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First and Foremost:
Pinpoint Your Passion
Be honest with yourself about it. really think about what you're interested in. What you enjoy, what captures your imagination and gets your brain going. What YOU want to do—not what you believe your parents or your teachers or society or your four brothers think you should do.
When I graduated back in 1977, all I wanted to do was anchor a network TV show. Everyone thought I was nuts. My parents' friends told me to get a grip on myself and go to law school until I could figure out what I really wanted to do. Others suggested I should catch the wave that was surely going to wash up on Wall Street. My girlfriends all wanted to go to the big city, get an apartment together, and have a blast. Still other people told me to get out of denial, stop fighting the family tradition, and go into politics. All legitimate goals, but they weren't mine.
I wanted to make a difference in people's lives, but not through the law or business or politics or public service. I wanted to tell the stories of the day in the medium of the day, television—reaching out to the world with ideas, made real in words and pictures.
Now, how had I gotten so passionate about going into television news? I was bitten by the bug back in 1972, when I was still in high school. As the ancient history majors among you may know, that year my father was the Democratic nominee for vice president. I was helping out on his campaign, and I was lucky to get the rare opportunity to travel on the campaign plane. (Note: If you have the inclination or the opportunity to work onan election campaign, grab it. I guarantee you'll learn more about people and politics in this country than almost anywhere else your travels may take you.)
My father's staff stuck me—"candidate's kid, obviously a brat!"—with "THEM" in the back of the plane. It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. You see, the back of the plane was where the fun was, because "THEM" was the press, the hardworking, wisecracking guys (and a few women) from the big national media—newspapers, wire services, radio, and TV. Most of them had covered politics for years, watching the passing parade of candidates and campaigns through practiced (some would say jaundiced) eyes. They were constantly observing and commenting, and their endless stream of quips and coverage—even cartoons—put the presidential campaign on a whole new plane for me. Literally.
Remember, I'd lived and breathed politics my entire life—had political discussion and debate served like mashed potatoes with dinner every night since I was a little kid. In a lot of ways, politics and making history was the family business. But that year on the campaign, I experienced firsthand something groundshaking to me: I saw how the newspeople put their fingerprints on history before it became history, taking something that had just happened in front of my eyes and giving it context. What the public saw was not the raw event I was experiencing on the campaign. It was filtered and explained and shaped by the journalists first.
And as we traveled the country, this colorful, wonderful band of smart and funny explainers and shapers was constantly changing. Reporters and crews from local media would jump on board for a while and then drop off—people with regional interests, like agriculture in Wichita or unionism in Detroit, who'd put their own spin on it. And I also got to fraternize with and observe some of the real heavy hitters of political journalism. They'd travel with the campaign for varying lengths of time, and I'd eagerly await their pieces in the New York Times or the Washington Post or the CBS Evening News and scarf them up.
But the difference between regional and national reporters wasn't the only one I noticed. The straight reporters would report what they'd seen and heard—picking and choosing their story elements from what actually happened, but then just showing and describing them and letting readers or viewers come to their own conclusions. In contrast, the name columnists and commentators would get to interpret and analyze, offering their personal takes on what was going on in Campaign '72.
Either way, though, I saw it was the newspeople, not my dad or his press people, who decided what part of a speech, if anything, made it into the papers or on the air. By punching up certain issues or making the candidates the issue or focusing on the horse race, these journalists wielded huge influence. And it seemed to me that television had the most heat. It possessed an immediacy, an ability to capture and transmit the excitement (or the boredom) of the campaign—and the sincerity (or cynicism) of the candidates.
And it dawned on me right there in the back of the plane eating peanuts, that television would be the politics of the future. Television would be the way to touch people, move and excite them, anger and educate them the way politicians used to when they had direct contact with voters one-on-one in the streets. I knew this in my gut, and I wanted in.
Remember, this was the 1972 election, just a heartbeat before the Watergate scandal broke open. Before Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (let alone Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman) intoxicated a generation with the ideal of crusading journalists exposing the bad guys to the light of the truth. In 1972, the news biz was not an obvious career choice, especially for a young woman.
So I sat in the back of the plane eating too many peanuts (more on that later), thinking, "Yes, this is for me." I, too, would travel the country and even the world, meeting people from every place and every walk of life. I'd hear their stories and then turn around and bear witness, sharing them with the rest of the country. I would be part of this pack of intense and highly competitive professionals. Work would never be boring. Laughter was a big part of it. And hadn't I always said I didn't want a desk job? These guys on the plane didn't even have desks.
Day after day, I asked my traveling companions every question I could think of. Where'd you go to school? What did you study? How did you get all of your experience? How do you handle the competition? What about that punishing deadline every day? Do you dread it or crave it? How many newspapers a day do you read? Five? How do you get scoops? How can you be so breezy, schmoozing politics with the other reporters, when your real goal is to beat the pants off them every night? When do you see your kids? I soaked up the answers, and my own dreams came into focus. By the time Campaign '72 was over, I knew what I wanted to do with my life—but I didn't tell a soul.
I didn't tell anyone because I thought they'd view it as silly, and I didn't want the hassle of trying to convince them otherwise. I knew otherwise, and that was enough. Also, part of it had just a little something to do with my family, which regarded the press in many ways as an adversary across a great divide—prying into our lives, chronicling our every move. Like many young people who are secretive about their dreams, I thought my family would be incredibly disappointed in my choice.
But remember, just because you think you must fulfill others' expectations doesn't mean you have to. And here's something shocking: You actually might be wrong. I was. When I finally told my parents what I wanted to do, they never once warned me not to. They never once told me I couldn't or shouldn't or wouldn't possibly succeed in the news business. They just nodded and said they regretted they couldn't really help me in that business, and they gave me their blessing. They might have thought I was silly or nuts, but they never let me know. They let me grow, and any skepticism they possessed changed into pride. Eventually.
Of course, my father's ticket lost the election in 1972. But not me. I won—a vision I could follow into my future, a passion I could pursue. It colored every decision I made after that—where I lived, where I worked, and who I spent time with. I was determined to learn everything I could about TV news, and I was determined to be good at it.
Trust your gut, no matter what you expect your parents or teachers or anyone else will think of your choice. Lots of people don't know where to start. So try to pinpoint the field, the area, the kinds of people you want to be with. It's your life. Go with your gut.
|1||First and Foremost: Pinpoint Your Passion||1|
|2||No Job Is Beneath You||9|
|3||Who You Work for and with Is As Important As What You Do||23|
|4||Your Behavior Has Consequences||35|
|5||Be Willing to Fail||47|
|6||Superwoman Is Dead ... and Superman May Be Taking Viagra||59|
|7||Children Do Change Your Career (Not to Mention Your Entire Life)||69|
|8||Marriage Is a Hell of a Lot of Hard Work||85|
|9||Don't Expect Anyone Else to Support You Financially||97|
Posted February 1, 2013
This is a great book. I wish I had had it before I got out of high school. It may have given me the push I needed! Highly recommend it as a graduation gift!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 20, 2012
Posted March 27, 2006
Maria has picked a great topic: words of advice for young people starting new lives. I also love another new book, Words to Live By: A Journal of Wisdom for Someone You Love, by a mother-daughter team. Maria is great, but maybe your (grand)child would rather hear from you. This other book lets you and your family write in your own bits of life advice (big or small) for your young person. Surprisingly easy to do.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 3, 2002
I really enjoyed this audio. It was entertaining as well as educational. It pointed out some of the pitfalls we all face when entering the real world. It also gives insight on being a Kennedy and the disadvantages that come with the name.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 14, 2002
This book is filled with helpful advice for any stage of life. As soon as I finished it, I gave it to my son to read (he is graduating soon). It's refreshing to see that a person can succeed while maintaining a positive attitude and being ethical. The little tidbits about Maria's marriage and family add flavor to this delightful read. I also recommend the book of wisdom titled 'Open Your Mind, Open Your Life' by Taro Gold. Both these books make for great graduate gifts.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 17, 2001
This book was great. Down to earth, simple yet profound. I really enjoyed reading it and it helped put my career and goals in perspective!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 4, 2001
I was given this book to read over the summer before I entered into college. This is one of the best books that I've read. The reason why I like this book so much is because Shriver gives you lessons of life that everyone needs to learn. For example, the first lesson is to pursue your passion. You want to be able to choose a career that is right for you, despite criticism that you may get because of the choices that you make. Overall, it was a wonderful book. I enjoy the synopses at the end of each chapter. This book is on my list of good books!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 27, 2001
You've just graduated, and want to make your mark on the world. What should you focus on? Maria Shriver has excellent ideas for you! Most young people desperately want to carve their own niche and acquire competence in the 20s. In the course of doing that, they can fall into stalled thinking about living up to others' expectations and achieving perfection. This book provides a good antidote to those misconceptions. The advice encourages humility and realism. Because Maria Shriver is a celebrity who works in television, this message will seem relevant to even the most starstruck. The weakness of the book is that she only tells her own story, but doesn't use anyone else as an example. We all can learn from everyone we meet, so Ms. Shriver does fall down in this one department. Her memoir focuses on her life from the end of college to now. She comes across as well-meaning in this book, someone who's heart is in the right place and is willing to work like a dog. Even if you don't think you like her, take a look at the book. You can tell after a chapter or two if this is for you or not. Of her advice lists, I thought that 'pinpoint your passion' and 'be willing to fail' were the most pertinent to young people today who are just graduating. The reason these are important is that your passion will get you through the ups and downs in your chosen direction. Failures are your best learning experiences. Naturally, if someone you know wants a career in television, this book also contains some useful information about what the process is like. It's more hard work than many would imagine! Also, I suggest that you talk to some other older people to ask them what they have learned from experience. Most people do not have a glittering or greatly satisfying life by middle age. If they wanted better, where did they go wrong? You can learn a lot from other peoples' mistakes, as well. Persistence counts for a lot! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent SolutionWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 4, 2001
Ms. Shriver touches all of us. It is a book about what we all go through - the peaks and valleys of a career. I think one of the best lines from her is YOUR BOSS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE JOB ITSELF. Kudos to Ms. Shriver and I hope there is more to come.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 11, 2000
This book amazing captures all my fears and revelations about life. I learned that the high expectations I have for my career choice should be stored and not discourage me when it doesn't work out like I hope. This funny lite tale really is the recipe for a happy life. I found out about this book on an Oprah late night re-run when Maria Shriver appeared. I went the next day to buy it and could not put it down. It really helped me to gain perspective on my life as my final semester in college approached. I am able to laugh about my faults and find ways to improve them. All without the desire to hide until its over.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 24, 2000
I found the book to be great. It's nice to know that deep down inside she went through many of the same things that 'regular' people go through. It seems like she dosen't take herself to seriously, and that she is always in the process of learning and improving herself. I admit when I bought this book I didn't know if i was going to like it. The only times I really see Maria Shriver is on Dateline or with Arnold and the Kennedy family. The book was fresh, enlightning, and inspiring, and it showed truly what kind of person she truly is. I recommend that everyone read this book so they know that they too are going through some of the situations that she went through.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 18, 2000
Posted October 24, 2000
When I read the title of the book 'Ten Things I Wish I'd Known - Before I Went Out into the Real World' by Maria Shriver I thought - wow, that could be very interesting. And it was! Maria Shriver has such an analytic and humorous way of seeing and describing things and showing ways of handling different situations - by accepting what's happening and following your own feelings and intuition. For me one very important aspect was, that she describes every situation happening from her point of view without leaving out the challenges she faced as - a women who tries to handle her career, her relationship and later on also her kids. She made me often laugh by describing the perfectionism she has had trying to do always the perfect thing - and the results it had and the mixed feelings and failures it produced. The fact, that taking yourself not too seriously but to focus on what you are doing, was one aspect that shifted my point of view to begin to see my own life in a different light. The ways she describes how to handle situations and emotions by accepting what's happening and just going on with humour and trust showed me a way of laughing about myself sometimes, to love parts of my life I didn't accept before and to search for my own way - by accepting that 'Superwomen Is Dead ...' how she names it - and feeling that your only chance is to go for your own life yourself - and to do what you want to do to become happy. Thanks for describing your development in such a wonderful and funny way - it really is often fun now for me to look in the mirror after having read this book! The feelings I had while reading this book remind me of another book which I would like to recommend to other readers. This book is called 'Working On Yourself Doesn't Work' by Ariel & Shya Kane. It's thesis is that being in the moment and becoming aware of your own mechanical behaviours hold the possibility to transform your life. 'Transformation' allows for different possibilities in your life that you thought were never possible before. To live a happy life and have success in all areas of your life. And their thesis works! They also made a big difference in my life and I would like to thank Maria Shriver and the Kanes for their wonderful works and the fun and happiness I have since I understand their ideas more and more- by seeing things with humour and acceptance - which makes a lot of things so much easier. Thanks!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 12, 2000
I first crossed passed with Shriver's book at the library, shoved between two sci-fi books. I shrugged, thinking for a short read it was worth the time, and if anything at least I could say I read something she wrote. The book is great, and that's the concises way to write it. As a journalist not even close to Shriver's level, it was nice to know that she has faced some of the same struggles I am facing now with my blossoming career. I admire her work balancing family and work, and she really hit home by saying you just can't do everything overnight, that's what you have a whole lifetime for.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 6, 2000
I have finally met Maria Shriver. The mix of humorous true life stories and real life struggles were amazing. A quick read that had me nodding my head in agreement throughout the book.She has my respect as a mother, wife, and a savy business woman.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 22, 2000
I just hope that Ms. Shriver continues to write incredible uplifting books like this one. She is very human and shares the obstacles she faced and her fears, etc.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 7, 2000
¿Ten Things I Wish I¿d Known - Before I Went Out into the Real World¿ by Maria Shriver is a fun book written with a spirit of compassion. While it¿s based on a college graduation speech, its appeal is really to anyone open to advice about work and personal relationships. My favorite chapter was ¿Your Behavior Has Consequences¿ because . Shriver takes an honest look at getting ¿your gut to talk ethics to you.¿ It¿s about personal integrity in environments that practically beg you to bend your principles. Shriver uses examples from her own life, citing mistakes she¿s made, and successes she¿s had in the area of living with integrity. I got the feeling that someone who had been down certain roads was willing to lend me a hand in being true to myself. I was inspired that she stressed letting go of the past and getting on with what¿s present in your life. To readers interested in discovering a fuller life, I highly recommend ¿Working on Yourself Doesn¿t Work¿ by Ariel and Shya Kane. This book is for anyone who wants to live each day with self-expression, satisfaction and love. Many books have pointed the way for me, but this one went right to the heart of the matter - that trying to fix yourself keeps you stuck in the places you¿d like to be free of, but getting into the moment will set you free. Just in reading and re-reading the book, I¿ve found myself falling into the space of living in the moment and my life has become easier. This book is truly a gift.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 21, 2000
I read Shriver's book in only two days because it was short and easy to read and because it was so enjoyable. Reading this book gives an interesting insight into Shriver's life and her light-hearted sense of humor. Nothing in the book is so deep or mind-boggling that it will deeply affect you. Then again, I'm not exactly a recent college graduate, the audience intended for this book. It's a good book for high school and college graduates and has good, realistic advice backed by interesting examples from Shriver's life. I'll probably keep it around and read it again just for kicks.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 18, 2000
I had just recently graduated form college when I received this book. It has given me a better outlook on life and the journey that lies before me. I recommend it to anyone who just graduated and unsure of their future. It's very uplifting. I feel like I know Maria personally now.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 3, 2000