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The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  2,737 Ratings  ·  380 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, an
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
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
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
Feb 18, 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
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
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
This was okay, but not life changing. Typical self-help and I wanted it to go a bit deeper than it did. Also, there was advice from Bill Cosby and Donald Trump that I fast-forwarded the audiobook through. No, thank you!

I think my favorite piece of advice was from Matthew McConaughey's dad in which he told Matthew to never say "I can't do X" because that assumes the feat is actually impossible and there is no way it can be done. Instead, say "I'm having trouble with X" because that means there is
Mar 25, 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
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
Sep 07, 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?

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
May 07, 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
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
Apr 19, 2016 Kristy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am such a sucker for this type of book. I think they are the best type to listen to in the car. Couric has solicited all her famous movers and shakers to share with her "the best advice I ever got." She has grouped them in themes and added her own experiences at the beginning of each section. The replies she got are all relatively short and some more profound, interesting, or humorous than others. I found many to be relevantly good reminders for myself and the young adults in my life.
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.
D Books
Aug 12, 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.
Sep 07, 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.
Jun 07, 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! :)
Apr 19, 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!
SNORE!! There might be some good advice in here but I hardly made it through the intro.
Jenny Chin
Feb 09, 2017 Jenny Chin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-list
Wow, when Katie Couric asks you for your best advice, she really gets everyone to respond.
Great book to listen to . All the advice from very famous people sharing their wisdoms is touching and some even profound.
I loved Jay Leno's advice on finding the right spouse
I loved the last person, fitting end to this wonderful book.
Jan 04, 2012 Marie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, nonfiction

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
Feb 25, 2013 Eva rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Neat to hear from so many different voices (actors, heads of state, athletes...) but some of the advice was a bit frustrating -- like the hypocritical dismissal of "I wish I'd spent more time at the office" by someone (e.g., David Axelrod) who's clearly spent an obscene amount of time at the office.

Some kindle quotes:

“Those who love deeply grieve deeply,” - location 324

So the moral, and my best advice, is that you should always let people know what you want. Without being irritating, of course.
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
Aug 13, 2012 Shameem rated it it was amazing
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
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
Dec 15, 2016 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think you need to be in the mood for this type of book. Katie writes a bit about herself, the rest is a cross section of current famous people. Some of the thoughts were interesting & thoughtful and a few I had to skip over. Nothing earth shattering. But I did like Ellen's spot.
Dec 30, 2014 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
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
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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.” 20 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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