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The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives

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3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,451 Ratings  ·  357 Reviews
What was the tipping point for Malcolm Gladwell? What unscripted event made Meryl Streep who she is? How did Mario Batali cook up his recipe for success? In this inspiration-packed book, Katie Couric reports from the front lines of the worlds of politics, entertainment, sports, philanthropy, the arts, and business—distilling the ingenious, hard-won insights of leaders and ...more
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Published May 3rd 2011 by Random House Audio (first published 2011)
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Thomas
Who wouldn't want to read a book that includes Ellen DeGeneres quoting The Pussycat Dolls? Or Tyra Banks lamenting that she wasn't meant to be the next "Lady Taylor Perry Gaga Swift"? In The Best Advice I Ever Got Katie Couric compiles advice from comedians, politicians, writers, athletes, and more on various life topics such as perseverance, creativity, and giving back. She divides the book into neat categories such as "Don't Let the Turkeys Get You Down (On Rejection and Resilience)" and "Ever ...more
Vincent
Apr 22, 2011 Vincent rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have a few issues with katie couric. Yes she lost a husband to cancer - join the crowd. Yes she is sick of being called perky. Boo-hoo. She gets paid $10 million or so to sit in place and read the news for 22 minutes each night. Wrong!
So she decides to write a book about life lessons and it turns out the whole book includes on a couple pages of her thoughts. Everything comes straight from Vera Wang, Larry King, Drew Brees, Tavis Smiley, etc. No filter or editing - total cut and paste job.
So t
...more
Shannon
Aug 17, 2011 Shannon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book on CD and got most of the way through disc 2 (there are six total) before I gave up and returned it to the library. It's not bad, per se. Certainly the authors are well-meaning, and I can't help but like Katie Couric. But this book is loaded with more cliches and triteness than I can possibly describe. I liked a handful of essays - Bill Cosby's made me laugh, and Christina Applegate's made me nod along - but mostly is was just typical Hallmark card stuff: do what you love ...more
Cheryl
Mar 14, 2013 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I bought this book in one of those buy-2-get-the-3rd-free deals and I'm glad I did. It is one of those advice books you keep on the shelf and refer to from time to time. I've had it for weeks, reading it in bits and pieces each week. In the intro, it's interesting to learn about Katie Couric's life and how she's dealt with the death of her husband and father, as well as the interesting and revealing tidbits about her early career.

The advice from each "extraordinary life" is sectioned off into ch
...more
Ariana
Jan 26, 2012 Ariana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inspirational
I really like this book. It's a collection of advice from successful people. Two of my favorite messages came from Michelle Kwan and Apolo Ohno.

Michelle Kwan:

"In the end, your finest moments in life aren't necessarily those in which you finish first but, instead, the times when you know that you simply gave it your best - when you did it heart and soul, and held nothing back."

Apolo Ohno:

"It's not really about the destination, but about what it took to get you there. After I've crossed the finis
...more
Joy
Mar 11, 2012 Joy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What was the tipping point for Malcolm Gladwell? What unscripted event made Meryl Streep who she is? How did Mario Batali cook up his recipe for success? In this inspiration-packed book, Katie Couric reports from the front lines of the worlds of politics, entertainment, sports, philanthropy, the arts, and business--distilling the ingenious, hard-won insights of leaders and visionaries, who tell us all how to take chances, follow our passions, cope with criticism, and, perhaps most important, com ...more
Laura Westmeyer
It's always interesting to hear the stories and anecdotes that "successful people" are willing to share. I enjoyed this book - Katie Couric has a fascinating life and thinking about her experience alone made for a good read. The only major problem I personally had with this book was that the people chosen were primarily successful journalists, editors, actors & comedians. Not being in those professions, the advice wasn't as clearly applicable to my life as it might be to others. All in all, ...more
Olga
Aug 31, 2012 Olga rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
I found this book while browsing the ebook offerings on my library's website and immediately thought a book of advice from successful journalists, artists, entertainers, politicians, entrepreneurs, and athletes would be interesting and informative. After all, their respective formulas worked for them, it can't hurt to find out what they are.
Some essays are very short (Twitter co-founder Biz Stone's is fittingly 140 characters long) and some are longer and filled with reminiscences but they all
...more
Marie
Jan 09, 2012 Marie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, nonfiction
http://mariesbookgarden.blogspot.com/...

After delivering a commencement address, Katie Couric got the idea to gather commencement addresses and other advice from various celebrities, politicians, athletes, military commanders, philanthropists, and businesspeople. She opens each section with an anecdote from her own life...about her own childhood, how she got into television, losing her husband to cancer, raising her daughters, and being criticized for her work on the CBS Evening News.

I have alwa
...more
Cindy
Apr 22, 2011 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I enjoyed about this book is that there are so many people in here that gave Katie Couric advice ~ and as a reader you can select the ones that you feel like reading. They are also organized by subject ~ if you don't care for looking up the person by name, you can read advice on work, passion, courage, etc..

My favorite advice came from Jay Leno, Donald Trump, Larry King, Matthew McConaughy, Joyce Carol Oates, Gloria Steinem, Nia Vardalos, Whoopi Goldberg, M. Night Shyamalan, Soledad O'Brien
...more
Darla
I realized fairly quickly in that I am not necessarily the target audience -- it is mostly a collection of "graduation speeches." Most of them were your typical fare: follow your passion, fear not, embrace your uniqness... Ultimately what I found most interesting is what each indivual's choice of topic said about them as a person and their core values. I did read about ten of them to my kids and had some nice discussions.
Emilie
Sep 13, 2011 Emilie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So, I didn't have a strong opinion about Katie Couric one way or the other before reading this book. As I read I found myself liking her a lot. Her portions were funny, real and honest. I wish I could say the same for her celeb writers. I see her dilemma. She asks a slew of celebrities to share words of advice and some (and by "some" I mean "a lot") of the entries are awful. What can she do? Leave them out when people like Donald Trump spent all of 47 seconds writing something stale and trite?

Th
...more
Michele
I didn't love this book enough to give it a 4, but it probably deserves more than a 3.
Because Katie Couric has the career she has, she is able to ask famous people for their best advice. Some of it was really good. Some I could have done without. I did think reading the different essays made the "stars" much more human to me (for the most part). My favorite part of this book is that I could read an essay, put it down for a while and come back to the next one.
It would probably be most beneficia
...more
Sandra
I like and admire Katie Couric a whole lot. Perhaps that is why I had to give it 2 stars, even tho I could not get into it, and one star would have been enough for me. I did not want to turn others away from this book, which is mostly a collection of commencement address's given by famous or well know personalities, giving the new graduates sage advice. Not my kind of book, but some might really like it. Guess I'm too old, jaded, and as sage as I am going to get. But I do think Katie Couric is a ...more
Connie
May 28, 2011 Connie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I imagine that this book is a "gift" book a lot. The sort of thing someone gives you when you graduate. It's no "Oh The Places You'll Go"-- but it is pretty good. Like all books of this genre, some of the contributors advice or stories are better than others, but if you are looking for a "gift" book and you already have Dr. Seuss or The Last Lecture, this one is a pretty good choice. Easy to pick up and put down-- jump around in, etc. It's a feel-good book-- what else could you expect from Katie ...more
Jalendhari Tabeeb
It was a quick read,the kind you can fly through even with short attention span.

Best advice was by Marissa Mayer,VP at Google.She says : Misperceiving that there is one correct choice is a common mistake. Coming to understand that there are usually a few good choices—and then there’s the one you pick, commit to, and make great—is the best way to make flexible, optimal, good decisions in life.

'Don’t marry someone who’s more neurotic than you.'
At the time, I would have been delighted to marry some
...more
Lauren Hopkins
I wanted to read this book for a little bit of inspiration while working on projects and while I normally don't enjoy reading typically cheesy "gifts for grads" books meant to lure people in for a quick and easy dollars, I felt drawn to this for some reason. Katie Couric, maybe? Either way, I picked it up and am glad I did. While a lot of the advice is tired and true, I loved that a very diverse group of individuals across a wide variety of backgrounds participated. The advice comes from CEOs, a ...more
Carmen
Sep 15, 2011 Carmen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I was planning on giving this a 2 star rating, but I was telling friends about some of the different stories and I was more and more excited to tell the next one (Blue Man Group! Suze Orman! Ellen DeGeneres! George Lopez!) I figured it deserves at least 3 stars.

Some advice was pretty generic (Follow you dreams! Don't give up!) but some of the personal stories were very inspiring.
D Books
Sep 29, 2011 D Books rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Katie Couric, as well as other famous and intuitive people, provide words of insight and inspiration. If you are in need of a little inspiration or perhaps a little angel talking unbeknownst to you from your shoulder, then you will find that this book provides just that. I’m sure you will find some words of wisdom in this book that will enrich your life.
Ashlyn
Mar 05, 2015 Ashlyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this as a book on CD on my commute to my new job. It was perfect as it is Katie's life story and her advice as well as advice from many other famous and accomplished people. It was connected to their commencement speeches in some cases, I believe. My only fault was that it ended up feeling long (6 CDs) and a bit repetitive. I did really enjoy some stories along the way, like the author from "The Help" got about 60 rejection notices before her book was finally published. Try, try ag ...more
Eileen
Feb 22, 2015 Eileen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book at the library book sale area and it was a bargain at .50 cents. Each evening for the past two weeks I would read four or five narratives from a diverse group of people. The author first writes about her journey in life and then presents the collected thoughts and words of wisdom from people. The voices from many people were organized into ten chapters with themes like "You've Gotta Have Moxie," "Never Give In," "Everyone Needs a Cheerleader," and "Find the Joy."I ocunted 117 s ...more
Uzma
Apr 20, 2012 Uzma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extremely inspirational and a very fast read! I couldn't put it down. Some of the advice is cliche but its always nice to hear some cliches from famous people- reassuring us that we should stick to our purpose! Loved it and highly recommend!
Jennifer
Jun 17, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer by: Vroman's
Shelves: non-fiction
Really enjoyed this collection of inspirational/motivational stories from a variety of sources, both really famous and not as we'll known. Already thinking some of these may need to make their way into my classroom in the fall! :)
Tracy Antol
Quick read with lots of short stories around the theme of advice. Some advice is better than others. Here's a few of my favorite quotes

Life is tragically short. While we are here we have an obligation to give and receive joy

You will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than the things you did.

Success in one area does not preclude success in another.

Get over yourself.

Do the best you can every day.

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

I never learned an
...more
Jill
SNORE!! There might be some good advice in here but I hardly made it through the intro.
Susan
Oct 29, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a book of essays five various people in various professions tied together by commentary of Katie Couric. Some were very short somewhere a few pages long. It's what I would defined as bathroom reading. Some advice was simple some was more complicated. There were some people, when I saw their names, I didn't want to read what they had to say. However, I was pleasantly surprised that when you get beyond some people celebrity, that they are real thinking people beneath that. This is a reall ...more
Jackie
Jan 30, 2015 Jackie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading what many people thought was the best advice that they ever got and the advice was from across a wide spectrum of professionals including a couple of presidents, the former Chief of Staff and a Secretary of State. I liked learning they these famous and well known people struggled in life - that their accomplishments and what they wanted to do didn't necessary begin with a simple step and going forward with success after success. To know they struggled gives me hope and many of ...more
Yaaresse
Edited to Add 8-17-2015:
CAUTION: If you add this book to your read bookshelf, you're recommendation list will be inundated with every trendy, fluffy, crappy book written in the last five years by women about a)how to get/keep a man, b(clothes/make-up/style, and c)how to "be a woman in the man's business world" and not base your self-worth on men or looking amazing. The Goodreads/Amazon suggestion algorithm is either clueless or has a wry sense of humor. Either way, it's annoying. Don't say you w
...more
Jenni
Jun 11, 2015 Jenni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: professional
My main goal for this summer is to figure out some sort of plan for when I graduate college, which believe me is no easy task. I came to college thinking I knew exactly what kind of job I wanted and what life would be like in four years, but now it terrifies me though to not know what my plan is in two years. One way I'm working on this goal is reading professional and inspirational books. I decided I would start off by reading The Best Advice I Ever Got, which I actually started during the seme ...more
Peacegal
I read this for my book discussion group; it really isn't something I'd choose to read on my own.

Couric collects a variety of short chapters written by various standouts in the fields of entertainment, sports, politics, technology, business and charity. Each writer attempts to impart some pearls of wisdom on how to succeed in life.

However, I can't help but find it all a little condescending. These people are famous because they aren't like everyone else; they are the 1%. They either have treme
...more
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Katherine Anne "Katie" Couric is notable as an American journalist who became well-known as co-host of NBC's Today. In 2006, she made a highly publicized move from NBC to CBS, and on September 5, 2006 she became the first solo female anchor of the weekday evening news on one of the three traditional U.S. broadcast networks. She currently serves as the anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening ...more
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“A boat is always safe in the harbor, but that's not what boats are built for.” 19 likes
“... not far around the corner from every ugly experience is something really beautiful. And if you stop at every bitter comment you will never reach that beauty.

Soledad O'Brien”
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