Patti's Pearls

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Overview

"All my life people have told them to me. Pearls of wisdom worth more than rubies. 'Sentence sayings' filled with the wisdom of ages. Timeless truths that, if followed, hold the secrets of living genuinely, joyfully, generously. It started with my Grandmother Ellen when I was just a kid. Now, many years later, my family and friends are still telling me pearls of wisdom. And they're some of the wisest things I've ever heard. I hope you will find as much wisdom in these pearls as I have. Because it can make all the...

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2001 Hardcover New in new dust jacket., minor shelfwear on dust cover

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2001 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 160 p. Audience: General/trade.

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Patti's Pearls: Lessons in Living Genuinely, Joyfully, Generously

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Overview

"All my life people have told them to me. Pearls of wisdom worth more than rubies. 'Sentence sayings' filled with the wisdom of ages. Timeless truths that, if followed, hold the secrets of living genuinely, joyfully, generously. It started with my Grandmother Ellen when I was just a kid. Now, many years later, my family and friends are still telling me pearls of wisdom. And they're some of the wisest things I've ever heard. I hope you will find as much wisdom in these pearls as I have. Because it can make all the difference in your life..."
-- Patti LaBelle

  • In love, it is always better to want something you don't have than to have something you don't want.
  • You preach a better sermon with your life than you do with your lips.
  • They're the Ten Commandments, not the Ten Suggestions.

Insights that will touch you deeply, make you think, and give you hope, encouragement, and guidance-that's what Patti LaBelle offers in this jewel of a book. In it you'll find her "pearls," the succinct and witty sayings that encapsulate the principles Patti lives by, together with Patti's personal reminiscences and anecdotes. Whether talking about faith, love, and friendship or following your gut instincts and being true to yourself, Patti candidly shares intimate stories of good times and glamour, hard times and heartbreak from her own extraordinary life. It's like having a best friend in the room who tells you the truth, holds your hand, and cheers you on.

With its frank, always down-to-earth and caring voice, Patti's Pearls will inspire you-and maybe change the way you look at, and live, your life. As Patti would say, "The only time you run out of chances is when you stop taking them.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
As you well know, Patti LaBelle's music will lift you up. And so will the words of her grandmother, mother, aunts, sisters, and friends. Patti's Pearls is not a seven-step self-help book or a list of dictates. Instead, it asks you to look within, to look to your family and loved ones for the "pearls of wisdom" that they have instilled in you since you were a child.

Do any of these seem familiar to you?

  • Better to be alone than to wish you were.
  • You can't be a doormat if you don't lie down.
  • The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
You've heard them before and so had she, but it wasn't until she started writing her bestselling memoir Don’t Block the Blessings that she realized how much pain and suffering she could have avoided had she put into practice those pearls of wisdom that she'd heard all of her life. Through the end of her longtime marriage, the loss of a sister to colon cancer, raising her son, Zuri, and navigating the setbacks and triumphs in her career, Ms. LaBelle has seen it all. And it is from these life-changing experiences that she has compiled some of her most meaningful and helpful pearls to share with you. Take it from Patti LaBelle, because "when you've been blessed, you gotta pass it on." (Jennifer Forman)
Publishers Weekly
Demonstrating once again that her interests go far beyond music, singer Patti LaBelle presents Patti's Pearls: Lessons in Living Genuinely, Joyfully, Generously. Along with Laura Randolph Lancaster, the r&b diva offers a slim volume of inspirational insights, or "pearls," accompanied by personal anecdotes from her life. Some of the sayings are familiar ("Know God, know peace; no God, no peace" and "don't try to change the wind, change the sails"), while others are unique ("Barbie is a doll, not a goal" and "you can't be a doormat if you don't lie down"). (Warner, $19.95 128p ISBN 0-446-52794-7; Oct. 23) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
At the age of 56, LaBelle decided to share what "anyone who had paid any attention at all" should have learned from the "school of life." Patti's Pearls is a compendium of those lessons as well as an extended thank you note to the women in her circle Grandmother Ellen; her mother, "Chubby"; older sister, Vivian; friends Laura Nyro and Corrine; assorted aunts, and others who tried to explain life to her. Thirty years later, LaBelle wishes she could call them up to say, "I get it." All of the women gave her "pearls of wisdom worth more than rubies." While writing her autobiography, Don't Block the Blessings, the entertainer realized her mistakes were what she "liked remembering least but they had taught me the most," and she could have spared herself pain if only she had listened. Her mother was a living example to her daughters of self-respect. At a crucial point in LaBelle's singing career, singer-songwriter Nyro told her, "Choosing to do nothing is making a decision, too." Accessible and funny, this is a down-to-earth, commonsensical approach to self-actualization. A welcome addition to libraries with large collections of self-help and women's books. Pam Kingsbury, Florence, AL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446527941
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/23/2001
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 7.44 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Read an Excerpt

The only time

you run out of chances

is when you stop taking them.

In the seventies, right after Labelle broke up, I thought my career was in serious trouble. No, that's not true. It was much worse than that. In the months following the breakup of Labelle, I thought my career was over. Finished. Circling the drain.

You have to understand, I had been with Nona and Sarah for more than a decade-since we were teenagers-and just the thought of setting foot on a stage without them wrecked me. I mean, the mere idea left me paralyzed with fear. There was only one thing in the world more frightening to me than the thought of singing solo. And that was the thought of never singing again.

That's the only reason I finally agreed to perform a solo concert. Even then, my best friend, Norma, had to push me out on that stage. Literally. I had worked myself into such a frenzy, I probably wouldn't have lasted five minutes in front of that audience if I hadn't wrapped myself in the words Norma whispered in my ear as she shoved me into the spotlight: "You never run out of chances, Pat, until you stop taking them."

Thanks to Norma's words, words that reminded me that God wouldn't bring me that far only to leave me, I was able to reach deep down inside myself and give a performance that earned me a hand-clapping, foot-stomping standing ovation. Though it's been nearly three decades, every now and then I'll run into somebody who was at that show and they'll tell me, "Girl, you turned the place out that night." Unfortunately, I didn't learn the lessons of that experience until much later, after I'd turned down dozens of wonderful chances because I was afraid to take one. After I'd said "no" to a whole lot of people and opportunities I should have said "yes" to. After I finally learned to see fear for what it really is: False Evidence Appearing Real. Faith turned inside out.

To make sure I never again let my fear of failure or the unknown get the best of me, I repeat Martin Luther King Jr.'s brilliant words on the regular:

Fear knocked at the door.

Faith answered.

There was no one there.

It was Norma who tried to tell me what Brother Martin knew instinctively. He knew in his heart, in the marrow of his bones, what it took me half a lifetime to learn: If you wait until your hands stop shaking, you will never open the door. You can't steal second base by keeping your foot on first. You have to go out on a limb. Because that's where all the fruit is.

Many a false step is made

by standing still.

For the last several years, I was smiling on the outside and dying on the inside. That's how long I pretended my marriage was fine when I knew it was finished. That's how long I lingered in a relationship I knew I should have left.

Why I didn't leave sooner I'm only now beginning to fully understand. Part of it was because I didn't want to hurt my family; I didn't want to change their world just because I wanted to change mine. Especially since I was the one who had encouraged them to believe in a fantasy: that Armstead and I were the perfect couple. A modern-day Ozzie and Harriet. A real-life Ward and June. In reality, of course, nothing could have been further from the truth. In reality, Armstead and I were more like the Odd Couple than the perfect couple. More Oscar and Felix than Cliff and Claire.

While I didn't want to upset my loved ones, that's only part of the reason I didn't leave my marriage sooner. The main reason was less selfless, more spineless. The main reason I didn't leave sooner was to spare myself from making an agonizing choice, a choice I wanted desperately to pretend didn't exist: between hurting my son or healing myself. Between causing him pain or ending mine. Between starting to live for myself or continuing to live a lie.

That's how I justified staying. That's how I rationalized the happy marriage charade. That's how I handled everything-the loneliness, the emptiness, the pretense. Staying meant I wouldn't have to choose between breaking Zuri's heart and mending mine. At least that's what I told myself.

But the longer I stayed, the unhappier I became. And the unhappier I became, the more I started to understand what my friend Laura Nyro, the legendary singer-songwriter, tried to tell me many years ago when I was at another crucial crossroads in my life.

"Many a false step is made by standing still," Laura said to me when I told her that I wasn't going to leave Labelle.

Like a lot of people close to us, Laura knew that the creative differences between Nona, Sarah, and me were destroying us. Deep down, I knew it, too. But instead of acknowledging the problem, I ran from it. Instead of facing the music, I stayed and suffered in silence. Until the day we broke up, I kept all the pain inside and pretended.

"You don't get it, do you, Pat?" Laura said to me one day when I called her in tears after a particularly ugly fight with Sarah and Nona. "Doing nothing doesn't get you off the hook. Because if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice. If you choose not to leave, you have decided to stay."

I wish Laura were alive so I could tell her that, almost thirty years after that phone call, I finally get it. I finally understand what she was trying to tell me: Not to decide is to decide. Doing nothing is doing something. Silence is the door to consent.

You know the old saying "You can run, but you can't hide"? Well, it's a clichÈ for a reason. Take it from someone who's tried to run from her problems more times than enough. Enough to know it never works. And here's why. Because you can't hide from yourself. It's simply not possible. As the book title says, "Wherever you go, there you are."

As I've learned the hard way, if you choose to do nothing about your problems, you have actually made a deliberate choice. Because not saying "no" is saying "yes." Not saying "I won't accept that"-whether it's a bad marriage or an awful job or an abusive relationship-is actually saying "I will accept it." Not deciding to progress is deciding to stand still.

In my life, that single awareness has been worth its weight in gold. Because it has led me to an even greater understanding: Even if you fall on your face, you're still moving forward.

Copyright (c) 2001 by Patti LaBelle and Laura Randolph Lancaster

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2001

    The Best Information

    Patti's Pearls was the most informative news I've received in a long time for the application of day to day living. Patti Labelle tells it like it is, no cutting of corners. PL explains the core situation of these ideas that were given to her and passes it on to her audience. The application of this info is now up to the reader. I'm so glad I purchased the book it's definitely an honor to have in my book collection. PP came to a close and I was sad because it was the best information to be shared with me in quite some time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2001

    A Jewel to Treasure

    This is a small book to be read and read again. Patti shows her true strength of character, and her indomitable spirit. She also gives some history of her youth and early experiences in the recording business. If you enjoy Ms. Patti, you will love this book. If you are not a fan, you will be when you have finished this book.

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