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Life's Lessons Learned: Personal Reflections

4.34  ·  Rating Details ·  890 Ratings  ·  192 Reviews
I have learned things that have shaped my life and teachings, including some things of the heart not previously shared, writes Elder Dallin H. Oaks in the introduction to this unique book. "This is an autobiography of learning and application rather than a compendium of doctrine." Masterfully blending personal experiences with the doctrines of the gospel, Elder Oaks invite ...more
Hardcover, 165 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Deseret Book Company
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Oct 04, 2011 Lowell rated it it was amazing
"Despite resolving that I would not write another book, I felt a strong impression to write this book about lessons learned in my life's experiences that might be helpful to others."

I've kept a journal for 17 years, now constituting approximately 800 typed pages. Perhaps more than any other reason, I choose to maintain this journal because it helps me organize my thoughts and reflect on how lucky I really am in my life. Three years ago when I started typing up my entire old entries, I discovered
Apr 06, 2012 Dlora rated it liked it
Elder Oaks said he felt he needed to write a book sharing the lessons he has learned from personal experiences--not something he is comfortable doing. That reminded me of a comment President Eyring made during a general conference: "I heard in my mind—not in my own voice—these words: 'I’m not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down.'” It would seem Elder Oaks has the same feeling--that his life experiences are meant to be shared with more than himself. His "personal reflection ...more
Oct 08, 2011 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2011
In Life Lessons learned Elder Oaks gives us a glimpse into a few of the experiences in his life that shaped him into the powerful leader he is today. From a very rocky beginning when he lost his father at a young age to his ultimate call to be an Apostle he shares nuggets of wisdom he learned along his journey in life.

The chapters in this book are quite short just 3 or 4 pages each. This made it a perfect book to read a chapter or two when I've had a few minutes or before falling asleep each nig
Apr 10, 2012 Heather rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religious, education
This is a sweet book. I'm grateful for the insights Elder Oaks shares and the principles he teaches and testimony he shares. It's neat to learn more about him and his life and experiences that taught him important truths and principles. I'm inspired by his example of humility, steadfastness and dedication to the Lord.

Reading this book reminded me how I want to be a better journal writer and consistently record important principles as I learn. It also reminded me that Apostles are real people wi
Jun 21, 2016 Jenny rated it really liked it
Shelves: lds
Each chapter contains a short vignette from Elder Oaks' life as well as a lesson he learned from that experience.

A few of the lessons that stand out to me:

"We are all preparing for things to come....We are all children of a Heavenly Father who has sent us to earth with the invitation to prepare for eternal life. Every choice, every experience, every repentance and reformation, prepares us for what is to come. Remembering that important truth will guide our choices and inform our evaluation of wh
May 21, 2014 Tonya rated it really liked it
Shelves: lds
This book is exactly what it says it is - lessons learned throughout life by the author and short descriptions of how he learned them. I liked the short chapters - easy to read a bit here and there. His writing is like his speaking - clear and to the point.

Some "lessons" I especially liked:

Neither faith nor priesthood power can invoke a blessing that is contrary to the will of the Lord.

Separate respect for a person's position from our personal affection or belief about policies.

Seek to solve pr
Jul 10, 2012 Scott rated it it was amazing
Dallin H. Oaks is a spiritual and intellectual giant, and this book clearly reflects that. I've always liked and admired Elder Oaks and look forward to his discourses whenever he speaks publicly. His recent talk on religious freedom is, in my opinion, one of the most important talks given in years. His philosophies and insights not only parallel mine, they inspire mine as well. He is truly an exemplary person.

In this book, his insights are fascinating and rich. What struck me while I was reading
Apr 09, 2012 Sherrill rated it liked it
This is a sweet little book that you can polish off on a Sunday afternoon waiting for church to start. His reflections are mostly useful although some were more for Apostles and Mission Presidents. When I was at BYU I remember hearing Stella Harris Oaks on the radio as she was a city councilwoman or something of that nature. I didn't then know she was a widow who would raise up a son that would share his name with one of my grandsons. I liked his thoughts on how we cannot pray away another perso ...more
Jan 30, 2015 Josephine rated it really liked it
I think my favorite thing about this book was that it was short and to the point. It also didn't include any conference talks or anything already freely available online. It was all new material written by Elder Oaks. He just wrote about key experiences in his life that have shaped who he has become. It was one of those things where you can take what might help you and leave the rest behind. It made me want to write a short history of my own life and experiences that have been turning points in ...more
Apr 02, 2013 Darrell rated it it was amazing
Loved it.

reread May 2016.
Mar 17, 2012 Jean rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It is a fast read and I loved leaning about Elder Oaks life experiences.
Heidi Tucker
May 18, 2017 Heidi Tucker rated it really liked it
A beautiful up close and personal look at an Apostle's life and what he has learned. We also learn right along with him as he tells beautiful stories and teaches principles along with them.
May 11, 2017 Callee rated it really liked it
Short and sweet chapters with great insight.
Emily O.
Dec 25, 2016 Emily O. rated it really liked it
Quick read!
Oct 06, 2016 Ryan rated it really liked it
That was a great, quick and uplifting read! Elder Oaks is the MAN
Feb 01, 2012 Lance rated it it was amazing
This very short tome was an absolute joy to read. I must confess at the outset that I am biased towards Elder Oaks; I have always enjoyed his presentations in General Conference as well as in other venues. That's part of why I picked up this tome.

It was a very quick read; I consumed the entirety in a single Sunday afternoon. And it was highly enjoyable. Many of the lessons Elder Oaks described learning over the course of his life I was pleased to see that I had already learned myself. And yet th
May 13, 2012 04mattl rated it it was amazing
Life’s Lessons Learned was written by Dallin H. Oak and was published in 2011 by Deseret Book. This book was a great read; it is full of many lessons that can be applied to almost anyone’s life. The main audience for this book is more than likely anyone at least in their teens, and want to hear how one man has grown through trials in his life. In this book there are many short stories, each having an obstacle or an issue, which helped define the author’s life. There is not really a specific sett ...more
Sep 29, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, religion
This is a quick, uplifting read from Elder Oaks. The individual vignettes are three to four pages long with the "lesson learned" summarized briefly at the end, and organized chronologically as Elder Oaks experienced them.

I especially enjoyed the glimpses into his early life (my nine-year-old took hope from the fact that Elder Oaks struggled with math in 4th grade, too!) and youth being raised by his widowed mother and his stories about the death of his first wife and subsequent second marriage.
Feb 15, 2012 Verona rated it it was amazing
Besides giving me insight into the life of an apostle of the Lord and learning what he has learned in his life, it also gave me wonderful direction for my own life.
Elder Oaks has always seemed rather serious and gave talks that I had to really think through because of his intellect and deep thinking. They were wonderful, but took more time to think through than some talks at conference. This book, however, was so personal and so revealing of his human side. I appreciated his sharing his inner
Angela Farr
Mar 09, 2012 Angela Farr rated it it was amazing
It comes as no surprise that with his law background Elder Oaks lays out his insights in a reasoned, logical, concise manner. This style may not appeal to everyone, but I found it enhanced the points he shared in this book. I also found the style especially helpful in sharing some of his points with a "less active" young adult male I know; he was able to hear and discuss the ideas without feeling "preached at" by Elder Oaks' words.

The division of the book into brief sections is another of its co
Feb 16, 2012 Paula rated it really liked it
I gave this book to my husband as a Christmas present, but selfishly read it first. I haven’t read other books by Oaks, but have always been intrigued to hear what he has to say because of his experience in the field of law and as a former university president.

I loved the format of his short but powerful reflections…37 lessons he has learned and applied in chronological order in 3 groupings…by using personal experiences. I didn’t read them all in one sitting. I wanted to let the thoughts sink i
Oct 18, 2012 Adrienne rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction

In a series of short anecdotes, Dallin H. Oaks shares some of the meaningful lesson that he has learned through his family life, professional career, and callings in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Among others, he shares lessons about submitting to the Lord's will, effective leadership, the difference between sins and mistakes, and the effort it takes to move on after the death of a beloved spouse.

I'd anticipated that this book would be educational; I didn't expect it to be qui
Scott Burton
Jan 06, 2012 Scott Burton rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book.

Rather than being a compilation of conference talks or even a proper (auto)biography, this was a reflection of personal experiences of Elder Oaks' life with the general principle that he learned from each experience. I knew that his father had died when he was young, but was amazed to read about some of the other hard times he had growing up and the sacrifice of his mother. Yet, despite many sad topics, it was very uplifting and motivational.

I might just have a short a
Feb 12, 2012 Gretchen rated it really liked it
Shelves: church, lds
Dallin H. Oaks is one of my favorite Apostles to listen to in General Conference. I love his straightforward, logical style of speaking and writing. I never have to wonder what the point is with Elder Oaks.

I really enjoyed this book. The book is made up of several short chapters that detail things Elder Oaks has learned throughout his life experiences, from his early life to his tenure as president of BYU to his time as a Utah Supreme Court justice and finally, his time as a General Authority f
Jared Manning
Jul 05, 2015 Jared Manning rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lds
This was a good book. It was very brief (perfect for Sunday mornings before church. Elder Oaks goes through his life and breaks down moments that shaped him, and what gospel principles can be learned. There are many great stories. One I found pretty interesting was when Elder Oaks talked about being called as an apostle while serving on the Utah Supreme Court. He was trying to figure out if he was a "lawyer who had been called as an apostle or an apostle who used to be a lawyer" He states, " I h ...more
Jan 29, 2012 Josh rated it really liked it
Shelves: lds
I like Elder Oaks' talks so I was pretty sure I would enjoy his book. I was not disappointed. The chapters are very short, concise, and episodic. He usually shares an experience and what it taught him. On a few of them I found myself wishing to know more about the background story, but one of the reasons I feel an affinity for Elder Oaks is he doesn't seem comfortable sharing very personal things and I can completely empathize. Some of the chapters I read quickly thinking "Well that's interestin ...more
Feb 29, 2012 Mindy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religious, memoir, 2012
I liked that this was a memoir, so you get a somewhat chronological glimpse of his life, but I loved even more so the method of giving significant events and tying it to something learned. He doesn't overly expound on any one topic or event and makes it very relevant to the reader. As such, it was a book that could be put down and picked back up again without having to try to remember what I just read. It was an insightful look at his life, but a great way to look at what I am doing in my life a ...more
Jeri Schille
Jan 08, 2013 Jeri Schille rated it it was amazing
This book is no surprise coming from someone with a law background. Each chapter is well thought out, succinct, to the point and full of wisdom. At the end of each chapter I was left wishing he had expounded, but on the other hand, there is something to be said for our own pondering and thought. And this is just what this book produced--a lot of thought and reflection. A good friend once told me, "Say everything that should be said, but not everything that could be said." This is so true for thi ...more
Jan 10, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing
This slim, quick read shouldn't be read quickly--I probably should have read a chapter, considered its teachings, and then read another chapter on another day. Elder Oaks is an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but before that he was a lawyer, law professor, president of BYU, and a justice of the Utah Supreme Court. Some of the "lessons" that most touched me--although all are valuable--include the chapters on "The Challenge of Indifference," "Separating Respect, Affecti ...more
May 04, 2014 Regan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: church, 2014
Written in his characteristically concise style Oaks captures some obvious lessons with fascinating stories from his own life but also explores some lessons that are a bit more uncommon. The nature of the book is somewhat disjointed but it works. I thought he also shared some subtle insights into his own spiritual journey that made him seem more accessible than some of his other speeches, I think particularly of his admission of forgetting a premonition of greater church service (which in retros ...more
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Dallin Harris Oaks is an American attorney, jurist and religious leader. Since 1984, he has been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). He is a former professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School, a former president of Brigham Young University, and a former justice of the Utah Supreme Court. In the 1970s and 1980s, ...more
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