Maybe (Maybe Not): Second Thoughts on a Secret Life

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I once began a list of the contradictory notions I hold:
Look before you leap.
He who hesitates is lost.
Two heads are better than one.
If you want something done right, do it yourself.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Better safe than sorry.
Out of sight, out of mind.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
You can't tell a book by its cover.
Clothes make the man.
Many hands make light work.
Too many cooks spoil the broth.
You can't teach an old dog new tricks.
It's never too late to learn.
Never sweat the small stuff.
God is in the details.
And so on. The list goes on forever. Once I got so caught up in this kind of thinking that I wore two buttons on my smock when I was teaching art. One said, "Trust me, I'm a teacher." The other replied, "Question Authority."

After three phenomenal #1 bestsellers, Fulghum returns with a brand-new collection of essays as wise, witty, and down-to-earth as ever. Whether the subject is barbershop mythology or a meditation on the circumstances of one's own conception, Fulghum makes us a little more aware of the richness, fullness, and joyousness of life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The author's missionary spirit glows even brighter in his fourth book than in its bestselling predecessors All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten et al. In this collection of ``second thoughts from a secret life,'' he uses musings about ironing a shirt, conducting the last movement of Beethoven's Ninth and selling school chocolate to emphasize the give and take, the unpredictability of the well-lived life. What Fulghum says of Einstein could well apply to himself: ``Ambiguity remains at the end of the equation of his best thinking.'' If a chapter on the consumption of urine by certain cultures is distasteful, Fulghum's ruminations nevertheless make zesty entertainment. His many fans will enjoy his latest contribution and accept his invitation to join him for singing and storytelling on the ``22 Cities, 22 Causes, One Good Reason Tour'' he'll be making from September through November to benefit Literacy Volunteers, Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity and other causes. Sept.
School Library Journal
YA-Fulghum shares some of his insights with readers. They include episodic, kaleidoscopic mental explorations of events observed or imagined. YAs may be surprised at the commonalities between one adult male's perspectives and their own. Points to ponder abound. Whether read straight through or dipped into for a couple of minutes, beginning on almost any page, this engaging narrative offers a break from the daily grind.
John Mort
Mix Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., with Paul Harvey and you get Robert Fulghum: Vonnegut for his punchy, repetitive, ironic style and Harvey for his parables of ordinary life. Fulghum here meditates on ambivalence--on "maybe"--to express his belief that "everything and anything is always possible, the miraculous is always nearby and wonders shall never, ever cease." Maybe comes in several varieties. Fulghum likes the French term "la perruque", expressive of what you do secretly when ostensibly you are doing something else--such as writing a letter to your lover on company time or pretending to believe someone's story covering up horrid behavior. There's the minor maybe--revealing larger sensibilities--of dealing with a poinsettia after the holidays (Throw it out? It's still alive) and the major, even cosmic maybe of pi, which stretches out in infinite patternlessness. Fulghum muses further on a nervy cellist, Vedran Smailovic, who played his cello on a street in Sarajevo for 22 consecutive days, braving artillery fire. In time other musicians joined him. In time a musician in the U.S., Beliz Brother, organized 22 Seattle cellists to play in 22 locations for 22 days. Fulghum lifts this kind of story into the realm of rapture; he's a feel-good guy, but for the most part, he leaves out the treacle. Big printing, ambitious tour to follow; this one, like "All I Really Need to Know I Learned In Kindergarten" (1988), will be sure to show up on best-seller lists--and then among banquet speakers. No maybe to it.
From Barnes & Noble
Radiating a spiritual, yet down-to-earth universality that has made his writing appealing to readers around the world, Fulghum's latest ruminations range over such topics as barbershop mythology, the meaning of nicknames, more.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804111157
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/1995
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 579,148
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.79 (h) x 0.61 (d)

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