Don’t give up looking for a job you love; Make the Most of a Bad Job, Emotional Intelligence Trumps all; Everyone needs autonomy)
  • Lessons for Parenting (It’s all about time; It’s normal to have favorites but don’t show it; Don’t Hit Your Kids; Avoid A Rift At All Costs; Take A Lifelong View of Relationships with Children)
  • Lessons For Aging Fearlessly and Well (Being Old is Much Better than you think; Act Now Like You will need your body for 100 years; Don’t Worry About Dying; Stay Connected to others; Plan ahead where you will live)
  • Lessons For Living a Life Without Regrets (Always be honest; Say Yes to Opportunities; Travel More; Choose a Mate with Extreme Care; Say It Now before it is too late)
  • Lessons for Living Like an Expert (Choose Happiness; Time is of the Essence; Happiness is a Choice, not a condition; Time Spent Worrying is Wasted; Think Small; Have Faith; Live by the Golden Rule)
I was deeply moved by this book.  I found myself being pulled along – with skepticism being stripped down to bare bones of belief as I turned the pages.   He’s on to something.  The power of this book is in the stories and the anecdotes of the “experts” (the term he uses to describe the elders who are interviewed for his research).  The voices of experts are calm…peaceful…learned…zen-like.  The author weaves lessons and stories gently throughout – – a slow moving stream making its way south.  For my favorite excerpts from the book, see my posts at: Think Small… and Live Simply…  For a short video clip preview…


  1. Great review. That looks like a great book!


  2. Sold me, I just bought it.


  3. Now THIS is a book of “life advice” I would be inclined to buy, read, and heed. Thanks for the heads up. Adding it to my “To Be Read” list. 🙂


  4. David, I’ve enjoyed browsing around on your blog so much. I agree with ‘Manage Better,’ you sold me — I purchased the book based on your review, too. Thanks, and looking forward to reading it, along with your blog in the future. — Robin


  5. I just pressed on the Donkey Whisperer Farm blog. Will be buying the book 🙂


  6. Okay I just needed this..will try to get this book..However, to find this book will be a challenge considering I am in Asia…..Great post!


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