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A Short Guide to a Happy Life [Anglais] [Relié]

Anna Quindlen

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Description de l'ouvrage

31 octobre 2000
From the author of Blessings and Still Life with Bread Crumbs, Anna Quindlen’s classic reflection on a meaningful life is the perfect gift for graduation, or any occasion.

“Life is made of moments, small pieces of silver amidst long stretches of tedium. It would be wonderful if they came to us unsummoned, but particularly in lives as busy as the ones most of us lead now, that won’t happen. We have to teach ourselves now to live, really live . . . to love the journey, not the destination.”

In this treasure of a book, Anna Quindlen, the bestselling novelist and columnist, reflects on what it takes to “get a life”—to live deeply every day and from your own unique self, rather than merely to exist through your days. “Knowledge of our own mortality is the greatest gift God ever gives us,” Quindlen writes, “because unless you know the clock is ticking, it is so easy to waste our days, our lives.” Her mother died when Quindlen was nineteen: “It was the dividing line between seeing the world in black and white, and in Technicolor. The lights came on for the darkest possible reason. . . . I learned something enduring, in a very short period of time, about life. And that was that it was glorious, and that you had no business taking it for granted.” But how to live from that perspective, to fully engage in our days? In A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Quindlen guides us with an understanding that comes from knowing how to see the view, the richness in living.

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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.

Biographie de l'auteur

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.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 étoiles sur 5  207 commentaires
284 internautes sur 292 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Inspiration and More 4 novembre 2000
Par BeachReader - Publié sur Amazon.com
Tuesday I was at the bookstore when it opened to buy this book. I bought a copy for myself and one for my daughter, then went to sit on a bench overlooking the ocean to read it.
This tiny gem of a book contains many thoughts that are just common sense until you see them written down. Then they become points to ponder, to think about and mull over in your mind and heart. Which is exactly what I did after finishing...I sat and looked out at the sea, thinking about what I had just read.
Much of the text of this book was part of a commencement address that Quindlen was to give at Villanova. She released the speech after she cancelled and I have been told that it was so well-received that she was asked to put it into book form.
This is a book to savor and to read over and over again and to give as a gift to a loved one. I plan to return to the bookstore to buy several more copies.
Some of the thoughts in the book:
On life: "there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be 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 a bus, or in a 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."
On being a mother, a wife, and a friend: "I show up. I listen. I try to laugh."
On being charitable and good to others: "if you do not do good... then doing well will never be enough."
And on living for today: "I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get."
Quindlen talks about leading a balanced life and not making work one's entire focus--she says "you cannot be really first-rate at your work if your work is all you are." and "Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work."
Her thoughts on mortality, which Donald talked about in his review, are powerful-- and applicable to all of our lives.
I certainly think Quindlen herself is a first-rate writer and thinker, and thank her for the valuable lessons in this book.
229 internautes sur 237 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Good common sense applied 11 novembre 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
This is a great little book. It seems like we all know what the aurhor is saying but we need a gentle reminder each day. If you are looking for a gift for a loved one, I would recommend that you buy this book and the book An Encounter With A Prophet and combine the books as one gift. Little is the only negative about the entire book. I wish there was more of it
121 internautes sur 126 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 "Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work." 31 octobre 2000
Par Donald Mitchell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Most books take the vantage point of the author being an expert in the
subject or a celebrity. A Short Guide to a Happy Life claims to come
from neither foundation, even though the Ms. Anna Quindlen will be
well-known to many for her best-selling books and Newsweek
Instead her perspective in this book is a humble and common
one, that of someone who experienced what we will all experience in
due course, but at an earlier age -- the loss of her mother to ovarian
cancer when her mother was 40 and the author was 19. That early loss
changed Ms. Quindlen's perspective on life, and she thinks it will
eventually and should now change yours, too. "Do you think you'd
care so very much about [your career] if you developed an aneurysm one
afternoon, or found a lump in your breast while in the shower?"

She describes her qualifications for describing the happy life,
"I am a good mother to three children. I have tried to never let
my profession stand in the way of being a good parent."

"I am a good friend to my husband."
"I am a good
friend to my friends, and they to me." ....
Now that you have
the perspective, what is Ms. Quindlen's prescription for you:
"Get a life in which you are not alone." "All of us
want to do well. But if we do not do good too, then doing well will
never be enough."
The simplicity and ordinariness of that
perspective gives it a power and eloquence that the expert and the
famous person cannot command.
But what was remarkable for me was
the insight that she shares with us, that I would never have developed
on my own....Basically, without awareness of mortality, we would
continue to waste our lives in pursuit of things that are not really,
after all, so important. This is what makes this a five star book
that you should read immediately . . . and remember for all the
remaining days of your life. It will make a wonderful gift for those
you love, and help bring you closer together.
Let me quote just once
more: "Life is made up of moments, small pieces of glittering
mica in a long stretch of gray cement." What a shame it would be
to miss one of those moments. If you skip this book, you will have
missed one, I'm afraid.
The message is powerfully reinforced by the
many beautiful black and white photographs of nature, companionship,
and youth in the book. Be sure to enjoy them, as well.
After you
have finished reading this book, sharing it with others, and changing
your priorities, ask yourself a new question: If I only had today,
what would I do differently? Then ask that question every morning.
You'll be glad you did. So will we all.
68 internautes sur 73 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Wonderful 14 novembre 2000
Par Jeff Benson - Publié sur Amazon.com
A beautifully written essay (combined with exquisite black-and-white photos) about what's really important in life ("It's so much easier to write a resumé than to craft a spirit"). It's very short; it's the kind of book that can be read in one sitting. However, it's also the kind of book that SHOULD be read over and over again. Highly recommended for anyone who's grown tired of the urgency addition that pervades the normal American lifestyle.
47 internautes sur 49 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Wonderful words to live by!! 10 novembre 2000
Par Andrea Adelman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Having lost my beloved 12 year old son to brain cancer, I am always drawn to authors who have faced adversity & loss in their own lives. Anna knows in her heart of hearts how to look at the sky for beauty and hope, so she can teach us something....which she certainly does in this wonderful little book. She gives new meaning to the words "get a life"...how to use our losses to help us see the real beauty of each day. I shall certainly buy this book for my college-age daughter. Thanks, Anna!
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