Start Where You Are PDF Summary

Start Where You Are PDF Summary

No matter who you are, you can achieve nirvana and peace.

The only thing you need to do is just initiate the journey.

Pema Chödrön is here to lead you.

And she doesn’t care about your starting point.

In the title of one of her most important books, she says straightforwardly:

Start Where You Are.

Who Should Read “Start Where You Are”? And Why?

Anyone who knows who Pema Chödrön is needs no recommendation: Start Where You Are is once again the beautiful mixture of Buddhist wisdom and American sense for applicability we’ve grown to expect from her books.

Subtitled “A Guide to Compassionate Living,” Start Where You Are is also an excellent book for everyone who wants to become a better person and develop his skills for compassion.

Interestingly enough, the inner peace and the blissfulness are byproducts of the process.

About Pema Chödrön

Pema Chödrön

Pema Chödrön – born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown – is an American Tibetan Buddhist.

After obtaining a B.A. in English literature from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. in Elementary Education from Berkeley, Deirdre started studying with Lama Chime Rinpoche in London; soon after, she became one of the most prominent disciples of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in San Francisco.

In 1991, she published her first book, The Wisdom of No Escape. Three years later, in the midst of a struggle with chronic fatigue, Chödrön wrote Start Where You Are and When Things Fall Apart, perhaps the most beloved of her numerous books.

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“Start Where You Are PDF Summary”

“We already have everything we need,” says Pema Chödron at the very beginning of Start Where You Are.  And then she goes on to claim something which would surprise most Westerners:

There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves – the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds – never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake.

In other words, self-improvement is not attaining something you don’t have; it is merely awakening something which is already inside you.

In Start Where You Are, Pema Chödrön teaches you how you can awake that hidden potential, how to achieve nirvana and bodhicitta, or the awakened heart.

Chödrön has a nice analogy (which sounds much like a novel you like): “It’s as if we were poor, homeless, hungry, and cold, and although we didn’t know it, right under the ground where we always slept was a pot of gold. That gold is like bodhicitta.”

In other words, “our confusion and misery come from not knowing that the gold is right here and from always looking for it somewhere else. When we talk about joy, enlightenment, waking up, or awakening bodhicitta, all that means is that we know the gold is right here, and we realize that it’s been here all along.”

The Surprising Beauty of Emptiness: The Story of the Empty Boat

The bodhicitta has three distinct qualities:

Compassion, i.e., it is soft and gentle;
Prajna, i.e., it is clear and sharp;
Openness, i.e., it is unfilled and receptive;

This last quality is also called shunyata and can be referred to as emptiness.

Now, emptiness is not exactly something you – or any other Westerner – strives for; here, in the West, it is almost always a negative quality: cold, distant, unsatisfied.

However, as far as Buddhists are concerned, emptiness is neither of those things; on the contrary, it is a relief.

Chödrön explains what kind of relief via a very educational Zen story.

It concerns a man enjoying himself in a river at dusk. In the midst of his enjoyment, he notices another boat coming in his direction.

It bothers him not one bit: he is happy, and he supposes that the guy on that boat is happy as well, enjoying himself in much the same manner.

However, then he realizes that this new boat keeps on nearing his and at a faster pace. He starts shouting: “Hey, hey, watch out! For Pete’s sake, turn aside!”

But the boat doesn’t do that. Instead, it smashes right into him. Inside – there’s no one. It’s just an empty boat.

“This is the classic story of our whole life situation,” Chödrön concludes. “There are a lot of empty boats out there that we’re always screaming at and shaking our fists at. Instead, we could let them stop our minds. Even if they only stop our mind for one point one seconds, we can rest in that little gap.”

The Tools for Peace: Three Supportive Practices

There are many ways to learn how to not get angry at the empty boats around you. Start Where You Are is mostly focused on three of them.

Shamatha-Vipashyana Meditation

The name of this meditation stems from two things Buddha valued especially: shamantha, i.e., tranquility, and vipashyana, i.e., insight.

In shamatha-vipashyana meditation, you start by sitting upright with your eyes open and your legs crossed, hands resting on your thighs.

Now, you start becoming aware of your breath.


Because that is the same as becoming aware of your most immediate environment.

And that is the goal of this practice: to relieve you from your past worries or future expectations and to allow you to experience the power of now.

Saying, “Be right there with the breath as it goes out,” – says Pema Chödrön – is the same thing as saying, “Be fully present.”


Tonglen is the practice of taking in and sending out.

It is a Tibetan word meaning “giving and taking” (or sending and receiving) – yeah, we know this made you think of Friends’ Joey – and it refers to a meditation breathing practice which should train you in being a more altruistic person.

The goal is to visualize the suffering of others on the in-breath and to give compassion in the out-breath.

Just like shamatha-vipashyana meditation, tonglen leads to the realization that opposites exist and that they aren’t in war with each other.


Lojong is the practice of working with slogans, with which Start Where You Are is filled.

These slogans – or aphorisms – are called the seven points of mind training; however, there are more than seven; in fact, there are 59 of them.

Chödrön cites and analyzes all of them in her book; unfortunately, we don’t really have the space to even list them; however, if you like, you can get acquainted with them here.

Life Is Glorious – in All of Its Duality

“Life is glorious,” writes Pema Chödrön at one place, “but life is also wretched. It is both.”

The point is to find a way to accept them both.

“Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us,” writes Chödrön. “We feel connected.”

The problem?

Well, “if that’s all that’s happening, we get arrogant and start to look down on others, and there is a sense of making ourselves a big deal and being really serious about it, wanting it to be like that forever. The gloriousness becomes tinged by craving and addiction.”

The solution is straightforward: embrace the pain. Be it Jesus or Mother Teresa, they did exactly that, starting with other people and ending with themselves.

Gloriousness makes as arrogant, but wretchedness – life’s painful aspect – softens us up considerably.

Chödron concludes:

Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling a lot of grief, you can look right into somebody’s eyes because you feel you haven’t got anything to lose – you’re just there.
The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all just go down the tubes. We’d be so depressed, discouraged, and hopeless that we wouldn’t have enough energy to eat an apple. Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.

How to Embrace Your Weaknesses: the Beautiful Story of Milarepa

Now, most of the self-help books written by Western authors boil down to a simple mantra: ignore the negative thoughts and concentrate on the positive aspects of life.

Pema Chödrön and most Buddhists think otherwise.

As far as they are concerned, just like “gloriousness and wretchedness need each other” in the universe, they need each other in your being as well.

The point is not to ignore your weaknesses; but to accept them and learn to live with them.

Chödrön makes this point through the beautiful Tibetan tale of Milarepa.

A Buddhist, one evening Milarepa returned to his cave only to find it filled with demons. They had taken over his habitat, and Milarepa didn’t know how to get rid of them.

He tried talking them about dharma, and then about compassion and shunyata. Unfortunately, nothing happened. The demons were still there.

Then, he lost his patience and got angry at them. However, the demons were still there, laughing at his anger.

Milarepa didn’t know what to do. So, finally, he gave up, sat down on the floor and said: “I’m not going away and it looks like you’re not either, so let’s just live here together.”

And a miraculous thing happened: at that point, all of the demons left his cave.

Except for one.

“We all know that one,” writes Pema Chödrön. “Sometimes we have lots of them like that. Sometimes we feel that’s all we’ve got.”

Milarepa thought, “Oh, this one is particularly vicious. He will probably never live.”

And he surrendered totally: he walked over to the demon and put his head right into his mouth.

“Just eat me up if you want to,” he whispered.

And then – the final demon disappeared as well.

Key Lessons from “Start Where You Are”

1.      You Don’t Need to Improve: Find the Gold Within You
2.      The Three Tools to Help You Achieve Peace
3.      Embracing Your Weaknesses and the Emptiness

You Don’t Need to Improve: Dig Out the Gold Within You

Contrary to what most Western self-help books advise you, Pema Chödrön explicitly states that there is no need for self-improvement. That’s just society’s way of telling you “you are not worthy.”

However, you are: the only thing you need to do is accept yourself with all of your weaknesses and flaws.

Because, in the end, the thing that matters is your happiness, peacefulness, and wellbeing; not the money you’ll earn or the gala dinners you’ll attend.

The Three Tools to Help You Achieve Peace

If you want to achieve peacefulness and lead a kinder life, then you need to use these three practices to guide yourself to that destination:

Shamatha-Vipashyana meditation: a particular type of meditation aimed at helping you achieve tranquility and insight;
Tonglen: a breathing practice during which you breathe in the suffering of your fellow human beings and breath out compassion and recognition;
Lojong: a mind-training exercise based on a set of 59 aphorisms or slogans.

Embracing Your Weaknesses and the Emptiness

Nothing you ever accomplish will satisfy you: you’ll always feel like there’s a room for something more.

Stop feeling that way!

Just accept yourself the way you are, and embrace the emptiness. That way, you’ll be happy with what you already have.

That seems like the better path, doesn’t it?

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“Start Where You Are Quotes”

If someone comes along and shoots an arrow into your heart, it’s fruitless to stand there and yell at the person. It would be much better to turn your attention to the fact that there’s an arrow in your heart. Click To Tweet True compassion does not come from wanting to help out those less fortunate than ourselves but from realizing our kinship with all beings. Click To Tweet Affirmations are like screaming that you're okay in order to overcome this whisper that you're not... maybe you're not okay. Well, no big deal. None of us is okay, and all of us are fine. Click To Tweet In truth, there is enormous space in which to live our everyday lives. Click To Tweet If we are willing to stand fully in our own shoes and never give up on ourselves, then we will be able to put ourselves in the shoes of others and never give up on them. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Pragmatic and to the point,” says a review in the Tantra magazine, “Pema Chödrön cuts to the very heart of practice, right to the tender pink spot we want to cover over and keep safe.”

And then it goes on: “In the context of being kind to ourselves, Start Where You Are shows how our greatest asset is our own vulnerability that we so desperately protect. Pema Chödrön guides us to the understanding that, rather than hiding from or resisting the pain of our existence, we can learn to relax with the situation just as it is.”Not exactly as good as When Things Fall Apart – but still exceptional.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Note to Self PDF Summary

Note to Self PDF Summary

Inspiring Words from Inspiring People

Truthfully, you can’t be at your best at all times!

Some people say that when you are in your prime, you ought to give everything you got to build a career and start a family.  

But sometimes, life and all the uncertainty can get the better of you.

What would you say to yourself if you had the chance? What would the letter say?

In this book, you’ll have a glimpse into some inspiring insights that will keep you on your toes.

Who Should Read “Note to Self”? And Why?

Having the wind at the back or the tap on the shoulder is all it takes to turn the odds in your favor. But, what if that support you so desperately need should come from you?

Yeah, we know – there are a lot of self-help books up for grasp, but that’s not enough.

Let’s give Gayle the benefit of the doubt before we start making assumptions and drawing conclusions.

As such, we firmly believe that “Note to Self” would be a great addition on your bookshelf regardless of your beliefs.

About Gayle King

Gayle King

Gayle King is a TV show host, journalist, author and the co-anchor of the CBS News morning show.

She appeared on the big screen for the first time in the 1980s, as a production assistant at WJZ-TV in Baltimore and later on as a news anchor for WFSB in Hartford.

In 1991, she co-hosted a talk show with Robin Wagner “Cover to Cover.”

“Note to Self PDF Summary”

Some would say it’s just shocking, while others might be appalled at the reality which permeated the American society back in the days. When Gayle was in elementary school, a boy sitting next to her said: If it weren’t for Abraham Lincoln, you’d be my slave.

Lightning bolt straight from the sky!

Little Gayle stormed back into the house, curious to find out whether that’s true? Her mom told her not to worry too much about it, and to move on.

The concept which raises many eyebrows is predicated on the idea of telling your younger self a thing or two about life. For instance – how would you instruct your 15-year-old self if you had the chance to do so?

Would you tell him/her not to worry too much about not getting a certain job, or perhaps ending up heartbroken?

Writing that special letter could really be the turning point of that person’s life, but what should be written remains a personal thing.

Do you reckon that putting the younger self on guard about something is the right solution?

If you think that reading these letters is just as easy as doing the laundry, you are in for a big surprise. The note to that “self” is provoking and life-altering experience that could revive the bright side in those dark moments.

It may compel you to look beyond your comfort zone, and question the hard-won enlightenment, but it’s a valuable transition. Many people underwent all sorts of life tests; some ended up victorious while others had their ideas challenged and destroyed.

What about Oprah?

Nowadays, there’s rarely a person on this planet who hasn’t heard of Oprah! The renowned TV producer, talk-show host, philanthropist, and author was as scared as the next person when she was first starting out with an intention to make a name for herself in the industry.

As a young 20-year old reporter and a TV Host in the making, she was dead-scared about the challenges lying ahead.

You are proud about getting a certain job because you know very well what you’ve been through, but there’s this dreadful thought that implies – you are just not good enough.

The feeling of discomfort and doubt take over your mind and leaves you to drown in the endless chatter of destructive thoughts.

From where I sit now viewing your journey, there really are very few regrets. Which means a life well lived. Even then you understood that success was a process and that moving with the flow of life and not against it would be your greatest achievement.

What about Ryan O’Callaghan?

For those of you who don’t know, Ryan O’Callaghan is an openly declared gay former NFL player.

You’ve lived your life in fear of resentment, fear of being labeled as “fag.” You decided that it’s in your best interests not to share this secret with your friends and family. You don’t think that avowing your homosexuality will be meet with acceptance and encouragement.

Sometimes, you feel them talking about you, nagging you and it still hurts.

The goal is to make sure that nobody finds out because if they do, you’ll be rejected and mostly condemned for something you have no control of.

The truth is, people are much more supportive than you think, and you have to battle your way through to see that.

Breathe, take as much time as you need to address the problem and find what works for you. The bottom line is – tackling this inner chaos is easier said than done.

Just keep breathing and calm your monkey mind, which prevents you from opening up.

Even though people are disparaged for being gay or whatever, you mustn’t succumb to the pressure. It’s your job to live the life you’ve always wanted, without any restrictions whatsoever.

Just hang in there!  

So again, breathe. Really. Breathe. Believe it or not, it gets better for you, and soon you will want to share this newfound happiness and love with the world.

What about Joe Biden?

Don’t underestimate the traditional family values! You’ll learn a lot from your parents; your loved ones who mean you no harm and push you to follow your dreams. At the end of the day, it’s not about the paycheck; it’s about dignity and respect.

If you don’t want to impute these values to your parents, that’s fine, but life will compel you to look differently.

Whatever you do, defines your character, helps you to forge relationships and urges you to build up from there.

As times goes by, you’ll understand why change is inevitable, and staying rigid heralds a painful defeat. It’s not always easy, but it’s expedient, and you mustn’t run away from it.

Keep up the good spirit, Joey.

What about Dr. Ruth?

You are a small girl, loaded on a train. You see your mother and grandmother waving at you, while your father is taken by the Nazis. You don’t know whether the journey is worth it, and what follows next?

Over six million Jews suffered even worst fate, and you are one of the lucky ones who managed to get out alive. Life is taken from them, not because of a crime they committed but because they were born in a wrong uniform.

Being Jewish is a capital offense, and you have nowhere to go.

With the passing of time, you begin to realize how fortune and some mystical force played a role in your life. Now, you must make up for it, and live not just for yourself, but also for the people you hold in your heart.

And so, you become more emotional, more fragile but stronger, to say the least. This vulnerability is portrayed as a courageous act, and you understand it because you’ve been through it.

The story of your life is put under the spotlight, as you try to slow down your breathing and control your emotions.  

Your bravery will be rewarded.

What about Tyler Perry?

What do you see in those smirk eyes?

Do they reflect the painful past that evokes nothing but trouble and sadness? Does it hurt watching your mom getting knocked around and beat up?

Do you see an end in sight?

People will always try to rob you of your innateness, and that’s no secret. You must hold your ground, and stop the molesters, but how?

The uncertainty and fear that penetrate your mind are hard to deal with. You have a lot of challenges ahead, and you must embrace them in order to grow up. Practice your faith in God, and follow the inner voice that speaks to you!

I just want you to know, you beat everybody who beat you. And all that time you spent trying to make your mom smile by imitating her and dancing and laughing, keep that up, boy . . . it pays off big-time.

What about Jimmy Carter?

Never jeopardize the relationships with the rural part of America. True champions are not those filled with prejudice and hatred; it’s a group of people who don’t see color but character. Racial discrimination is a disease that plagues the community, stifles free speech, harasses and harangues those who want their voices to be heard.

You wanted to be an Army General, or perhaps a Submarine officer, and you ponder about the likelihood of achieving your dreams. You do your best to learn, and you’re ready to sacrifice yourself to that end.

That incentivizes you to lead the US to become a nation of peace. A country where racial intolerance is at its minimum, and you are the instigator of such a perspective.

Also, bear in mind that one of the greatest achievement in life is to be happily married. Your wife and the family you create together will always stand beside you and support you no matter what.

There will be people who scornfully despise this outlook on life, but you must set your ideas.

What about Tim Howard?

What’s next, are you going to pursue your football(soccer) dreams? You are not even 25, and you are about to make a decision that will change your life! You dreamed about playing for Manchester United, but are the odds against you?

Deep down, you know that you deserve it, and you will do anything to make it through. It takes years to develop into a world-class goalkeeper and play for the best teams in Europe, and even then, there’re plenty of other guys just as passionate as you.

Sir Alex Ferguson puts you in the starting eleven; you have to act tough and unleash your talent by appearing confident.

It will take time before the skeptics begin to come out of the closet and start questioning your potential.

And one other thing, try not to wear colors that resemble the jersey of their fierce hometown rival, Manchester City!

Enjoy these years; it will be the time of your life.

Key Lessons from “Note to Self”

1.      The thing you want isn’t the thing you need to have
2.      Keep it cool
3.      You don’t know what’s coming next

The thing you want isn’t the thing you need to have

Inasmuch as we wanted to include all stories laid out by Gayle, it was impossible.

In the stories summarized above, you’ll find out how luck can play a major rule in your life by giving you more than you’ve ever bargained for.

Nurture the open-minded approach, because flexibility will help you get more from life.

Keep it cool

Yes, life doesn’t always unfold in the way we want it.

We have to cope with uncertainty, struggle, and resentment. By doing so, you’ll train your mind not to press the “panic button” and raise undue concerns when things get out of hand.

Stay cool, and refrain yourself from taking unnecessary actions.

You don’t know what’s coming next

Indeed, the desire to minimize risks goes against the tide. You never know what’s coming your way; the only thing you should do is keep pedaling.

Eventually, you’ll hit the shores, and claim your prize.

Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“Note to Self Quotes”

And I use the word beautiful because I know that’s never a word you would call yourself. I look into your eyes and see the light and hope of myself. Click To Tweet The bad news is, you nearly killed yourself on the road to success, fueled by fear of failure, crippling anxiety, and insecurity. You will become severely bulimic and anorexic, and the worse your disease gets, the more praise you will get… Click To Tweet You’re so uncertain about a lot of things. Right now the most important thing to you as a man-child is growing up to be able to take care of your mother. Click To Tweet You’ll come to feel that you have to be perfect—meaning thin and pretty and appealing and certainly not angry, a good gir—if you want to be loved. Click To Tweet And trust your senses—especially your sense of taste. You probably aren’t even aware of how sensitive you are now, but, believe me, your senses of taste and smell and sight and touch are going to be your personal treasure. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

The feedback Gayle received helped her to understand the big picture.

Not just audacity and willpower, but also guidance is needed in order to get to the top. Whatever you deem the younger self should pay heed to, must be brought up by you.

Leave a blank space at the bottom, in case you have something else on your mind.

Dive deep into these notes, and find out what makes a great winner.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Talking as Fast as I Can PDF Summary

Talking as Fast as I Can PDF Summary

From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls

Well, it’s pretty far to say that Lauren Graham is currently winning on two fronts.

As an author and actress, she is undoubtedly transforming into a real gem and inspiration for thousands of people all across the globe.

We were skeptical about the possibility of her excelling in two fields, but she proved us wrong.

Let’s delve into her message!

Who Should Read “Talking as Fast as I Can”? And Why?

How fast can you talk?

Is it the speed of uttering words, or the concept of saying the right ones?

Well, the narrative behind this interesting book places emphasis on life as a whole, and how things unfold.

As such, it would be totally imprudent to exclude a group of people or to prioritize one over the other. With that said, we believe that “Talking as Fast as I Can” deserves all the merits and as such it’s suitable for everyone.

About Lauren Graham

Lauren Graham

Lauren Graham’s recent achievements can’t be put into words. Critics describe her recent take off in the professional realm as merely a glimpse of her unwavering potential.

We couldn’t agree more.

She is the author of:

“Talking as Fast as I Can PDF Summary”

In the beginning, Lauren looks back at some of the things that hold a special place in her memory. Born in Hawaii, Lauren didn’t have enough time to work on her tan, as they moved to Japan shortly afterward.

While in Tokyo, she discovered that her favorite food is in fact: mashed peas. They had to stay with her grandmother for a while and had a Japanese nanny, who Lauren loved dearly. She even remembers that her first word in Japanese was o-heso (which can be roughly translated into belly button).

Lauren’s mother grew up in Japan and had no problems at speaking in Japanese.

Back in the days, when there were just a couple of TV channels in the States and even fewer in other countries, her mom was aired on national TV in Japan.

Appearing on a TV with the size of a tablet, Lauren’s mother as a non-native Japanese speaker got the attention of Japan.

Her rise to prominence and traveling made it difficult to fulfill the traditional duties as a mother and wife.

As a result of that, her parents decided to go separate ways, because they couldn’t make their marriage work. The urge to pursue a career as a singer urged Lauren’s mom to split up her marriage in a friendly manner. Soon afterward, Lauren was on a plane to the US.

For quite some time, she recalls of sleeping on a bunk-bed-type placed in the kitchen. Their “residence” was actually a houseboat, which from today’s perspective seems kind of weird when you think about it. So, Lauren decides to call her dad and find out what was the reason behind it.

The chit-chat didn’t pan out as well as Lauren had imagined. After a lot of beating around the bush, we finally get to the bottom of the mystery:  

It was a strange place, I’ll admit, that marina—but friendly. Very bohemian.
Everybody there was sort of dropping out from society, which we were too, in a way—for weeks after we’d left D.C., I’m pretty sure my mother still thought I worked on Capitol Hill.
But I got to spend more time with you, which was 13 the goal. It was beautiful there.
We drove around a lot and went to the beach.
It probably seems strange to you now, but it was a 1970s thing to do, I guess. And we had fun.

No one knows why, but most of the people back in the days had some weird perception regarding the life of an actor. The closest thing you’ll ever get to watch on TV was Star Search and perhaps American Idol.

Same as nowadays, there were some major publications all working in feverish haste to publish the latest scandal or rumor.

We are pretty sure that it won’t come as a shock to you but back then, you couldn’t lean on Social Platforms to get media coverage.

Despite all of this and the lack of genuine knowledge of what to expect once she unleashes her talent, Lauren was determined to enter the big door in Broadway.

In the meantime, Lauren exerted herself to become a member of Actors’ Equity to fuel her ascend. She realized that one of the ways to achieve that was to earn enough hours in order to get in line for membership.

There was a faster route, but it was even harder to pull off. She had to figure out a way to get casted in an Equity role. As it turns out, that was easier said than done. Lauren put a lot of pressure on herself, especially on the part “special skills.”

It’s hard to stand out from the rest if you don’t possess a special set of skills and flair that will eventually put you on the pedestal.

Many actors were auditioned, and Lauren miraculously managed to leave a very good first impression. Maybe even too good, for the directors and members of the Equity Company.

During the audition, Lauren was caught off guard, and her vulnerability appeared on the surface.

At one point, she felt like a failure because in her opinion some of the things could have been done a lot better. The overall embracement took a toll on her performance as she realized that there’s still a lot of ground to cover.

Yes, it became clear that Lauren wasn’t psyched up for the challenge, mostly due to her burning desire to obtain the Equity card. When you are prepared to cling on anything out of desperation, you know that something isn’t right.

Years later, Lauren pushed her way through the obstacles and made it to Broadway.

It was one of those moments; you’re so thrilled that you don’t know how to react. It was literally a dream come true.

It was not all milk and honey, to say the least, but there is some magic in the idea of exceeding your expectations day in and day out.

Lauren was also given the honors to play Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls.

The Rise of Gilmore Girls

The Gilmore Girls script was delivered to Lauren’s home, long before the whole show commenced. On the flip side, she didn’t read it the first time. Lauren acknowledged the possibility of becoming too fond of the storyline and feared that a potential bond could end in separation.

But, despite this early pessimism, she was still in the game!

The whole world turned upside down the minute Lauren got the role to play Lorelai Gilmore, the thirty-two-year-old mother of a sixteen-year-old girl.

People close to her voiced concerns about the potential twist that could happen if her character gets the wrong label as the “Mom.” Lauren Graham claimed that she never once thought about that, and even less worry about something like that.

Lauren quickly realized that she is not one of those actors/actresses who want to see and critically observe themselves onstage.

When you’re committed to such an important project that does 22 episodes per season, you must know where you draw the line. Watching every single scene could take too much of your time, and make you totally engrossed into it.

Why would someone consider Gilmore Girls to be special?

Is it really that easy to discern it from all the rest? – Lauren had fallen in love with the script, and the story it portrays.

Later on, you’ll come to some important details that explain why Lauren craved to return and be a part of Gilmore Girls, once more.

It surely wasn’t easy for Lauren to say goodbye. As an “unemployed” actor afterward, she struggled to organize her daily activities, and cope with the new lifestyle. When that transition emerges, it’s tough to move on, especially when you were a part of a successful project such as Parenthood or Gilmore Girls.

The same holds true for other professions or jobs that are just as enjoyable as Parenthood.

It was a confusing time for Lauren, as she tried to get through this tough period in life.

When things get out of hand, we feel this need to ask for help, or at least to have someone special who can lighten the burden.

On the other side of the fence, are those moments when you feel so excited about something that you can barely sit still. Don’t you just hate it when a person you know, or a celebrity can’t keep their mouth shut about having a brand-new car, or getting a raise, or whatever?

Yeah, congratulations!

Are we done here? – How lucky they feel; it’s not our primary concern!

Lauren believed that the same reaction would ensue after appearing on a show like Parenthood. Nobody actually believed that Lauren could be as annoying as that, but let’s give her the benefit of the doubt, shall we?!

In this chapter, Lauren lavishes praise upon the cast, the crew, the screenwriters, the directors, all the fellow actors, and proves her point.

One big family is how she prefers to describe it!

Key Lessons from “Talking as Fast as I Can”

1.      Keep the fire burning
2.      Find the beauty in the small things
3.      Don’t abandon your dreams

Keep the fire burning

When things get rough, people often collapse on all fronts. You must not succumb to this pressure, and keep this momentum going.

Before you know it, life will tip the scale in your favor without any preparation whatsoever.

Your job is never to give up and keep blazing the trail for others.

Find the beauty in the small things

Like we said, somewhere down the road you’ll get greedy. You’ll forget about the things that made you happy and filled you with excitement regardless of their trivial nature.

Never fall under the thumb of “more” just keep pushing but remain vigilant.

That is the formula for achieving ultimate prosperity.

Don’t abandon your dreams

If you are given the option to fast forward to all the great moments and skip the hardship, what would you do?

If you are like most people, you’d probably take the fast track to success. But in doing so, you’ll abandon your dreams, which are consisted of both dangers and rewards.

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“Talking as Fast as I Can Quotes”

Because who wants to Fast Forward anyway? You might miss some of the good parts. Click To Tweet Because here's the thing: I was fine on my own, and so are you. But it can be hard when you feel ready for Happy Couplehood, and you seem to have missed the train. Click To Tweet So don't let your plans have the last laugh, but laugh last when your plan laughs, and when your plan has the last laugh, laugh back laughing! Click To Tweet If absolutely everything important is only happening on such as a small screen, isn't that just a shame? Click To Tweet Every bit of advice below was actually given to me by a fancy person or someone who knows a fancy person and the methods they use to stay fancy. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

We highly doubt that you haven’t watched at least a single episode of Gilmore Girls, but if that’s the case, we urge you to give it a go.

Apart from that, we love how personal and enlightening this book is. It truly opens us our eyes to the fluidity of life, and how we can leverage that.

You should most definitely give it a quick read.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

We Are All Weird PDF Summary

We Are All Weird PDF Summary

Don’t take umbrage at the title, because Seth doesn’t attach a negative connotation to the concept of weirdness.

We are impelled to believe in things and opinions imposed upon us by those who don’t understand the power of individuality.

Being weird means being unique.

And whether we like it or not, society fuels this weirdness that has swept the world.

Without further ado, let’s get to the bottom of this phenomenon.

Who Should Read “We Are All Weird”? And Why?

Well, if you are a weirdo, why not?

All joking aside, the central premise behind this book explains the idea of not falling under the influence of the mass markets.

Inasmuch as we’d all enjoy developing into a self-reliant person, that’s not something everyone can pull off.

For this reason, we feel like “We are All Weird” is best suited for those people who share this fire to break out from the collective mindset.

About Seth Godin

Seth Godin

Seth is hailed as one of the top marketers of his generation. His books continue to lift the veil on various concepts that led people astray with regards to marketing, decision-making, and life in general.

He is the author of multiple bestsellers:

“We Are All Weird PDF Summary”

Before we go any further, it’s of utmost importance to list the Four Words, which Seth deems them to be genuine representatives of the trajectory of the market.

MASS is what has defined society as it is. Mass markets and mass demand have set the rules and helped us to improve our standard of living, among other things.

According to Seth, the urge to cover the basic human needs is labeled as “undifferentiated.”

NORMAL is what we call or name the middle, or someone would prefer other expressions such as “the majority.” You have to understand that being “Normal” is localized because the thing that makes you “Normal” in one area doesn’t apply in general.

So, marketers have tried to reach out to these masses and ultimately cater to their general demand.

WEIRD is when we label people who stand from the rest with regards to physical appearance, needs, and preferences.

Different by nature is not on the same wavelength as different by choice. Unlike the first part, your choices that don’t conform to the societal implications, also fall under the “Weird” category. It’s immensely helpful if you can be yourself at least to some extent and resist the temptation to take the general path.

RICH is Seth’s perspective of individuals who have the means and the wits to make choices. No one can argue that their freedom of choice is restricted in any way whatsoever, not by any stretch of the imagination.

It represents those who are entitled to utilize more resources, and allocate them in a way they deem fit. In all honesty, you don’t need a private jet nor a fancy car to be rich, because richness is predicated on your ability to interact with the market and satisfy your demands.

Enough about this, let’s take a sneak peek into why people feel the lingering need to belong somewhere.

As it turns out, people love to organize themselves in tribes or groups led by someone.

The digital age wastes no time in introducing the new outsider culture, which doesn’t resonate with the Normal part of the community.

Seth’s argument revolves around the inefficiency of pushing forward a uniform agenda that keeps all people under the same roof.

The idea of supporting the weird and eventually becoming one yourself should be the backbone of the new era.

The chances of implementing this on a larger scale are slim to none, but that mustn’t serve as an excuse to get the ball rolling.

So, how we should organize our societies and make headway in this process?

Since the beginning of time, people have been prone to select enemies and therefore justify their so-called thirst for domination.

In this book, the battle Seth is referring to is not a political standoff but manifests the stigma between the status quo of society and the Weird.

Part 1: Capitalism, Industry and the Power of Mass—and Its Inevitable Decline

As to the assertion made out by Seth, the weird aspect embedded into each and everyone one of us questions the moral high-ground of the masses. It’s by far the best way to understand the big picture and tackle the unconscious bias permeating the society.

Society prefers to stay clear of the outliers and indoctrinate young people by compelling them to lean on the good-old mass-market strategy.

It’s totally useless to rely on a system, contrived by organizations whose methods only exist to keep things running in their favor.

People are aversive to change, and the mass market only further endorses this behavior.

It all boils down to the characteristics of the mass market to create average products for average people in order to streamline their processes.

Let that sink in.

Take this for example: if the entire work of an organization pivots around the perpetual need to satisfy and sell to the masses, then a transition could prove to be costly. Even though it doesn’t seem like a big deal, it truly is.

For argument’s sake, Seth is not trying to teach you how to sell more goods, nor does he instruct you how to better position your company in the market.

The manifesto laid out here emphasizes freedom and the right to choose; a notion that correlates with weirdness.

You cannot deny the fact that we all share certain beliefs with others, but at the same time, we espouse different values and take refuge behind those values.

The 20th century had been turbulent by all accounts, and the businesses operating amid all the political and social struggles shaped the American business community.

Winning the mass market has been the end goal for every American company. In other words, the idea of selling a product to a large percentage of people, at a high price seemed to be the only driving factor.

Deserving the epithet of weird is reflected in the notion of being free to make up your mind. It manifests your fortitude to break the societal chains, and pave your own way.

Learning to appreciate your weirdness is not a foregone conclusion, but a way of life.

Part 2: The Four Forces for Weird

In his lifetime, Seth Godin has seen many changes, all of which can be attributed to the desire to stand out from the crowd. The need to be a part of a larger group and remain stuck in normality is slowly fading away.

In addition, Seth outlines four factors that affect our perception of the world.

Let’s have a glimpse into these forces:

Force One – Creation is amplified

Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to reach out to people, shift the perception of those around you, and help them adjust their mindset.

Through the power of the Internet, every person is able to take a critical view of the world, and advocate for a full-scale alteration.

Force two: Rich allows us to do what we want, and we want to be weird

It is crystal clear that one cannot undermine the continuity in the way individuals and groups address their problems. As you become richer, your instincts and interests begin to fluctuate and modify themselves.

In the last couple of years, we are witnessing an increase in productivity which also reflects in people’s weirdness in general.

As you can see, no one can deny this correlation and overlook the inevitable truth. As we are moving beyond the need for survival, we are starting to embrace aspects which appear eccentric and odd on the surface, but their depth is not questionable.

Force three: Marketing is far more efficient at reaching the weird

The barriers to entering a certain market and reaching out to people through a channel that resonates with them are slimmed down.

This opens up the door for enthusiasts and early-adopters alike to follow their vision.

Marketers no longer require an excessive budget to get the job done. Generally speaking, the preferences of the “weirdos” help marketers build their strategies along the lines of their target group.

Marketing is still the quickest way to introduce your product to the saturated marketplace; you better make it count!

Force four: Tribes are better connected

New tribes emerge on short notice, and you’ll find organizations and people dealing with overlapping interests.

Being weird is slowly taking over the scene, and leaves most of the skeptics in disarray.

Part 3: The Gradual and Inexorable Spread of the Bell Curve

So, what is the true meaning of mass-marketing?

In layman’s terms, it embodies the big, fat, juicy share of the market. The real deal, should you prefer. Governments, corporations, and businesses have realized the potential of keeping the mass consumers dependent on specific goods.

The profit generated gives impetus to the idea of sustaining this structure. But, is it the best option?

Seth Godin doesn’t think so!

For literally thousands of years, people were on their own when it comes to the production of food, clothing, and shelter.

With the rise of industrialization, society went from the culture of “every person for himself/herself” to mass markets.

With regards to marketing, marketers have realized the potential of nailing down the problems of the “weird” portion of the population. The proficient and smart ones, under no circumstances, would treat a market segment as an independent of the whole market.

The Bell Curve explains why marketing is much more than a pursuit of more sales. Although we cannot discard the notion that trade is where the money is, the true incentive is the one which promotes growth as the ultimate goal.

In addition, let’s take a look at the forces of the normal:

  • Big media
  • Manufacturers
  • Franchises
  • Large service firms
  • Many organized religions
  • Politicians
  • Law enforcement

And to add the finishing touches, let’s outline and take a closer look at the new forces predetermined for the weird ones:

  • Explosion of wealth
  • Explosion in media choices
  • Explosion in shopping choices

That’s about it.

Hope you learned something about mass markets and mass consummation that is at variance with the culture of Weird.

Key Lessons from “We Are All Weird”

1.      Get your head up
2.      Keep refilling the cup
3.      Tackle the need to belong somewhere

Get your head up

If we’ve heard it a thousand times, let’s utter those words again: Actions speak louder than words.

Work on keeping your cool when things go south, and try to subdue the immense social pressure. The cost of losing your “weirdo” nature is way too high.

It will be for the best if you apprehend the consequences of sticking to the Normal.

Keep refilling the cup

Well, the true meaning of refiling the cup is not to turn it into a brimming one. Just take a one sip at a time, and keep it from overflowing.

That way, you’ll maintain control, and preserve the weird aspects that relate to your preferences.

Tackle the need to belong somewhere

Last but not least, it’s of utmost significance to resist the urge to join a larger tribe whose program “on paper” overlaps with yours. Furthermore, it’s not something you should take for granted either.

If your agenda adds up to their broad outlook, then it’s fine, but more often than not, it’s not the case.

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“We Are All Weird Quotes”

It’s human nature to be weird, but also human to be lonely. This conflict between fitting in and standing out is at the core of who we are. Click To Tweet The epic battle of our generation is between the status quo of mass and the never-ceasing tide of weird. Click To Tweet Never fear. Marketers have shifted gears and are leading the push to weird. The smart ones are in fact co-marketing with parts of the market instead of marketing at the masses. Click To Tweet We can argue about whether the loss of a cultural center is a good thing or not, but it really doesn’t matter what one generation believes is good for the next… all of our choices are leading in just one direction, which is away from the… Click To Tweet Rich is my word for someone who can afford to make choices, who has enough resources to do more than merely survive. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

So, is it necessary to spring into action?

By all means!

It seems that we are all weird, but some people don’t feel comfortable accentuating this part of their lives.

It’s up to you to find your balance.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Joyful PDF Summary

Joyful PDF Summary

The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness

You are probably wrapping your head around the logic that surrounds this book. Well, the core message revolves around the small trivial things that could make a great difference, and give any community the edge in the fight against crime, poverty, and depression.

But most of all, it zooms in on the tones, hues, shapes, shades, and colors that could bring about the much-desired change on the outside.

Indeed, it isn’t comparatively easy to cover the external effects which if subjected to alteration could have an influence on societal well-being.

With that said, one must take them into account for achieving greater success.

Enough talking, let’s make it count.

Who Should Read “Joyful”? And Why?

More than anything else, Ingrid shares her concerns and attempts to raise awareness regarding the upsurge in violent crime and lack of prosperity in some areas.

She struggles to single out the main culprit for these difficulties that ensue as a result of ineffective policies, carelessness or simply lack of knowledge.

Whatever the case may be, we find “Joyful” amusing and educational for the wider audience.

About Ingrid Fetell Lee

Ingrid Fetell Lee

As the founder of the blog The Aesthetics of Joy, Ingrid Fetell Lee has been trying to spread the word since day one.

Because of her achievements, she has been featured in renowned magazines such as the New York Times, PRI’s Studio 360, CBC’s Spark, and others.

We are looking forward to seeing what the future holds with regards to her achievements.

“Joyful PDF Summary”

From the moment Ingrid decided to delve into the mystery of joy, she realized that it’s going to be a long an exhausting process. It didn’t herald anything other than a fierce battle to reinvigorate the dark parts of certain communities.

As it turns out, color can influence how a group of people behave and act.

The truth is that every organism regardless of its complexity strives to invigorate itself by absorbing energy through food, safety, warding off potential threats, reproduction, etc.

So, what does that has anything to do with the colorful revolution?

Ingrid lays out two examples which examine and explain why color has such a tremendous effect on people’s behavior. The first one tells the story of Edi Rama, the Mayor who rejuvenated the city of Tirana in the aftermath of the dark communist rule.

The next one covers the vision of Ruth Lande Shuman; a courageous lady who managed to breath new life into East Harlem. Namely, by brightening up the place a bit, she made huge strides to revamp the prison-like schools and give them the much-needed finishing touch.

It became clear that bright colors stimulate the brain and make everyone feel better and safer.

While chatting with multiple persons and critically observing their comfort-zone, Ingrid felt like the cultural bias is embedded deep within, making us reluctant to change things.

As if people are not comfortable to make things a bit more colorful; a move that could lift the spirits of any community.

One woman even told Ingrid that she feels extremely awkward to enjoy all the colors she finds peaceful. To some extent, the so-called cultural bias restricts and deprives us of this cheerfulness. We often find joy in decorating or let’s say embellishing some areas, such as the child’s room.

However, we also feel the societal burden when we try to apply the same logic in otherwise unusual situations.

It is crystal clear that brightness is crucial with regards to joyfulness and nurturing a positive atmosphere.

In addition, adding color tones which depict purity and vivacity can be absorbed in a greater process that extends beyond the usage of proper lumens and hues.

According to recently conducted studies in this realm, people prefer lighting over any kind of uniform display of colors.

In chapter 3, Ingrid puts forward the urges which prompted her to be more attentive of the surroundings. She decided to embark on a journey, inspired by Sam Gribley’s endeavors in My Side of the Mountain. Unlike Sam, who set up traps, ground acorns, and befriended a falcon, Ingrid was back by nightfall.

It’s not easy to live off the land, especially if you are attached to the comfort of the modern-day world. Nonetheless, she took it as a lesson and realized that you’re compelled to abide by the law of nature, it’s not like you’ve been given much of choice anyway.

Even when a person subsists on nature’s bounty and its survival is put at risk, the freedom it receives eclipses all confinements and dangers that may incurr.

In the next chapter, Ingrid tells us about the ambiguous nature of any organization. At first glance, a person might think that arranging things in perfect order, either by size or type has nothing to do with a colorful gradient that can improve the atmosphere.

On the flip side, putting everything in order conflates with the idea of finding some who can whim the whole atmosphere into shape.

Causing total mental disarray is not something we do consciously but, it’s definitely an attitude one might be lured into adopting. On the surface, life seems very spontaneous, but the original essence is not in conflict with order nor with the idea of uniformity.

Harmony, unlike disorder, is the embodiment of a positive life.

When you put up time, energy and resource into making the place a bit more colorful and energetic, it truly manifests your readiness to grab hold of life.

The author even introduces an exercise that could help you get the big picture.

If you’ve been asked to name a joyful shape, what would be the first thing that comes to your mind?

Probably a circle!

In ancient times – circles represented a geometric body that was regarded as both complex and majestic. Nowadays, we share that enthusiasm as well.  

Research has shown that people prefer to be disposed into circles, rather than sitting side by side. It was a discovery that left many researchers engrossed into this whole argument.

In an effort to sustain this feeling of asymmetric connection, which depicts inner harmony and joy, you must be eager to exercise your freedom of expression. Moreover, asymmetrical faces are considered more attractive to both sexes; a fact that only further endorses this theory.

You don’t need us telling you that since ancient times; asymmetry has had a pivotal role in architecture, different types of craftsmanship, science, and even politics.

The widespread use throughout Egypt, Rome, Greece tells us a great deal about the alignment between harmony and asymmetry.

Next in line is playfulness.

Archeologists have dug up toys originating from ancient times.

When darkness prevails, playfulness it’s the only thing standing in its path, to say the least. Ingrid believes that “play” hasn’t received much attention from the scientists and people in general.

Nowadays, the idea of analyzing the playful behavior starts to make way more sense than ever before. Furthermore, Ingrid asserts that “play” should be put on an equal footing as emotions in order to understand their combined and separate value.

Transcendence also plays an essential role in this process. Over the course of hundreds of years, people have exhibited an unusual fascination for overcoming certain obstacles such as gravity.

Prior to the construction of the first airplane, the society saw flying as a way to defy nature and crush physical boundaries.

Through my years of studying joy, I’ve noticed that people seem to have a natural attraction to things that float and fly. Most insects attract little interest, but when a butterfly appears and flits around the garden, it becomes a cherished visitor.

In the sequel, you’ll come across some pretty exciting stories and theories related to magic, celebration, and renewal.

Key Lessons from “Joyful”

1.      Get out of your bed and seize the day
2.      Bring more color into your life
3.      Don’t be afraid to question the societal norms

Get out of your bed and seize the day

Sometimes, we don’t have the courage nor do we venture to take risks that could incite change and joyfulness.

However, that’s not a valid excuse for you to remain stuck in the endless stream of destructive thoughts and patterns. Get back on your feet, and make your way through life.

Bring more color into your life

This lesson can be interpreted both symbolically and literally, whichever way you see fit will serve an equal purpose.

You feel embarrassed to make your life more colorful? Snap out of it!

Energize your life by adding different hues and shades that can rejuvenate any place, including the ones you deem unworthy.

Don’t be afraid to question the societal norms

Well, it is not as easy as it sounds, because sometimes we are sucked into the system without even knowing it.

Take for example, tradition. Probably, you like most people incline towards preserving certain cultural paradigms and do things which are an integral part of it.

Ask yourself – have you ever tried to step out of it, and perhaps make your own judgments? – As you can see, it’s not as straightforward as it appears to be.

Make your own case, and build your own life.

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“Joyful Quotes”

From the moment I first started studying joy, it was clear that the liveliest places and objects all have one thing in common: bright, vivid color. Whether it’s a row of houses painted in bold swaths of candy hues or a display of colored… Click To Tweet Burnout often has as much boredom in it as exhaustion. Click To Tweet Safety isn’t the only thing that roundness has going for it. Curved objects have a broad range of affordances, a term -designers- use to describe the different ways an object can be used Click To Tweet Just as the space can promote a feeling of unity, so can attire. Click To Tweet The only requirement is what you already have: an openness to discovering the joy that surrounds you. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Hopefully, our summary will evoke some kind of response from you with regards to the problem addressed by Ingrid.

Not all communities face the same obstacles and problems that more often than not derive its authority from meaningless concepts.

If you are keen to dive into the depths of joy, then this book may become your lifeline in that endeavor.

Keep learning, and keep questioning!    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Very Good Lives PDF Summary

Very Good Lives PDF Summary

The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination

Very Good Lives is an illustrated and somewhat edited version of J. K. Rowling’s 2008 commencement speech at Harvard University.

And it’s profoundly moving, funny, and inspirational!

Read ahead to find out how in our summary.

Who Should Read “Very Good Lives”? And Why?

If you like inspirational commencement speeches such as David Foster Wallace’s This Is Water, then you’ll more than enjoy Very Good Lives.

The same holds true if you watch TED Talks to find meaning and direction in life; speaking of which, you can find large portions of this book in J. K. Rowling’s TED Talk, “The Fringe Benefits of Failure.”

About J. K. Rowling

J. K. Rowling is a British novelist, one of the bestselling authors in history.

She is best-known for her Harry Potter books, which have sold almost half a billion copies worldwide (that is not a mistake) and have been translated into no less than 80 languages.

Unsurprisingly, all of them have been turned into blockbuster movies, the last two of which were produced by Rowling herself.

Since completing the Harry Potter saga, Rowling has written five books for adult readers: The Casual Vacancy, The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm, Career of Evil, and Lethal White. The last four have been published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, and form the Cormoran Strike series.

J. K. Rowling has received an OBE for services to children’s literature and supports many charities.

“Very Good Lives PDF Summary”

Very Good Lives is the book version of J. K. Rowling’s Harvard commencement speech, sharing her wisdom and knowledge on, mainly, two topics: “the benefits of failure” and “the crucial importance of imagination.”  

J. K. Rowling’s Youth and the Realities of Poverty

“Looking back at the twenty-one-year-old that I was at graduation is a slightly uncomfortable experience for the forty-two-year-old that she has become,” says Rowling at the beginning of this book.


Because, as almost everybody knows, the 21-year-old J. K. Rowling was not at the right place in her life. And that is an understatement: as she says, by any conventional measure, she was an epic failure!

Now, how did that happen?

Difficult to say.

She was always interested in writing, but, since she came from a poor family, this was a career her parents hadn’t encouraged one bit, thinking that writing would never pay a mortgage or secure a pension. (“I know that the irony strikes with the force of a cartoon anvil now,” Rowling notes jokingly)

So, they didn’t allow Rowling to study English Literature, and, as a compromise to them, she chose Modern Languages. But, as she says, even before her parents’ car had rounded the corner at the end of the road, Rowling decided to “[ditch] German and [scuttle] off down the Classics corridor.”

Basically, this means that the compromise resulted in the worst decision imaginable (in the eyes of Rowling’s parents): choosing a subject even less useful than English Literature.

It didn’t matter that Rowling was a good student; simply put, nobody needed anyone to tell him the names of the Greek gods and nymphs.

Fast forward a few years and…

An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.

The Rock Bottom and The Benefits of Failure

Now, it is important to note that Rowling doesn’t blame her parents for trying to steer her in a different direction.

Poverty is not an ennobling experience, she says, and since her parents had been poor for most of their lives, they knew full well the realities of poverty.

“Poverty entails fear,” Rowling goes on, “and stress, and sometimes depression; it means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships.”

Only fools would ever want to romanticize it.

However, even at her poorest, what Rowling feared the most wasn’t poverty, but failure. And then she realized that her epic failure – even though no fun by any measure – was the greatest thing that could ever happen to her.


Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.
Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea.
And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

Failure gave Rowling “inner security” that she never attained before by passing examinations. It taught her things about herself that she could have learned no other way.

Among other things, Rowling discovered that she had “a strong will, and more discipline than [she] had suspected;” even more importantly, she also discovered that she had “friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.”

Amnesty International and the Crucial Importance of Imagination

Looking back, Rowling realizes that her failures were great formative experiences; and the same holds true for one of her earliest day jobs as well.

Namely, in her 20s, Rowling worked as a bilingual secretary and researcher at the African research department at Amnesty International’s headquarters in London.

There, she worked with many ex-political prisoners, “people who had been displaced from their homes, or fled into exile, because they had the temerity to speak against their governments.”

And those were her co-workers!

What her job entailed was even worse:

There in my little office I read hastily scribbled letters smuggled out of totalitarian regimes by men and women who were risking imprisonment to inform the outside world of what was happening to them. I saw photographs of those who had disappeared without trace, sent to Amnesty by their desperate families and friends. I read the testimony of torture victims and saw pictures of their injuries. I opened handwritten, eye-witness accounts of summary trials and executions, of kidnappings and rapes.

Why is this important?

Because Rowling had never experienced anything even remotely similar to this and, yet, she was able to empathize.


Rousseau answered that question centuries ago: because of the power of the human imagination.

“Unlike any other creature on this planet,” Rowling reminds us, “humans can learn and understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people’s places.”

And that is an enormous power!

True, it can also sometimes be a burden, since, no matter how happy your life may seem to be, you can still suffer profoundly because of the pain people you don’t know are going through.

Even so, Rowling doesn’t envy the people who never employ their imaginative powers. They suffer from mental agoraphobia, she says; and they are often more afraid.

Ancient Quotes for the Modern Students

J. K. Rowling ends her speech by quoting two ancient authors and reminding the modern students how relevant their words still are.

The first is Plutarch, a Greek biographer and Platonist, who once wrote that “what we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.”

“This is an astonishing statement,” notes Rowling, “and yet proven a thousand times every day of our lives. It expresses, in part, our inescapable connection with the outside world, the fact that we touch other people’s lives simply by existing.”


Well, first, you should remember that Very Good Lives is a book version of a commencement speech for the 2008 Harvard graduates.

And as Rowling explains to them, what Plutarch was trying to point out two millennia ago, was relatively simple.

Namely, being a Harvard graduate isn’t such a minor thing.

First of all, it means that you’re an American, citizen of the only remaining superpower in the world.

Secondly, it means that you’re either very wealthy or very smart – not everyone can afford to be a Harvard graduate or be awarded a Harvard scholarship.

And thirdly, it means that you’ve gotten the very best education an institution can offer.

So, in other words, some of the Harvard graduates of 2008 who listen to J. K. Rowling’s speech may one day become the people who decide whether the US should bomb another nation or help the refugees from a different one.

If Rowling’s speech touches them, they may make a more humane decision, and, thus, help the world in an exceptional way; and the reason for that: a single speech which changed them inwardly.

Rowling ends her speech with another quote, this one by Seneca: “As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.”

Key Lessons from “Very Good Lives”

1.      Your CV Doesn’t Define You
2.      Failure Strips Away the Inessential
3.      Imagination Is the Root of Empathy

Your CV Doesn’t Define You

“Given a Time Turner,” writes J. K. Rowling, “I would tell my 21-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of acquisition or achievement.”

And she goes on: “Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.”

And this comes from someone who was as poor as one can be without being homeless; and became the author of the bestselling book series in the history of mankind.

Failure Strips Away the Inessential

Failure is not a nice thing; however, it does have some benefits.

J. K. Rowling found out this the hard way: at the age of 30, she was a divorced mother of a three-year-old daughter with no job or money; and her mother had recently passed away; the future seemed more than bleak; she was, in her own words, an epic failure.

However, that’s where things started getting better.

Not because something magical happened, but because, simply put, nothing magical could have happened.

Bob Dylan sang that “when you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose” – and that’s the place J. K. Rowling was before Harry Potter made her so famous.

But, she says, she could only write it because her failures revealed to her that nothing else mattered. The worst had happened, and she was still alive.

If she had succeeded in anything, she implies, she would have probably never finished Harry Potter, because she would have always had something to rely on.

The same is probably true for each and every one of us.

We have dreams, but we stop short of turning them into reality because our lives are comfortable enough to make us forget that we are not immortal.

Imagination Is the Root of Empathy

Human beings are exceptional in more than one way; one of the least talked about ways, however, is their capability to simulate the effects of something that has never happened to them, merely through the imaginative powers of their brains.

Rowling says that these powers can save humanity; because empathy stems from them, from our capability to identify with people who suffer.

And because:

If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped change. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.

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“Very Good Lives Quotes”

As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters. I wish you all very good lives. Click To Tweet We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better. Click To Tweet You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Click To Tweet Unlike any other creature on this planet, human beings can learn and understand without having experienced. Click To Tweet Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Even though Very Good Lives is a fairly short book, it’s undoubtedly one which can effectively change your life. And that’s not used in the usual cliched way, nor it is an exaggeration.

One of the all-time most inspirational speeches and, thus, one of the best graduation gift books ever.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

What I Know for Sure PDF Summary

What I Know for Sure PDF Summary

Oprah Winfrey is a living legend.

And her columns for the O, The Oprah Magazine have certainly contributed to that status.

In What I Know for Sure Oprah has collected the best of them, revised them, and updated some of them.

And we have the summary.

Who Should Read “What I Know for Sure”? And Why?

Oprah Winfrey is dubbed the Queen of All Media and the Most Influential Woman in the World for a reason. And What I Know for Sure is a collection of the best of her columns.

If these two sentences don’t spell a recommendation for you, we don’t know which will.

About Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is an American talk show host, actress, and media executive, best known for The Oprah Winfrey Show, the highest-rated TV program of its kind in history.

Born in poverty and out of wedlock to a teenage mother, Oprah lived through a tough childhood (including sexual abuse and pregnancy at 14) and landed a job in radio in her teens, becoming a co-anchor for the evening news by the age of 19.

Soon, she transferred to Chicago and became the host of AM Chicago, a low-rated half-hour morning talk show. After making it the highest-rated talk show in Chicago in just a few months, Oprah was persuaded by the movie critic Roger Ebert to sign a syndication deal with King World.

After Winfrey was nominated for an Academy Award for her appearance in The Color Purple, AM Chicago was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show and relaunched as an hour-long TV event; the rest is history.

Not that you don’t know already, but in case you need to, you can find out more at

“What I Know for Sure PDF Summary”

During an interview two decades ago (1998, to be precise), film critic Gene Siskel (one half of the famous Siskel and Ebert duo) asked Oprah a compelling question: “What do you know for sure?”

Oprah took the question pretty seriously: “Uhhhh, I know for sure… uhhh… I know for sure, I need time to think about that some more, Gene,” she replied.

And she did!

In fact, the question inspired Oprah to start writing the identically titled monthly column for O, the Oprah Magazine – for the next fourteen years!

These columns are collected, revised and updated in this book.

Not because most of them weren’t already famous enough, but because, as Oprah says in the “Introduction,” “when you know something, really know something, it tends to stand the test of time.”

In the book, the columns are organized in eight different sections – joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity, power – and we have the highlights of them all.

Joy Is the Ultimate Product of Resilience

Now in her 60s, Oprah Winfrey is one of the wealthiest people in the world and undoubtedly one of the most influential women on this planet.

However, few – if anyone – would have predicted her even a modestly successful future four decades ago.

Born out of wedlock to a teenage mother, Oprah spent the first six years of childhood with her poor grandparents.

At the age of six, she moved back with her mother, who had too many problems of her own to look after her well enough.

Unfortunately, Oprah’s problems only got worse: from the age of ten to the age of thirteen, she was sexually abused by as much as three different people (her cousin, her uncle, and a family friend).

Owing to this abuse, at the age of 13, Oprah ran away from home, only to get pregnant the very next year; just like her mother, Oprah hid her pregnancy from everyone; her son was born prematurely and died just a few weeks after being born.

You can’t go any lower than this in life, can you?

So, how did Oprah find the strength to grow into a planetary star from being a poor and lonely family-less 14-year-old sexually abused girl with a prematurely born and deceased son?

According to her, she managed to make the leap precisely because of her suffering.

“What doesn’t kill me,” wrote once Friedrich Nietzsche, “makes me stronger.”

That’s something would most gladly sign.

Be resilient and endure, she says, and you’ll earn your happiness in the end:

There is one irrefutable law of the universe: We are each responsible for our own life. If you’re holding anyone else accountable for your happiness, you’re wasting your time. You must be fearless enough to give yourself the love you didn’t receive.

Be Grateful for the Little Things

One of the things Oprah learned during her life is to be grateful for all the beautiful little joys in life.

For example, for long years, she struggled with her body image and tried tons of different diets to make herself slimmer: “Beverly Hills, Atkins, Scarsdale, Cabbage Soup, and even the Banana, Hot Dog, and Egg diets.”

However, nothing worked.

And then, one day in 2001, she started suffering from heart problems at night; six months later, she finally had a life-affirming epiphany: she needed to help her heart beat for many more years, not deal with trivial matters such as body image.

“There is no need to struggle with your body,” she concluded, “when you can make a loving and grateful peace with it.”

And so she did.

Now she is grateful for it – as well as for at least fifteen different things she lists in one column:

1. Planting vegetables in my garden.
2. Making blueberry-lemon pancakes on Sunday morning for Stedman. Never fails to delight him—like he’s 7 every time.
3. An off-leash romp on the front lawn with all my dogs.
4. A rainy day, a chill in the air, a blazing fire in the fireplace.
5. Picking vegetables from my garden.
6. A great book.
7. Reading in my favorite place on earth: under my oak trees.
8. Cooking vegetables from my garden.
9. Sleeping till my body wants to wake up.
10. Waking up to the real twitter: birds.
11. A workout so strong, my whole body breathes.
12. Eating vegetables from my garden.
13. Being still.
14. Embracing silence.
15. The daily spiritual practice of gratitude. Every day I bless my life by counting my blessings.

What are the things you’re grateful about?

Everything Is Possible If You Don’t Apologize for Yourself

 “Beginning when we are girls, most of us are taught to deflect praise,” Oprah writes in one of her columns. “We apologize for our accomplishments. We try to level the field with our family and friends by downplaying our brilliance. We settle for the passenger’s seat when we long to drive.”

Oprah experienced this in the third grade, in, as she says, “one of the defining moments” in her life. After her book report earned the praise of her teacher, her classmates grudgingly started whispering to each other something along the lines of “She thinks she’s so smart.”

For years Oprah feared that people would see her as arrogant. In fact, she even thinks her weight was some sort of an apology on her part: “See,” her body seemed to her to be saying, “I really don’t think I’m better than you.”

But that’s not the way to go.

Too many of us are willing to hide our light as adults. Instead of being filled with passion and purpose, “we empty ourselves in an effort to silence our critics.

The truth, according to Oprah, is “that the naysayers in your life can never be fully satisfied”:

Whether you hide or shine, they’ll always feel threatened because they don’t believe they are enough. So stop paying attention to them. Every time you suppress some part of yourself or allow others to play you small, you are ignoring the owner’s manual your Creator gave you. What I know for sure is this: You are built not to shrink down to less but to blossom into more. To be more splendid. To be more extraordinary. To use every moment to fill yourself up.

Key Lessons from “What I Know for Sure”

1.      Joy and Love Stem from Self-Sufficiency and Resilience
2.      The Power to Choose
3.      Saying No Is Also a Choice

Joy and Love Stem from Self-Sufficiency and Resilience

It’s an understatement to say that Oprah had a difficult childhood.

She was born out of wedlock, raised in harsh conditions, sexually abused for at least three years by three different people from her near family, ran away from home at 13, got pregnant at 14, her son died a few weeks after being prematurely born.

And yet – she became a global superstar!

How did she do it?

Well, by enduring and by learning to be self-sufficient.

Instead of looking outwardly, she learned to look inwardly. Instead of looking for validation for her actions in someone else (be that a parent or a lover), she decided to look for it in herself.

And if you want to be loved and successful, you should do it too!

Because, for one thing, you’ve endured a lot as well already.

“Think back for a moment on your own history,” Oprah writes at one place. “What were the moments along the way that wounded or scared you? Chances are, you’ve had a few. But here’s what’s remarkable: You are still here, still standing.”

Isn’t that a lot?

The Power to Choose

“After the hundreds of stories I’ve heard of atrocities around the globe, I know that if you’re a woman born in the United States, you’re one of the luckiest women in the world,” writes Oprah.

Andshe has a point.

Because, unlike millions and millions of women in the world, you’ve almost certainly been given an opportunity to live the life of your choice.

Why don’t you start using it:

Take your good fortune and lift your life to its highest calling. Understand that the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege. Use it. Dwell in possibility.

Saying No Is Also a Choice

It isn’t at all surprising that Oprah – being Oprah, aka the greatest black philanthropist in American history – was often overwhelmed by too many requests for help by too many needy people.

“Some would spend their last dime on a bus ticket to get to me,” she writes, “children would run away from home, abused women would leave their husbands and show up at the doorstep of my studio, all hoping I’d help.”

And, of course, she did!

After all, she had a difficult life and knew that many people needed help; however, after writing thousands of checks, she started feeling worn out.

More importantly, she started realizing that she wasn’t helping anymore because she thought that she could help, but because she was afraid that if she didn’t write a check, people would hate her.

“I was saying yes so people wouldn’t be angry with me, so they would think I was a nice person,” she concluded. “My intention was to make people feel I was the one they could call on, count on, last minute, no matter what.”

She was 40 years old when she realized that this was the wrong way to go in life.

And she started saying “no” – because that’s also a choice.

She still keeps the note she wrote that day on her desk

Never again will I do anything for anyone that I do not feel directly from my heart. I will not attend a meeting, make a phone call, write a letter, sponsor or participate in any activity in which every fiber of my being does not resound yes. I will act with the intent to be true to myself.

It’s time you started doing this yourself.

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“What I Know for Sure Quotes”

What I love most about reading: It gives you the ability to reach higher ground. And keep climbing. Click To Tweet If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘Thank you,’ it will be enough. (Via Meister Eckhart) Click To Tweet You can either waltz boldly onto the stage of life and live the way you know your spirit is nudging you to, or you can sit quietly by the wall, receding into the shadows of fear and self-doubt. Click To Tweet What I know for sure is that pleasure is energy reciprocated: What you put out comes back. Your base level of pleasure is determined by how you view your whole life. Click To Tweet Balance lives in the present. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

If you like Oprah, you’ll certainly like What I Know for Sure as well.

All of her trademarks are here: the confessional tone, the honesty, the clarity, the warmth, the wisdom gained through experience.

The perfect gift book for hurt women.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning PDF Summary

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning PDF Summary

How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter

Marie Kondo made tidying up not only a fashionable habit but also a life-changing one.

Margareta Magnusson is here to offer some tips and tricks from the practices in her own home country.

Ladies and gentlemen, time to learn a little something about:

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning.

Who Should Read “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning”? And Why?

If you are a hoarder who wants to change his/her lifestyle as soon as possible, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning may be the first book you need to read – and straight away, if you ask us!

The same holds true for anyone who doesn’t know what decluttering is, and has a problem finding space in his/her apartment for his new piece of clothing, or even a pencil.

Also, if you enjoy watching Marie Kondo YouTube tutorials and reading her books (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy), there’s no reason not to enjoy Margareta Magnusson’s debut – their books may have a different starting point, but essentially they do have the same message.

And for all their differences, it’s only natural once you finish Tolstoy, to read Dostoyevsky, isn’t?

About Margareta Magnusson

Margareta Magnusson

Margareta Magnusson is a Swedish Stockholm-based author and artist, dubbed by at least one author “the Marie Kondo of death.”

Not younger than 80 years nor older than a 100 (she is shy about her age), Magnusson is a graduate of Beckman College School of Design and has had her work exhibited in many galleries around the world, most notably in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Published in2018, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning is her debut book; it became a New York Times bestseller and quickly rose to the top of many “best of” lists of 2018.

“The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning PDF Summary”

“Part guidebook on how to how to declutter your home, part meditation on coming to terms with aging and how to make the process of downsizing less painful,” The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning is precisely what you’d expect from a book with such a title.

“The only thing we know for sure,” writes Magnusson in the very first sentence of the book, “is that one day we will die. But before that, we can do anything.”

Apparently, one of the most important things one can and should do is decluttering his/her house.

Because, as our favorite modern lyricist Leonard Cohen says (quoted by Magnusson): “Putting your house in order, if you can do it, is one of the most comforting activities, and the benefits of it are incalculable.”

So, let’s see what this means in practice and how tidying up your home can be – or even is – related to death.

Döständning, or One Last Sweep Before You Die

Let’s start with an inevitable fact: one day you’ll die, and you’ll leave a lot of items behind you. Have you ever thought about what will happen to them once you’re gone?

As it should be only obvious, your loved ones will one day have to go through them. You can guess the results: they’ll throw away some of them, they’ll keep others, they’ll try to decide who deserves what of the most valuable ones.

This process is both physically and psychologically taxing; in many cases, no wonder that, in many cases, it can result in acrimonious disputes.

Take, for example, Margareta herself.

On her deathbed, her mother left her a charming bracelet. However, unlike her mother, Margareta has five children, so she knew full well that no matter what her choice would be on who to inherit it, that bracelet will probably cause much more sadness and bitterness than joy and laugher.

Her solution?

She simply sold the bracelet; as valuable as it was (of course, emotionally much more than financially), it wasn’t nearly as valuable as family bliss.

The selling of the bracelet was part of Margareta’s döständning, Swedish for “death cleaning,” or, as we would like to say “one last sweep before you die.”

It may sound strange, but it is a fact of life in the Scandinavian countries.

Just like it is a great idea to clean your house before you leave on vacation (so that you are not shocked once you come back), the Scandinavians believe that it is an even better one – nay, a duty! – to comb through all of your belongings and throw away the unnecessary stuff before you live this planet.

After all, who knows them better than you? And why should you bother others with your useless items?

Decluttering Is Bonding – If You Do It Right

In other words, if you care for your loved ones, then it’s only fair to spare them the emotional and physical burden of cleaning up your stuff.

Start with your attic or basement (depending on which one of the two you have) and with the big items: furniture, books, items that take up a lot of space…

It’s not that you can’t start with the small items in that secret box under your bed, but let’s face it – it will take you forever to make any progress if you do that.

Not that it’s easy to get rid of your old dollhouses or twice-used sports equipment!

After all, these items will remind you of your happy childhood days just as you’re nearing to your death; and, as we learned from Citizen Kane, nothing can be more poignant and heartbreaking than that!

However, think of the problems your books or toys may cause between your loved ones once you are gone; and should we remind you that you won’t be there to mend them?

So, ask yourself for each item: will you ever need this again? Will someone else need it?

Granted, as tricky as it is, the first question may be a bit easier to answer than the latter one.

Magnusson has a solution for that: if you don’t know if something will be useful to some of your loved ones, well, call them and ask them!

While you’re alive.

There, now you’ve created a great opportunity for the family to bond!

Because not many of them will know everything about the younger “you,” and some of them – like your grandchildren, for example – will probably discover a completely new “you.”

Nothing bonds as much as a walk down memory lane.

Here’s your chance to walk it – while you declutter!

Döständning and Being Discreet

As you’ve probably guessed, it’s a bit dangerous to invite your loved ones over to help you declutter if some of the things you’ve kept throughout the years, you’ve kept hidden from them for a reason.

Take a page out of Margareta Magnusson’s book.

After the death of her parents, she was death cleaning their house and found a few unusual items; for example, secret cartons of cigarettes hidden in a linen closet.

Apparently, her mother was smoking in private – something she didn’t want anyone to know or find out. Margareta included: she realized that she might have been happier if she had never found about her mother’s vice.

More mysterious and even scarier, in her father’s desk, Margareta discovered a large piece of arsenic dating from at least three decades before her father’s death.

Since her father passed away in the 1970s, it was evident to Margareta that the arsenic was acquired when her parents had feared that Sweden might be invaded by the Germans.

However, why did it remain in the cabinet for so long? Did her father – or even her parents – had another secret that Margareta would probably never find out?

Once again, do you really like your children and their children to wonder about things such as these once you’re not alive to offer an explanation?

So, be very careful before you start inviting your relatives and gifting them your memories. Some of your memories are not supposed to be given away.

Yes, that is especially true for your diaries and your love letters!

Read them carefully and see if there’s anything in there you don’t want anyone to find out.

If so, ask yourself whether it’s smart to keep them still.

That’s right:

Time to throw them away or, better yet, burn them!

The Throw-Away Box and the Cabinet for the Ugly

Now, Margareta knows that it’d be almost impossible for you to get rid of things as personal as diaries, letters or photographs.

If that’s the case, Margareta suggests putting them in an easily disposable “throw-away box,” adorned with a sticker: “please throw away this without opening it.”

This should certainly help since it bereaves you of the burden of throwing away something you cherish in addition to relieving you from your doubts that these things will eventually be seen by someone else after your death.

But, let’s face it: there’s no guarantee about the latter.

If you don’t believe us, just ask Franz Kafka!

So, we suggest the strategy above: when you are confident that something of yours should be seen by nobody other than yourself, make sure that you are the last person who’ll ever see it.

On the subject of throw-away containers – Magnusson mentions another type:

I do know people who maintain what we in Sweden call a fulskåp, a cabinet for the ugly. A fulskåp is a cupboard full of gifts you can’t stand to look at, and which are impossible to regift. Usually these are presents from distant aunts and uncles that you put on display when the giver comes to visit.

You don’t need Magnusson to tell you that “this is a bad idea.” It both occupies space and inspires others to give you similar gifts.

If those gifts are not who you are – be honest.

If you’re a girl and you vax, you know what we’re talking about: the rip of the Band-Aid hurts like hell, but everything’s both better and cleaner soon after.

Key Lessons from “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning”

1.      Decluttering: A Lesson from the Vikings
2.      Swedish Death Cleaning: The Art You Should Master
3.      Decluttering and the Two Questions You Should Ask About Each Item You Own

Decluttering: A Lesson from the Vikings

Once you die, you leave behind many of your items on this planet. Of course, these become a responsibility of your loved ones: they need to clean your stuff up.

That’s not very fair on your part if you ask Margareta Magnusson.

So, take a page out of the book of the Vikings: when they died, they were buried (or cremated) together with their belongings.

This way, the Vikings believed, they wouldn’t miss their favorite items in Valhalla; but also – speaking in more practical manners – this way the surviving loved ones wouldn’t have to quarrel over who should own them.

For example, in Greek mythology, Ajax went mad and killed himself after Odysseus got Achilles’ armor soon after Achilles was killed.

Yup, that’s a very cruel, but also good, metaphor for the problems your bracelet may cause once you die – if, say, you have more than one daughter.

Swedish Death Cleaning: The Art You Should Master

There’s a better way to tackle this problem.

It’s called döständning in Swedish, a word which can be translated as “death cleaning” in English.

And it means exactly what you think it means: getting rid of the stuff you don’t need so that your surviving loved ones don’t have to once you leave this planet.

It’s not only good manners – but it’s also a great way to spare your loved ones the psychological burden of painful memories even long after you’re gone.

“Let me help make your loved ones’ memories of you nice,” says Magnusson at one place, “instead of awful.”

Decluttering and the Two Questions You Should Ask About Each Item You Own

An excellent way to decide whether an item should be thrown away or kept is by asking two questions about it.

The first one is the obvious one: “Will I ever need this?”

The second one becomes more important with every day you’re nearing to your death “Will anyone I know be happier if I save this?”

If you don’t know the answer to the second question, invite your loved ones and ask them in person. Thus, decluttering becomes a great way to bond with them.

However, don’t ever forget:

You can always hope and wait for someone to want something in your home, but you cannot wait forever, and sometimes you must just give cherished things away with the wish that they end up with someone who will create new memories of their own.

Like this summary? We’d like to invite you to download our free 12 min app for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning Quotes”

Start with the large items in your home, and finish with the small. Click To Tweet I often ask myself: ‘will anyone I know be happier if I save this?’ Click To Tweet The one thing we know for sure is that we will die one day. But before that you can try to do almost anything. Click To Tweet You really can't take everything with you, so maybe it is better to not try to own it all. Click To Tweet It is amazing, and also a little strange, how many things we accumulate in a lifetime. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Before The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, we didn’t even know that there was such a thing as “death cleaning.” Now, it’s suddenly all we think about.

“A fond and wise little book,” writes Dwight Garner for The New York Times. “I jettison advice books after I’ve flipped through them. This one I will keep.”

We too, Dwight. This one’s a great, great, great book.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

The Universe Has Your Back PDF Summary

The Universe Has Your Back PDF Summary

Transform Fear to Faith

It’s anything but easy to tackle the self-imposed restrictions that your mind creates.

Nonetheless, Gabrielle tells us her story, and how she managed to come out victorious in this inner battle. It’s also a wake-up call for those that are still on the fence.

In this summary, we try to extract the key takeaways from this amazing life-altering book and present them in a digestible manner.

Let’s roll!

Who Should Read “The Universe Has Your Back”? And Why?

Over the course of thousands of years, human evolvement has led us to a point where most people are fed and have a roof over their heads, but we cannot find the formula for harmony and peace.

It seems as if worldly pleasures cannot complement for lack of spiritual maturity.

A world saturated with technology and opportunities doesn’t add up to this story. In contrast, “The Universe Has Your Back” answers this cry for help and outlines a couple of things we must do in order to get out of this meaningless life cycle.

About Gabrielle Bernstein

Gabrielle Bernstein

With regards to profession, Gabrielle Bernstein can be put into several different categories, but we believe the most accurate one would include: author, motivational speaker, and life coach.

She doesn’t shy away from telling her life-encounters and how one should act in various circumstances.

Gabrielle is the author of several other books:

  • Judgment Detox
  • MediDating
  • Miracles Now
  • Spirit Junkie
  • May Cause Miracles
  • Add More Ing to Your Life

“The Universe Has Your Back PDF Summary”

Well, it’s hard to imagine a system that caters to every whim of its subordinates. Moreover, if we look at the data, we’ll see that people’s well being is not proportionate to the global progress. It stands to reason why most Americans, struggle with depression regardless of their income or stature in society.

The same factual logic applies to the rest of the world, as well.

Gabrielle starts on the right foot by sharing the truth related to what has led her to write this book. In 2015, she had a life-altering experience during her yoga class. A sudden surge of restlessness, anxiety, and discomfort overwhelmed her and made the left side of her face go totally numb.

Within the next 24 hours, she visited a doctor who couldn’t find anything “physical” related to this phenomenon. After running a few tests, they diagnosed it as a panic attack.

Imagine the shock!

A successful, thriving, caring, and peaceful woman, mother, and spouse had this attack without any warnings or cues.

Let’s delve into it.

To understand why some of the people prefer not to get out of their state of discomfort, Sigmund Freud did a couple of tests.

Sigmund Freud realized that his patients weren’t getting any better and came to the conclusion that there’s some inner resistance that prevents them from transforming.

The universe or the universal power relates to the ability to catch a glimpse of this resistance and challenge the thought system. It’s a systematic safety-net that impedes our willingness to overcome this state of chaos.

Gabrielle recalls her struggle with depression since she was a teenage girl. Not knowing what exactly is causing this sense of perpetual fear, she took a trip with her boyfriend to a beach house.

Once there, she excused herself and walked into an isolated small room on the second floor to find her inner shelter. The dark cloud of thoughts was washed away, as she entered a blissful state of mind by connecting with the divine.

When this feeling of anxiety started to recede, Gabrielle became increasingly concerned with worldly pleasures.

Having a relationship, and thriving in a professional sense became the top priority.

She even started abusing drugs and alcohol, a decision that plunged her into the dark bottom. An instant slump, she feared is unrecoverable.

Gabrielle was ashamed of herself as if she betrayed the only real friend she has ever had.

However, it wasn’t too late to change the music, as her inner urge to overcome this anxious surge grew stronger by the day.

I began to recite, So, Ham, So, Ham, So, Ham – a mantra that helped her during those difficult moments.

The Universal Pull is the Source and Substance

In the next few chapters, Gabrielle emphasizes the significance of changing one’s perception. She conveys words of worry and hope to those who jump into conclusions without trying to shift their angle of view.

To prove a point, she even illustrates an example.

When you are at the movies, and the bad guy is waiting just around the corner, while the good person is passing by, we are all like “Don’t Go” “Be Careful” “Turn Back.”

This merely manifests our own habit to make the same old mistakes, but even that keeps us detained in a self-imposed prison. Whatever you perceive you conceive, therefore it’s of utmost significance to cast doubt on these mental tendencies.

The Universal Lesson #2 focuses on the three-step process for questioning the self-made world:

  • Step #1 – What is the fearful movie you’ve been playing?
  • Step #2 – What’s the positive movie you’ve been playing?
  • Step #3 – Reconnect to your power.

It goes without saying that a state of presence is the only genuine power. Some people refer to this absolute phenomenon as God, other as Universe or Awareness, and in the modern-day lexicon, you’ll find it as Universal Truth.

Whatever name you assign to it, it will serve an equal purpose.

Gabrielle tells us that real power lies in presence, which goes against conventional logic and crosses swords with the inner world you have created. The accumulation of events, thoughts, and sense of sense self compose the egoic reality.

The Universal Laws apply to every person, every conscious being who has decided to go deep into this divine connection.

  • Meditation and prayer are the two keys which can open up all the doors in the Universe
  • The presence of resentment and anxiety indicates that you lean too much on your mind
  • Your projection is your perception
  • Being in the present moment is the only genuine power
  • When you unintentionally break off this connection, just say a prayer and get back on track

If you have the guts to be responsible for what you see, then you’ll see an immediate shift in your state of mind. You cannot deny the connection between one’s inner world and its actual reality. For example, people living in wealthy and prosperous nations shouldn’t be having this difficult, but that’s just nonsense.

Regardless of your surroundings, and necessities, one should feast its eyes with love and compassion, case in point, Mahatma Gandhi.

Despite the appalling conditions, he was guided by a righteous cause that formed his perception.

An ignorant person wants to change the world; a smart person only wishes to transform itself. Don’t go running around, throwing your moral notions at someone’s face, and instead take on an inward journey to overcome your suffering.

In the next few chapters, Gabrielle explains to us how we can reap the benefits of being spiritually mature.

In addition, she calls upon all the humanity to wake up by doing the following:

  • Step #1 – Ask for guidance
  • Step #2 – Practice the holy instant
  • Step #3 – Fast comeback
  • Step #4 – Put out what you want to receive
  • Step #5 – Create a purpose statement
  • Step #6 – You are a dreamer of your dream

You might be thinking, that to avoid fear is the ultimate goal, but that’s not the case. You ought to identify your genuine teacher, which is the Universe, and abide by the rules of love and broader understanding.

The tricky part is finding the courage to detach from emotions and emotional baggage prior to strengthening your connection with the Divine.

To ensure that you receive the Universal love, it’s of utmost importance that you gear up with the right mentality for the task.

Get out of your comfort zone, and tackle the monkey mind at once. Very straightforward advice for those who might veer off course during the transition. It’s a powerful exercise that could help you when you are pushed into a corner and need some sort of a propeller to get the ball rolling.

By meditating, you’ll be able to calm your mind and put it in a position of total relaxation.

In this book, Gabrielle explains how practicing Kirtan Kriya for 12 minutes each day can lift your spirits and put you in a better mood. Also, it will help you understand your intentions which prompt you into taking certain actions and decisions.

Sometimes, you won’t feel like you are in the godly presence, but the Universe acts mysteriously even when you’re outraged at something.

Let go – is something you’ll hear quite often.

Even Gabrielle gives us a rundown on how our obsessive need to be in control can backfire on you and make you even more depressive.

In the last chapter, Gabrielle shares her obsession to get pregnant. She was so worried about the timing that she forgot about love itself. It was a process that was gaining momentum, making her dependent on the outcome, and not enjoying the present moment.

She even went as far as comparing herself to her friends, who just gave birth or conceived a baby.

As human beings who feel inclined to set goals, and make preparations for things to turn out in their favor, we rarely live in the “Now.” This process has the earmarks of a great plan that would keep us organized even in the most scatterbrained periods of our lives.

Nonetheless, nobody can spot the danger of remaining rigid. Why do you believe that your projections, your egoic predictions are the best-case scenario?

We are misled to believe that this little voice, is our best friend.

This arrogance and ignorance, keep us from seeing with the eyes of real wisdom which portrays life as uncertainty to its full extent.

The peace of love is shining in you now.

Key Lessons from “The Universe Has Your Back”

1.      Understand that you deserve to be happy
2.      Keep the fire on the other side
3.      The art of surrender

Understand that you deserve to be happy

Many people these days have given up on life, even though they are at their prime years. It’s a paradox that doesn’t seem to go away.

As a response, the author merely implies that “happiness” is a choice for those who want more.

It’s not a matter of materialism, but a matter of inner development and growth. It’s a state of mind and heart one should strive to achieve.

Keep the fire on the other side

If you believe that sheer will is all that separates you from a blissful experience, you better think again. The utility of applying an aggressive strategy in the workplace gives you the latitude to do whatever you want, but the same process is not on the same wavelength as the idea to reach genuine satisfaction.

So, it’s better to adjust your approach when dealing with mental tendencies.

The art of surrender

It’s against conventional wisdom not to lay down the law or be in the driver’s seat. To put it differently, people love to run the show, to hold the reins and reap the seeds of such actions.

However, in spirituality, you have to loosen up and take a break from all the restless striving to control the outcome.

Thus, the art of surrender will help you understand the big picture, and how going along with the flow could be the best decision.  

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“The Universe Has Your Back Quotes”

Trust that your wounds are exactly as the Universe planned. They were divinely placed in your life in the perfect order so that you could show up for them with love and remember the light within. Click To Tweet In the midst of the darkness, grab a flashlight. Click To Tweet Thank you, spirit, for your guidance. We surrender this grievance to you, and we welcome you in to reorganize all limiting beliefs back to love. Click To Tweet I recognize that I have chosen wrongly, I forgive this thought, and I choose again. I choose love. Click To Tweet It's the journey that matters, not the destination. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

When a person relates to predicaments that he/she has been through, then you really don’t need to question its intentions.

We feel like that’s the case here.

Gabrielle struggled to keep depression out of her life but managed to subdue these negative urges through meditations and prayer.

As such, we find the book both practical and compelling.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It PDF Summary

In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It PDF Summary

Yeah, you shouldn’t worry about the temporary defeats, since all failures are needed for a person to marinate in itself.

But, when sadness takes the reins, it’s a different game.

Our optimism is punctured, as we try to prowl on and fight these currents.

In this summary, you’ll get introduced to a “worry-less” concept, and why you should capitalize on every situation.

Who Should Read “In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It”? And Why?

It seems as if Lauren weaves the biographical elements with a sense of self-development that manifest the struggle behind the scenes. It does a grand favor to those, who still struggle to find balance in today’s world.

With that said, we believe that “In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It” is astonishing for every person, since it covers aspects that most of us face on a daily basis.

Getting your hands onto it, will be advisable.

About Lauren Graham

Lauren Graham is an American actress and an author, mostly known for her appearance on Gilmore Girls.

In 2016, she also wrote Talking as Fast as I Can.

“In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It PDF Summary”

If Lauren continues to churn out bestsellers at an alarming speed, there’ll no more room left for the rest of the world. All joking aside, she really excels at wrapping up the primary hypothesis and deliver it in the most digestible way possible.

How would you feel if someone gives you the opportunity to address a big audience? – Well, it may turn out to be a surprise after all.

Anyway, Lauren recalls her graduation at Langley in 1984. No kid had a cell phone, Macintosh Computers were out on the market, for the very first time, and the greatest movie at the time was “Ghostbusters.”

In the Introduction, the author ponders about the idea of getting on a soapbox, no matter the price.

Will Ferrell’s speech was something to be admired because most people fell out of their chair in laughter while he was igniting the crowd. He was green from head to toe and said all this nonsense which the people found hilarious.

Lauren doesn’t remember much about the “gala performance” called Graduation. Her raspy white dress made her sweltering beneath the polyester material.

The hair products back then were also “unfitting” for various types of hair, which made hers poofy. With all of her friends scattered around the auditorium, she had to contend with the feeling of discomfort during the ceremony.

The whole process of receiving the diploma felt like a meaningless achievement. Moreover, Lauren obtained an empty pleather envelope, because her diploma was held due to library fines.

Back in High School, Lauren dreamed about the big stage as an actress. She intended to fulfill that dream by signing up for school auditions, and eventually, she was cast as Townsperson #3 in the spring musical, Li’l Abner.

In her Sophomore year, she got to play Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes. But the big breakthrough emerged in her Junior year in Hello, Dolly, when she for the first time had a leading role and received a standing ovation.

The biggest challenge in High School surfaced during the audition for Once Upon a Mattress when she was a Senior. Prior to the audition, her teacher demanded that every actor and actress write down their preferences on the audition form (whether they would accept any role, or want only the leading one).

Fearful of being perceived as a pompous and arrogant brat, you guess what she did. As a response, she was cast as a lady in waiting – a character without a name.

It was one big slump, and Lauren feared that she could not recover from that. On the way to the show, Lauren’s car slid on ice and went off the road. She was brought in a police car and asked whether she is able to perform.

A young and ambitious girl named Jenny approached her. She shared her concerns regarding the crash and asked her whether she is able to do the show. Her eyes blazed with fire, as she said: I learned all your lines.

That was a signal that people just wait to rise to the occasion and seize the opportunity.

Lauren’s mindset changed in a flash, and she was okay and willing to crash the show. By looking into Jenny’s eyes, Lauren saw a reflection of herself – the girl she was a couple of months ago. That night, she ruminated on the purpose of life, and happiness.

Now, she can understand why “The Most” and “The Best” is not equivalent to happiness. Lauren had her ups and downs, had her successes and failures, but all of them were somehow intertwined to give life the full disclosure of joy.

Years after the high school graduation, Lauren pulled it off. She was cast to play Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls. This was the break Lauren was hoping for; a real Broadway sensation.

Talented and experienced, she didn’t realize that the worst is yet to come. Every night prior to the rehearsal, her head was brimming with thoughts – questioning her capability as an actress, and whether she deserves the role in the first place.

She was in the spotlight, but the “click” was missing. She couldn’t find how to push through this overwhelming feeling of doubt, as though she was in High School once again.

After a couple of weeks, she finally pulled herself together, not worrying about who was in the crowd.

She reckoned that people came to have a good time and a few laughs. They didn’t come to see an actress who doesn’t feel like she can live up to the expectations.

Lauren’s mindset suddenly switched, as she performed with confidence and courage. A friend approached and asked her:

What happened to you?

She replied: I don’t know, but it sort of feels like…sailing.

Lauren feels lucky enough to have a job that resonates with her heart, but the path to it wasn’t straightforward. It was a series of ups and downs, which should not be misinterpreted as something that wasn’t necessary.

Back in 1984, when Lauren graduated from high-school, a random person could have picked three to four hundred people before her, to give the commencement speech. In 2017, you have another story to tell, which leads us to this – different people blossom at various stages of their life.

Don’t get upset if you still haven’t reached the level you were hoping for. It’s right there, just be patient and aggressive at the same time.

You may feel disheartened that some person got the thing you deserve more. During those difficult moments, you might demand sympathy from your family, and fall into melancholy but that’s not the way one should take.

Like clouds, the sky will eventually clear up, and those on the top of the mountain will have to descend – leaving you plenty of room to take what’s rightfully yours.

However, once the dream is at your fingertips, all the anxiety and doubt will disappear! You’ll be happy forever, and no one could impede that inner melting, right?

Well, not quite.

Reaching success is not something that will automatically boost your self-esteem without any further wavelike tendencies.

So, people believe that being an actor or in this case actress is all sunshine and rainbows. Although the acting career of Lauren is more than impressive, is without question a stressful one; from time to time. It’s all part of the beauty, and she has to work on herself on a daily basis.

Lauren mainly shares the whole excitement behind the scenes, the lights, the yelling, the cuts, the directions-giving, the rehearsals, the mediocre coffee…

It’s inevitable to do the off-stage things right, in order for the actors to put up their best performance.

When a person finally arrives at the desired destination, it’s often struck by the undistorted reality. Some achievements feel a lot better when you can share them with your loved ones. Don’t get this the wrong way, you should, by all means, pursue your dream job, but beware of false narratives that may impede the process.

Feedback is not something that you ought to base your stature and value. It’s a necessary ingredient that can help you absorb the entire perspective, but that’s all.

Whatever career you deem to be representable of your innate desires, must be complementary to your character. You must be happy while doing that in order to grow with each passing day, and that’s the beauty of it.

When Lauren went to the theater with her dad to see Hello, Dolly, she was engulfed by emotions and thoughts. Tears were falling like snow on Christmas Eve as the play triggered many high-school memories and feelings.

Lauren Graham implies:

DON’T wait until you’re on Broadway. Or until you reach the Olympics. Or until you’re CEO of a major company. Don’t wait until you’re the president of something, or for the day when your life looks perfect to you and everyone you know.

Don’t worry so much, just get the job done. That’s the essence of progress and growth and something you should strive to attain.

One cannot become a great achiever and a happy person without loving thyself. It’s not a cliché tip, because you seriously cannot ask from anyone to give you respect, without you doing that for yourself. It’s a two-way street that will help you to find a way through the rush hour.

If you wish to become triumphant, allowing mistakes to happen is the way. Those that accept and endorse risk-taking behavior get the big picture.

Give yourself the right to “blow it.” It will open doors for you to exploit in the upcoming period.

Even if you don’t do something extraordinary, don’t judge yourself by the behavior and metrics imposed upon you. Those big accomplishers may have one thing, but that’s not the end goal.

You are enough, just as you are. Cherish the little moments and enjoy life to the full extent.

Key Lessons from “In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It”

1.      Stand up straight
2.      Keep your composure all the time
3.      Understand the big picture

Stand up straight

This lesson can be construed in dozens of different ways, but we will address the one we deem most important. People these days struggle to face the fire when things get out of hand.

Lauren feels duty-bound to urge you to plug away at the key project, and never quit. Even if someone keeps haranguing you, just believe in yourself, and you’ll make it.

Keep your composure all the time

It sounds obvious not to burst into tears, but sometimes we can’t seem to maintain a cool head. It’s one of those things that are easier said than done.

In addition to this, the author implies that the best decisions are rarely the byproduct of obsessive thinking.

They are a direct consequence of rationality and endurance!

Understand the big picture

It goes without saying that short-sighted people rarely get to the top. And the less agreeable you are, the more likely you’ll have an aerial perspective on everything.

It’s not about short-term victories, but about keeping your morale up.

Such a mindset will prevent you from abandoning your dreams, and help you withstand external and internal attacks.

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“In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It Quotes”

Starring has nothing to do with how big your part is - it's a state of mind. Click To Tweet Satisfaction is not found in the big achievements. It’s not in winning. Starring has nothing to do with how big your part is—it’s a state of mind. Click To Tweet Don't be perfect, just be DONE! Click To Tweet Perform every job as if you're being well paid...Respect yourself and your work as if you're being paid to be the Boss. Click To Tweet Treat every day like you're starring in it. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Lauren Graham has received many accolades for her acting and writing performances. We feel like this book has a lot of personal connotation embedded into it, and hence it facilitates the connection with the audience.

As a matter of fact, it covers what every ambitious person needs to know in order to surmount the external and self-inflicted difficulties.

It will help you make headway in your path to success and prosperity.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF: