The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives
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The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  1,772 ratings  ·  313 reviews

In this inspiring book, Katie Couric distills the ingenious, hard-won insights of such leaders and visionaries as Maya Angelou, Jimmy Carter, Michael J. Fox, and Ken Burns, who offer advice about life, success, and happiness—how to take chances, follow one’s passions, overcome adversity and inertia, commit to something greater than ourselves, and...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2011)
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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

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
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
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?

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
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
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
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
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
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.
Megan Kathleen ~The Never Ending Book Basket
For my full review of this book, check out my post here: http://neverendingbookbasket.wordpres...

I have to admit that I am an advice book junkie. I love reading different perspectives and thoughts about how we can all "make it work" This book provides that in spades. There is advice on a plethora of different topics, and from people from all walks of life. The book is full of great words, great stories, and some really great pieces of advice.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and it was easy t...more
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!
Jun 17, 2013 Jennifer rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
SNORE!! There might be some good advice in here but I hardly made it through the intro.
This book truly is the best advice I ever got. And as extreme as it might be, for the moment, I'm tempted to say it's the best book I've ever read. Or at least the best book I've read in as long as I can remember. If you read my rave reviews for This I Believe, take my love for the series and multiply it exponentially, and you'll come up with what this book meant to me.

I started it in tears, and ended it in tears. And in the middle, I laughed, I raised eyebrows, I contemplated, I felt hopeful, I...more
I'm not sure that this is the best book to listen to on audio. I thought a lot more of the snippets of advice would be read by the authors of them but that would require recording 50+ leaders/celebrities/entrepreneurs/etc. Katie Couric does narrate her sections but this book is made up largely of anecdotes and advice from other famous members of society. I think that's where the audio falls short as it's sometimes difficult to remember whom wrote this snippet if you don't listen to the end of th...more
I was inspired by the do not let fear stop you crowd – and there were many (Anna Quindlen, Helen Mirren, Maria Shriver to name a few). There were a few stand out stories to me. Bill Cosby’s story about his first big stand-up gig was funny and with the take home lesson to always be yourself and not be intimidated. I am not a Suze Orman fan so I didn’t really know anything about how she came to be a financial guru and I found her story so surprising. I had no idea that a waitress could walk into a...more
I am listening to this on audio and since I'm easily distracted while driving, these short/inspiring anecdotes work well during the commute. Also, it's a lot more difficult to direct your road rage at other drivers when you're listening to stories about success and failure, empathy (thanks, Meryl Streep), and how to otherwise be a better human being.
Katie Couric starts each section with a short story about her own life followed by short segments from entertainers, scholars, world leaders, athle...more
When Katie Couric was giving a college commencement speech, she got the idea of contacting some remarkable people for advice to offer to these students who were embarking on their new careers. She collected stories from people in a variety of fields--politics, the arts, sports, entertainment, newscasting, and philanthropy. She partnered with Scholarship America so all the proceeds from this book will fund college scholarships for those in need.

The stories came from intelligent people with their...more
Julie Luekenga
In this book, Katie Couric has collected a series of short essays from a variety of people--writers, journalists, celebrities, famous corporate types and politicians, musicians, chefs, athletes,and so on. The idea came from a commencement speech she was asked to give-- what is your best advice you would give graduating college seniors. The result is a collection of somewhat pithy essays, loosely placed together by subject categories with a short introduction for each written by Ms. Couric.

The e...more
Each section of this book is introduced by Katie Couric and then continues with advice and anecdotes from the famous people of the Western world (authors, comedians, politicians, athletes, generals, newscasters, etc.) There’s much advice that’s cliche, but that doesn't mean it's not true. As with any advice book, some bits of advice I resonated with; other parts I disagreed with. The parts I liked the best were where the individuals gave advice by sharing their own stories (i.e., by incarnating...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.” 15 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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