Oh, the Things I Know!

Oh, the Things I Know!

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by Al Franken

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A cradle-to-grave guide to living, an easy-to-follow user's manual for human existence, Al Franken's book is filled with wisdom, observations, and practical tips readers can put to work right away.See more details below


A cradle-to-grave guide to living, an easy-to-follow user's manual for human existence, Al Franken's book is filled with wisdom, observations, and practical tips readers can put to work right away.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Fans of Franken's brilliant political satire (Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot) will be disappointed with his latest book. Oh, the Things I Know, while humorous in places, does not live up to the biting acerbity of Franken's political wit. It also pales in comparison with his earlier "self-help" persona, Stuart Smalley of Saturday Night Live fame. In this audio the author offers guidance, of a sort, through many of life's travails. Throughout, Franken appears to put aside what he is best at, humor, and tries to turn out a chapter or two of what Oprah is best at, concern and helpful advice for daily living. Those of us who have laughed out loud while reading his earlier books will be dissatisfied with this slim attempt at humor. Most libraries would be better served with any of Franken's other works.-Theresa Connors, Arkansas Tech Univ., Russellville Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
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Penguin Group
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18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Oh, You Shouldn't Skip the Introduction!

One of my biggest regrets, and I have many, is that my father never gave me any advice. Not because I wanted to hear what he had to say. (While he was a happy man, he was not what you would call successful.) It's just that if Dad had told me something clever or even useful, I could be passing it onto you right now and my job would be that much easier.

But then I thought that perhaps by not giving me any advice, he was giving me the best advice of all. Which is that there are no shortcuts, that you have to do the heavy lifting for yourself, make your own mistakes, and learn things the hard way. Thanks, Dad. Thanks a lot!

And although he never gave me advice, and I had to learn about the birds and the bees from my piano teacher, I realize now everything I know about being a good parent is based on my Dad's example. It's not that I know that much about being a good parent, but I did learn one thing, which is actually the only piece of what can pass for advice that I've ever felt comfortable giving to others. It is quite simply this.

Quantity time is quality time. My Dad never took me horseback riding. We never went white water rafting. He never gave me the seven thousand dollar fully functional scale model of a Ferrari that I coveted when I was twelve. But he did spend time with me. Not necessarily quality time, but quantity time, hours and hours and hours of non-productive, aimless quantity time.

What did we do with this quantity time? Mainly, we watched television, hours and hours and hours of television. My fondest memories of childhood are of sitting on the couch watching comedians on TV with my parents. Dad loved George Burns, Jack Benny, and Phil Silvers. But his favorite was Buddy Hackett.

Now, my Dad smoked a pipe for fifty years, and by that I mean he inhaled, risking not just mouth cancer, but lung cancer, which eventually killed him at age 85. Still, he loved that pipe.

When Dad got on a laughing jag, at a certain point he would begin to cough uncontrollably, loosening the phlegm in his inflamed lungs. It was never long before the phlegm made its way up his windpipe and into the handkerchief which he always carried with him for just such an eventuality. This was even more disgusting than I'm making it sound. For some reason this never bothered me . But every time Johnny Carson would say, "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Mr. Buddy Hackett," my mother would get up and leave the room.

And so it was this quantity time spent with my father, laughing and coughing up phlegm, which inspired me in choosing my life's work: making people laugh and raising money for the American Lung Association. So, no, my father never imparted a pithy aphorism or even a carefully thought out explanation of the human reproductive system. Still, he was an inspiration. And, in the spirit of the non-traditional advice I received from my father and the more professional (and effective) advice you can get from people like Oprah Winfrey, I have embarked upon this book in which I will set down the wisdom I have accumulated in fifty short years on this Earth. Not just for my own two children, the eldest of whom will be graduating from college next year, but for the general public as well. Because, you see, I think of you all as my children. Let's get started.

First off, don't smoke a pipe.

--Reprinted from Oh, the Things I Know! by Al Franken by permission of Dutton, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright (c) Al Franken, 2002. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

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