A Short Guide to a Happy Life

A Short Guide to a Happy Life

by Anna Quindlen

Hardcover(1ST)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375504617
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/31/2000
Edition description: 1ST
Pages: 64
Sales rank: 65,179
Product dimensions: 5.07(w) x 7.16(h) x 0.41(d)

About the Author

Anna Quindlen is the author of three bestselling novels, Object Lessons, One True Thing, and Black and Blue. Her New York Times column "Public and Private" won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992, and a selection of those columns was published as Thinking Out Loud. She is also the author of a collection of her "Life in the 30's" columns, Living Out Loud; a book for the Library of Contemporary Thought, How Reading Changed My Life; and two children's books, The Tree That Came to Stay and Happily Ever After. She is currently a bi-weekly columnist for Newsweek and resides with her husband and children in New York City.

Hometown:

New York, New York

Date of Birth:

July 8, 1952

Place of Birth:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Education:

B.A., Barnard College, 1974

Read an Excerpt

I'm not particularly qualified by profession or education to give advice and counsel. It's widely known in a small circle that I make a mean tomato sauce, and I know many inventive ways to hold a baby while nursing, although I haven't had the opportunity to use any of them in years. I have a good eye for a nice swatch and a surprising paint chip, and I have had a checkered but occasionally successful sideline in matchmaking.

But I've never earned a doctorate, or even a master's degree. I'm not an ethicist, or a philosopher, or an expert in any particular field. Each time I give a commencement speech I feel like a bit of a fraud. Yogi Berra's advice seems as good as any: When you come to a fork in the road, take it!
I can't talk about the economy, or the universe, or academe, as academicians like to call where they work when they're feeling kind of grand. I'm a novelist. My work is human nature. Real life is really all I know.

Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work. That's what I have to say. The second is only a part of the first. Don't ever forget what a friend once wrote to Senator Paul Tsongas when the senator had decided not to run for reelection because he'd been diagnosed with cancer: "No man ever said on his deathbed I wish I had spent more time at the office."

Don't ever forget the words on a postcard that my father sent me last year: "If you win the rat race, you're still a rat."

Or what John Lennon wrote before he was gunned down in the driveway of the Dakota: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

That's the only advice I can give. After all, when you look at the faces of a class of graduating seniors, you realize that each student has only one thing that no one else has. When you leave college, there are thousands of people out there with the same degree you have; when you get a job, there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living.

But you are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on the bus, or in the car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul.

What People are Saying About This

Liz Smith

This tiny Random House book was my favorite gift to give at Christmas. It is just wonderful and must be read by all the victims and paranoids on our list, as well as by those who are just down and despairing when the holidays roll around.

Customer Reviews

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A Short Guide to a Happy Life 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like Anna Quindlen, but this book was dissapointing. I can't imagine why it's been successful other than brilliant marketing and the author's good name. Perhaps I just expected too much, but there is not much more to this little book than 'you should get a life, and appreciate it.' Over half the pages are taken up by unoriginal stock photos. If you want a little book filled with truly thought-provoking advice on living a happy life, I highly recommend 'Open Your Mind, Open Your Life' by Taro Gold.
sheltielover More than 1 year ago
I read this book when going through a tough time in my life. I had lots of questions about how my life was going and I was the only person who could answer those questions. A Short Guide to a Happy Life helped me sort through lots of debris in my life and find a path to happiness. I have given this book to many friends at tough times in their lives as well and I hope it has helped them as much as it helped me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Two great gift books for young adults: 1) this one is pretty good because Anna Quindlen has a knack for getting to the core of what matters in life. She writes simple but profound truth. and 2) Words to Live By (Emily and Kate Marshall) is great because we've got to tell young people what WE think is important. It's a guided journal you write in for someone. Quote Quindlen and others in it if you want, but add your own two cents. Very well laid out.
realbigcat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the second small book I have read by Anna Quindlen. She has a very unique and straight forward take on life. Her books are short but she manages to say a lot in a few pages. I found this book inspirational and her points of view were "right on". I would read this book over and over when feeling down. It will help you get the right perspective on life.
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Energizing little book about the power we have to create a happy life for ourselves. I must remember these lessons.
susanheim on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I like Anna Quindlen but all I could think in the fifteen minutes that it took me to read this book was, "She must have needed a little quick cash." This is basically a be thankful for life pep talk, perhaps an old commencement address she gave, spread out over fifty or so pages with about half of those pages devoted to greeting card style sentimental pictures. Really. It would be good in a guest bedroom because it is such a quick read, if only I had a guest bedroom!
Chris177 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book reads like a graduation commencement speech. It is short, sweet and to the point. Its message is clear, ¿Live life while you have the chance, for it will be over all too soon!¿ The book is so short that it can be read in just one sitting and has many fun photos to go along with the text.
1morechapter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
But you are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on the bus, or in the car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul. This (extremely) short guide to a happy life by Anna Quindlen is a very quick read with quite a few nuggets of wisdom. Encouraged to get a `real¿ life that we can enjoy in addition to our obligations, we are also treated to some outstanding photos of people doing just that. The book is so short that I¿ll keep my review short as well. Recommended for Quindlen fans and those needing a `Q¿ author or a short non-fiction title for reading challenges. 2000, 50 pp.
bexaplex on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"A Short Guide to a Happy Life" is a trite column-slash-commencement speech about the author's appreciation of life after the death of her mother. You'd think a novelist would be able to summon some realistic detail about love and loss — if she can, it's not in this volume.
mrstreme on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is filled with Quindlen's wise words about living life - enjoying the journey and not just the destination. Take in the small things - hugs from your kids, birds flying against the blue sky, your spouse's smile - whatever seems small and insignificant are really the important parts of life. Quindlen wrote this as a commencement address to college graduates, and while she commented that she is not an expert in economics or academe, she is an expert at reminding us how human we all are. Together with her words, this book is filled with beautiful black-and-white photography that captures life's little moments. At fifty pages, this small book lifted my heart and soul. I would recommend this book to anyone, especially fans of Anna Quindlen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read -and learned from- every book this deep, gifted, pragmatic author has written. This, like all her others, is wonderful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This "book" is abut 9 pages in length when illustrations are removed. It is an actual travesty that B and N charges $10.99 which amounts to over $1.00 per page. The recurring line is "I show up. I listen. I try to laugh." The bottom line of the piece (I refuse to call it a book) is stop and smell the roses. Life is what you make it. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY. This actually made me go back to the written page. If B and N can charge this much for what is actually an editorial, I do not wish to support the company with purchases. Better the library or Half Price Books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ivm
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a quick read but contain many thought provoking statements. Reminds us to be grateful for what we have. It could be gone tomorrow.
JuneD More than 1 year ago
Easy and quick read. Worth reading again. Enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This collection of advice and sentiments I enjoyed, however I wish I knew it was only a few pages long BEFORE I purchased it for $12 on my Nook! I realize the title says, "A Short Guide", but really this is no more than a thoughtful excerpt, and that should have been more clear, so "buyer beware"! Took a few minutes to read the entire guide!
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