Ask Amy: Advice for Better Living

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For a decade, Amy Dickinson has been the Chicago Tribune's signature general advice columnist, helping readers with questions both personal and pressing. Her column is syndicated in over 150 newspapers nationally and internationally, and Ask Amy: Advice for Better Living is the very first collection of her daily columns, which are read by an estimated 22 million people.

Featuring over 200 question-and-answer columns taken from 2011–2013, this book is filled with warm, witty, and...

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For a decade, Amy Dickinson has been the Chicago Tribune's signature general advice columnist, helping readers with questions both personal and pressing. Her column is syndicated in over 150 newspapers nationally and internationally, and Ask Amy: Advice for Better Living is the very first collection of her daily columns, which are read by an estimated 22 million people.

Featuring over 200 question-and-answer columns taken from 2011–2013, this book is filled with warm, witty, and insightful advice. After taking over for the legendary advice columnist Ann Landers in 2003, Dickinson charmed her way into readers' lives with her sensible takes on etiquette, relationships, and the gray areas of day-to-day life. Her wry humor and practical wisdom comes through in her eloquently crafted tips on problems both personal and professional.

Broken down into distinct categories, Dickinson tackles issues ranging from marital to financial, familial to romantic. Having trouble with in-laws, online platforms, or a pesky sibling? Dickinson has answers for those questions and more. She's not one to mince words, and faces the problems head-on with honest and thoughtful advice. Ask Amy: Advice for Better Living is a great collection to have on hand, written in the tone of a best friend who gives the hard truth and a comforting hand in troubled times.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Amy Dickinson and her memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville:

"Perhaps Dickinson's greatest natural asset is the ability to draw people's problems out of them, even in real life—not feeding on these people as if she were drawing strength from their misery but, rather, responding to them with empathy and warmth and understanding." —The Atlantic

"Dickinson quickly charmed legions of fans with her unabashed candor, tension-diffusing wit, and astute reasoning." —Booklist

"Dickinson writes with an honesty that is at once folksy and intelligent." —Publishers Weekly

"Smart, humorous, common-sensical...a passionate proponent of small-town American values." —Washington Post

"A woman who understands the power of defusing pain with humor. Which just might be the best advice there is." —People magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572841550
  • Publisher: Agate
  • Publication date: 12/10/2013
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 263,974
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy Dickinson

Amy Dickinson is the Chicago Tribune's signature general advice columnist. Based in Chicago, she has contributed to TIME, NPR's All Things Considered, and CBS's Sunday Morning. Her memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Story of Surprising Second Chances is a New York Times bestseller.


Amy Dickinson is a syndicated advice columnist, penning the "Ask Amy" column, which appears in over 200 newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Newsday, and The Washington Post.

She grew up on a small dairy farm in the Finger Lakes district of New York state. Her father wanted his three daughters to be farmers but gave up on them when they refused to compete in the local Diary Princess pageant. Her large family has lived in and around her hometown (pop. 450) continuously since the Revolutionary War. She has described them as "hilarious, short-waisted Methodists."

"My extended family is a collection of married and divorced parents, single mothers, step-relatives, adoptees -- and devoted siblings, cousins, aunties, uncles and grandparents. I grew up hearing stories about my ancestors' exploits: My great-grandfather was warden of Sing Sing Prison and my great-uncle ran off to Europe and joined the circus when he was 40. Life in my hometown was like growing up in Lake Wobegon, only with worse weather and high unemployment," she says.

Amy attended Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. She graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She has worked as a receptionist for The New Yorker magazine, as a producer for NBC News in Washington and New York, as a lounge singer, and as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Esquire, Allure, O magazine, and other publications. From 1999-2002, she wrote a column for TIME magazine focusing on family life and parenting.

Dickinson's commentaries and radio stories have been featured on the National Public Radio program "All Things Considered." In the early days of the Internet, she wrote a weekly column, carried on America Online's News Channel, which often drew on her experiences as a single parent and member of a large, extended family. She has also been a Sunday school teacher and a substitute teacher at a local nursery school.

Of her role as an advice columnist, Dickinson has this to say: "Because I so often write about personal issues and points of family conflict, readers have been reaching out to me, asking for advice about everything from their children's appalling table manners to their sticky relationships with the in-laws. I realized that people really want to have a conversation, and I'm honored that they want to have it with me."

In addition to her advice column, Amy is a regular panelist on NPR's comedy quiz show, "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me." She also can be heard regularly on NPR's national talk show, "Talk of the Nation." Amy appears frequently on CNN, Fox News, and the "Today Show."
--Biography from author website

Good To Know

Here are some outtakes from our interview with Amy Dickinson:
  • "I was once a lounge singer."

  • "I love to tramp around in the country."

  • "I have an affinity for animals and livestock of all kinds, but they don't necessary take to me."

  • "The saddest and most beautiful sight I know is that of a flock of geese, honking and flying overhead."

  • "I have always put my relationships before my work, because I figure if my relationships are good, I'm happier and have more freedom to write what I want to write. I try to celebrate other peoples' creative endeavors and am easily inspired."

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    Table of Contents

    I. Marriage: For better, for worse, and not necessarily forever
    II. Family: You don't choose them, but sometimes they pick up the tab
    III. Parenting: The hardest job you'll ever love
    IV. Siblings: They know you like nobody else, and that's the problem
    V. Dating: It's not for the faint of heart
    VI. Divorce: Ex marks the spot
    VII. In-Laws: The good, the bad, the obnoxious
    VIII. Work: It's not work if you love it—but first you have to find it
    IX. Boundaries: Drawing, building and reinforcing
    X. Life Online: Screwing up across platforms

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