Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now
After service in Vietnam, as a surgeon for the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in 1968-69, at the height of the war, Dr. Gordon Livingston returned to the U.S. and began work as a psychiatrist. In that capacity, he has listened to people talk about their lives-what works, what doesn’t, and the limitless ways (many of them self-inflicted) that people find to be unhappy. He is also a parent twice bereaved; in one thirteen-month period, he lost his eldest son to suicide, his youngest to leukemia. Out of a lifetime of experience, Gordon Livingston has extracted thirty bedrock truths: We are what we do. Any relationship is under the control of the person who cares the least. The perfect is the enemy of the good. Only bad things happen quickly. Forgiveness is a form of letting go, but they are not the same thing. The statute of limitations has expired on most of our childhood traumas. Livingston illuminates these and twenty-four others in a series of carefully hewn, perfectly calibrated essays, many of which focus on our closest relationships and the things that we do to impede or, less frequently, enhance them. Again and again, these essays underscore that we are what we do,” and that while there may be no escaping who we are, we have the capacity to face loss, misfortune, and regret and to move beyond them-that it is not too late. Full of things we may know but have not articulated to ourselves, Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart offers solace, guidance, and hope to everyone ready to become the person they’d most like to be.
How to have a joyful life full of purpose
By T. H. Snell "To Do Is To Be" - December 1, 2004
The minute anyone realizes good intentions just don't cut it, that it's only actions that make me "me," life is immediately more fulfilling, more challenging, more fun. The difference between a person who becomes who they want to become, and a person who doesn't, can be found in their willingness to take real steps every day. Want to be someone who speaks another language? Get a book and teach yourself. Want to be the kind of person who is appreciated and valued at work? Review your work ethic and your interactions and make positive changes. Want to be healthier? Actually exercise every day instead of just planning to do so. The world can tell who you are by how you act, and if you don't like what it's seeing you're the only one who can fix it. In addition, realizing that the people around you aren't who they say they are, but who they act like they are, is a lesson I wish I'd been exposed to and had been able to comprehend in highschool.
A book both poignant and wise
By Eugene A Jewett "Eugene A Jewett" - September 25, 2005
Gordon Livingston, a psychiatrist by way of West Point and Johns Hopkins, presents us with interesting combinations of truth telling. He gets immediate "street cred" due to his Bronze Star for valor in Viet Nam, and this after averring that he went to war to "find out if I was brave." Additionally, he plumbed the depths of his emotions after losing two sons, thirteen months apart, one to lukemia (at 6) and the other to suicide via his son's manic-depression.
Livingston's advice as promulgated in the subtitle, "30 true things you need to know now", is delivered with the softly directed assurance of a loving parent, one who has counseled and re-parented hundreds of adults. IMO, he's too the point and for the most part accurate. I'll spell out my disagreements in a moment, but In the meantime I'll describe each chapter in a layman's terms,... mine.
Chap 1 says that "if the map doesn't agree with the terrain, the map is wrong" - We all strive to keep our... read more
Wish I Had Read This Younger
By Harriet L. Hamlin "mom" - December 2, 2004
I am not, in general, a fan of advice books, but Dr. Livingston is the "real deal." Having survived the suicide of his own son, he has great credibility in advising the rest of us about how to deal with disappointments and tragedy. But he also provides sage words about how to get on with living joyfully. If you've gone through some rough times--and who hasn't?--read this book for inspiration.
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