Chicken Soup for the Soul: Life Lessons For Women

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Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen have inspired millions with their timeless tales of everyday life. Now they team with noted women's issues expert Stephanie Martson for the first new book series in the Chicken Soup line.

Extraordinary recipes for living will improve lives in nine simple steps. Women will benefit from getting to know themselves in a journal that truly celebrate life. The basic premise of the Chicken Soup series—the power of ...

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Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen have inspired millions with their timeless tales of everyday life. Now they team with noted women's issues expert Stephanie Martson for the first new book series in the Chicken Soup line.

Extraordinary recipes for living will improve lives in nine simple steps. Women will benefit from getting to know themselves in a journal that truly celebrate life. The basic premise of the Chicken Soup series—the power of friendship, the joy of the small moment, and importance of relationships
-- has been reborn into a step-by-step primer for a better life. The advice in Life Lessons is aimed specifically at women and their everyday concerns,
such as finding time, making ends meet and balancing priorities; it is straightforward yet perceptive, and combined with powerful stories, it overflows with inspiration and direction for creating a significant life.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780757301445
  • Publisher: Health Communications, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/13/2004
  • Series: Life Lessons
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 254,741

Meet the Author

Jack Canfield
Jack Canfield, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, is a professional speaker who has dedicated his life to enhancing the personal and professional development of others.

Mark Victor Hansen, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, is a professional speaker who has dedicated his life to enhancing the personal and professional development of others.

Stephanie Marston is a very successful self-help author and president of Life Balance International, a seminar company devoted to supporting women concerned with balancing life's competing priorities. A former celebrity therapist, she has appeared on Oprah, The Early Show, Jenny Jones, Woman to Woman, and many others. She lives in New Mexico. Stephanie's previous titles include: If Not Now, When? (0-446-67859-7, Warner 2002), The Divorced Parent (0-671-51128-8, Pocket 1995), and The Magic of Encouragement (0-671-73273-0, Pocket 1992).


While Jack Canfield himself may not necessarily be a household name, it's very likely that you have heard of his famed Chicken Soup for the Soul series and nearly as likely that you have at least one of them sitting on your very own bookshelf! Having got his start as an inspirational speaker, Canfield's own story is nothing less than inspirational.

Jack Canfield had been traveling around delivering key note speeches and organizing workshops to help audiences build their self-esteem and maximize their potential when he had an in-flight brainstorm that changed his life. While flying home from a gig, Canfield realized that the very same advice he had been delivering during his in-person addresses could potentially form the basis of a book. Canfield used inspirational stories he'd gleaned over the years as the basis of his speeches, and he thought it would be a terrific idea to gather together 101 inspirational stories and anthologize them in a single volume. Upon returning home, Canfield approached friend and author Mark Victor Hansen about his concept. Hansen agreed it was a great idea, and the two men set about finding a publisher. Believe it or not, the mega-selling series was not an easy sell to publishers. "We were rejected by 123 publishers all told," Canfield told "The first time we went to New York, we visited with about a dozen publishers in a two day period with our agent, and nobody wanted it. They all said it was a stupid title, that nobody bought collections of short stories, that there was no edge -- no sex, no violence. Why would anyone read it?"

Canfield wisely practiced what he preached -- and persisted. Ultimately, he and Hansen sold the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book to a small press based in Deerfield Beach, Florida, called Health Communications. The rest, as they say, is history. There are currently 80 million copies of the Chicken Soup books in print, with subjects as varied as Chicken Soup For the Horse Lover's Soul and Chicken Soup For the Prisoner's Soul. Canfield and Hansen ranked as the top-selling authors of 1997 and are multiple New York Times bestsellers. Most important of all, the inspirational stories they have gathered in their many volumes have improved the lives of countless readers.

This year, expect to see Canfield's name gracing the covers of such titles as Chicken Soup For the Scrapbooker's Soul, Chicken Soup For the Mother and Son Soul, and Chicken Soup For the African American Woman's Soul. He and Hansen have also launched the all-new "Healthy Living" series and 8 titles in that series have already been released this year. There is also the fascinating You've GOT to Read This Book!, in which Canfield compiles personal accounts by 55 people each discussing a book that has changed his or her life. The most compelling of these may be the story of young entrepreneur Farrah Gray, who read Deepak Chopra's The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success at the age of 11 and made his first million dollars at the age of 14!

With no sign of slowing down, Canfield continues to be an inspiration to millions, who fortunately refused to give up when it seemed as though he would never even get his first book published. "Mark and I are big believers in perseverance," he said. "If you have a vision and a life purpose, and you believe in it, then you do not let external events tell you what is so. You follow your internal guidance and follow your bliss, as Joseph Campbell used to say."

Good To Know

Canfield is the founder of two California based self-esteem programs, "Self-Esteem Seminars" in Santa Barbara and "The Foundation For Self Esteem" in Culver City.

Writing the first Chicken Soup book was a lot more daunting than Canfield expected. After the first three years of research, he and Mark Victor Hansen had only compiled 68 stories -- 33 tales shy of their goal of 101 stories.

Along with co-writing dozens of full-length books, Canfield also publishes a free biweekly newsletter called Success Strategies.

Some fun and fascinating outtakes from our interview with Canfield:

"My inspiration for writing comes from my passion for teaching others how to live more effective lives. I started out as a history teacher in an all-black inner city high school in Chicago, graduated to a teacher trainer, then psychotherapist, then trainer of therapists, then large group transformational trainer and then a writer and keynote speaker. All along the way, my desire was to make a difference, to help people live more fulfilling lives. That is what I still do today. Most people don't know this but I was not a good writer in college. I got a C in composition. Nobody would have ever believed I would grow up to be a bestselling author."

"I play guitar, and I am learning to play the piano. I love movies and some TV shows. My favorites are Six Feet Under, Grey's Anatomy, House and Lost. I love to play Scrabble, poker and backgammon with my in-laws, nieces and nephews. We really get into it. I love to travel. I have been to 25 countries and try to add two or three new ones every year."

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    1. Hometown:
      Santa Barbara, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 19, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Fort Worth, Texas
    1. Education:
      B.A. in History, Harvard University, 1966; M.A.T. Program, University of Chicago, 1968; M.Ed., U. of Massachusetts, 1973
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Granny's Ninth Birthday

I often think, how could I have survived without these women?


I stood at my front door surrounded by balloons as each friend handed me a colorful package. 'Happy Birthday, Twink!' With a childlike curtsey I thanked them.

'Are any b-o-y-s coming?' asked Becky, my redheaded friend.

'No way!' shouted Ruth, 'This is just for girls.' Ruth is 5' 10' and very opinionated.

These were friends I'd known a long time. Becky's hair is red; she dyes the gray. Ruth has been 5' 10' for 60 of her 72 years.

Eight members of our Granny Group had come to celebrate a little-girl birthday, one of many parties I missed growing up. My mother died nineteen days before my sixth birthday. Devastated, my father moved us to another state so we could live with his parents. I overheard my father and grandmother decide to simply skip my birthday, thinking I would not be aware of that day. My six-year-old mind concluded they didn't think I was worth celebrating. That was the first of the birthday parties I didn't have.

On this, my 59th birthday, secure in my adulthood, I asked this treasured group of friends to help me celebrate my ninth birthday.

Some guests quickly snapped the paper hats on their heads and blew their party blowers at the prissy ones who adjusted the elastic over their hairdos.

Children play games at parties, and we weren't to be outdone. Cat, who had just had a hip replacement, managed to get down on her knees to join in a game of jacks around our rugged old six-foot coffee table. Genea went first. She got all the way to the threesies only because she had played with her grandkids the week before. When Myrna bounced the ball, it flew across the table. We let her try again and again until she finally picked up all the jacks in onesies. Then it was Patti's turn. When she missed, she glared at Myrna. 'Look what you made me do,' she sassed.

'You started it!' replied Myrna, flowing into a nine-year-old attitude. Becky, who spends much of her time speaking to women's groups, crumpled to the floor laughing.

'Enough's enough,' I giggled. 'Let's eat the ice cream and cake.'

The pretend nine-year-olds grunted and moaned as we helped each other back to a standing position. Gladly we went to the dining room table, a place where our bodies felt much more at home.

Duncan Hines had helped me make a great chocolate cake as I pretended to be both my mother and my nine-year-old self. I knew it was good—because I ate a chunk that stuck in the pan. The white frosting had stood in lovely peaks—until I tried to decorate it. It was supposed to say, 'Happy Birthday, Twink' in yellow, redand blue. My handiwork caused purples, greens and oranges to swirl with the primary colors in a mass of modern art. When Becky brought in the cake, I announced, 'I made it myself!'

Everyone sang 'Happy Birthday' to me. The joy of all my should-have-been birthdays welled up in a childlike excitement. They sang to me because they loved me. On my birthday we celebrated me.

I had never felt worthy enough for anyone to bring me a gift. Now, with all this attention, I knew my true friends had spent time and money on me. Cautiously I reached for a present. 'Open the big one first,' Patti demanded.

Did she know it was from my husband? Slowly, with a growing sense of wonder, I took off the ribbon and wrapping paper with pictures of baby dolls. My eyes opened wide. A Betsy Wetsy! I fumbled to get her out of the box and then held her tight. My own doll! She wasn't soft, but oh, she cuddled so well. It was difficult to let her go. My adult took over and I knew it was right to pass her around.

'Don't give her milk because it makes her stink.' Ruth wrinkled up her nose and made us all nine again.

'Open mine next.'

'No, mine's right here.'

Each present had a kid's card and a personal note. The card on the sticker kit said, 'Because I love you! Stick to who you are.'

Becky's card read, 'To a child who has grown up to be God's precious princess.' After I unwrapped the big box, I found a gift wrapped in grown-up paper. It contained a plastic silver tiara witha huge pretend sapphire in the center. For the rest of the afternoon I was a princess.

As the party came to a close, each girl drew a favor out of the 'favor box' in the center of the table. The little figurines were suitable for girls—or for women who want to remember being girls for a day.

'Twink, you're a great nine-year-old. This was such fun.' The grannies shared hugs all around. Becky hugged the princess. 'Thanks for letting us play a part in your healing. You are radiant.'

That day a forgotten part of me grew up. The message children learn from their birthday parties is now mine. I am valuable and worth celebrating.

Twink DeWitt

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2005

    Great Book!!!!

    This book is great for those of us who have lost our sense of self over the years through housework, our children, our careers, our relationships. It's also ideal for those who are starting a new chapter in their lives. This book inspires you to break free and learn to love yourselves again and to find your passion in life. It encourages you to pursue your dreams. Throughout the chapters there are thought-provoking questions that will challenge you to change your life and put yourself first. It's a must have for all mothers, caretakers, grandmothers...for all women in society.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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