WHAT DO YOU KNOW?
Wisdom for the Road Ahead:
Inspiration and Advice for Young People
from 53 Exceptional Americans
Edited by Jeanette Spires
Ashland: Oregon: RiverWood Books: 2003
(Jeanette Spires has been an Independent Educational Consultant in Illinois for many years. Well known in the network of Emotional Growth/Therapeutic Schools and Programs in helping parents find the right educational placement for their children, with this volume she is branching out into the publishing world. - Lon)
Reviewed by: Lon Woodbury
Turning 18 years of age is a universally recognized milestone in this country. It is an age when a person becomes a legal adult. It is also an age when a person needs to start making adult decisions, but without the life experience to base those decisions on. This little volume is designed to provide some of the benefits of life experience for those willing to listen.
Easy to read, it contains 53 short essays of important lessons learned through life by the 53 writers. Some of the writers have national reputations, while others are less known, but all are exceptional and freely share the wisdom they have accumulated through living full lives.
Each essay is only a few hundred words long. Each takes less than five minutes to read. Probably the best use is to open it at random and read what is contained there. The odds are good that the essay opened will be of interest and perhaps apply to some important issue of the time. Divided into general categories, these pages offer wisdom on the importance of first impressions, career planning and descriptions of important turning points in some writers’ careers, advice on relationships, handling money, self-discipline and how the various writers overcame the trials they faced in their lives.
Each reads like a short abbreviated biography, and each essay gives some insight into that person, their life experience, and perhaps most importantly, what knowledge would have helped them the most if they had had that knowledge at age 18.
People of any age can benefit and derive enjoyment from this book. However, it might be most valuable to a teen turning 18, those who do not want to admit they are apprehensive, and do not want to appear to be listening to an adult’s advice. Perhaps dropping a copy of this book near him or her will provide a way for them to obtain advice without admitting they are listening to adults. At the very least, for the rest of us, it contains ideas that would definitely have helped us when we were 18.