The Best Advice in Six Words: Writers Famous and Obscure on Love, Sex, Money, Friendship, Family, Work, and Much More

The Best Advice in Six Words: Writers Famous and Obscure on Love, Sex, Money, Friendship, Family, Work, and Much More

by Larry Smith


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The creator of the bestselling, short-form Six-Word Memoir series, Larry Smith, is back again with THE BEST ADVICE IN SIX WORDS, a poignant collection of universal wisdom, life lessons, and caution thrown to the wind. With 1,000 contributions from celebrities like Molly Ringwald, Whoopi Goldberg, Lemony Snicket, and Gary Shteyngart, as well as everyday people who've learned a thing or two about a thing or two during their time on the planet, readers will pulled into the sometimes hilarious, often serious, occasionally reflective experience of the book.

Don’t miss these amazing tips:

“Never, ever refuse a breath mint.” –Lemony Snicket

“You learn more from your failures.” –Piper Kerman

“Does it need to be said?” –Julianne Moore

“Be a doer, not a dreamer” –Shonda Rimes

“Sometimes on low, sometimes on high.” – Mario Batali

"Can't say something nice? Try fiction." - David Baldacci

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250067012
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/03/2015
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 528,989
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 6.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

LARRY SMITH is the founder of Smith Magazine and author of the bestselling Six Word Memoir series of books. He's been featured by TED, and his writing has appeared in Men's Journal, ESPN the Magazine, The New York Times, Popular Science, Men's Health, Salon, and Slate. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Piper Kerman.

Read an Excerpt

The Best Advice in Six Words

Writers Famous and Obscure on Love, Sex, Money, Friendship, Family, Work, and Much More

By Larry Smith, Shauna Greene

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2015 Larry Smith
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-7493-0


1,000 Pieces of Advice, Six Words at a Time

I can't get enough good advice. As a kid, I loved hearing old-timey wisdom from my grandparents. Now, I've never met a graduation speech I didn't love, am a sucker for a promising magazine cover line at the newsstand, and listen to way too many TED talks. And as someone who's spent most of the last decade asking people to be succinct, I appreciate thoughts that get right to the point, advice such as "Reading makes you a better writer," "Your greatest weapon is your wit," and "Stumbling looks like a dance eventually."

Besides being good advice, the above examples have one thing in common: they are six words. Since 2006, I've been asking people to sum up their lives in exactly six words on the storytelling community I founded, Six Words from SMITH Magazine. We call these short life stories "Six-Word Memoirs," a personal twist on the form that, according to literary lore, Hemingway started when challenged in a bar to write a whole novel in just six words ("For sale: baby shoes, never worn.").

The Six-Word Memoir® project has since taken on a life beyond my wildest dreams. Nine years and more than one million stories later, the six-word concept has become a bestselling book series and board game, a teaching tool used across the world, and a powerful way to spur on self- expression for anyone and everyone. Preachers and rabbis have embraced six-word prayers as a way to distill faith. In hospitals and veterans' groups, after-school programs, around dinner tables, and (naturally) during speed dates, the six-word form has been used to foster understanding, ease communication, and break the ice.

The six-word constraint forces us to figure out the essence of who we are and what matters most — and works especially well when doling out advice.

From the silly ("Don't pee on an electric fence.") to the profound ("Be the someone they can call.") to the obvious notions that we all occasionally need to recall ("Your phone does not love you.") there's a lot of wisdom in these six-word morsels.

And there are a lot of morsels. The 1,000 contributions found here are just a fraction of the six-word submissions we received. (The strict grammarians among us will notice that the occasional offering pushes the limits of what is exactly "six," but we decided to be open-minded and count contractions and hyphenations as one word.)

As is true of all our six-word books, this one is a mix of contributions from the famous and the unknown. Several six worders come from some of our favorite writers, such as Elizabeth Gilbert who reminds us that "Chances are, your editor is right," David Baldacci who suggests, "Can't say something nice? Try fiction," and Jodi Picoult, who implores us: "Don't set your brother on fire." We're delighted to offer essential wisdom from Whoopi Goldberg, Julianne Moore, Mario Batali, Madeleine Albright, Maria Shriver, and others from the worlds of film, music, food, finance, comedy, wellness, and academia. This book features a half-dozen well-chosen words from a Poet Laureate, Oscar, Emmy, and Tony winners, a couple of MacArthur Genius recipients, and even a few of our favorite professional advice columnists.

I always learn so much from others when we put the call out for a new six-word challenge. As I scrolled through the many, many submissions on, I recalled a concept called "the network effect" that says the value of something grows in relation to others who use it. That's very much true in the six-word world. With each story, our project becomes bigger, stronger, and more interesting. With that in mind, I hope you too will share your six-word advice or six words on any part of your life at

Larry Smith
Founder, Six Words from SMITH Magazine


Excerpted from The Best Advice in Six Words by Larry Smith, Shauna Greene. Copyright © 2015 Larry Smith. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Start Reading,
Also by Larry Smith,
About the Author,

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