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If I'd Known Then: Women in their 20s and 30s Write Letters to Their Younger Selves
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If I'd Known Then: Women in their 20s and 30s Write Letters to Their Younger Selves

3.36  ·  Rating Details  ·  170 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
If you could send a letter back in time to yourself, what would it say? Following in the tradition of the bestselling What I Know Now comes a new collection that will speak directly to young women. Editor Ellyn Spragins asked women under forty to write letters to the girls they once were, filled with the advice and insights they wish they’d had when they were younger. Read ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published April 22nd 2008 by Da Capo Press (first published January 28th 2008)
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Elevate Difference
Jan 10, 2009 Elevate Difference rated it did not like it
If I'd Known Then is a collection of letters and stories about successful women, some of them celebrities, looking back at their younger selves with grains of experiential wisdom. Actress Jessica Alba, singer/songwriter Lisa Loeb, and Flickr founder Caterina Fake are some of the participants. It is meant to be an inspirational book, giving extrapolative advice about self-esteem and perseverance in the face of unkind conditions, peers, and standards.

Each featured participant has an entire chapter
Cik Aini
I picked this book because the title intrigued me. I read through this leisurely. The author added background on each personality portrayed in this book. The letters were short, but remarkable. Most of it on our insecurities-the elders writing to their younger version-to give life a chance, to not be heart broken when the cute boy you met didn't call you,to address your insecurities (it's no wonder that most of us despite how beautiful or talented someone is, we feel insecure enough about oursel ...more
Apr 16, 2013 anahashim rated it really liked it
assalamualaikum wbt,

alhamdulillah i am able to finish this novel.this books resembles and reflects my life as a 23 years old lady.somehow i felt i am loser, while mostly i feel i lost my tracks.oh Allah, please guide me.

i will read this book again and again to remind myself and learn how to build my future.insyaAllah.
Aug 27, 2010 Julie rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. However, instead of feeling inspired, I was mainly bored.
Cindy Hudson
Jan 08, 2010 Cindy Hudson rated it really liked it
Have you ever wished you could write a letter to yourself when you were younger to give yourself hope or encouragement to get through a difficult time? That's what the 35 women did who appear in If I'd Know Then, Women in Their 20s and 30s Write Letters to Their Younger Selves.

Readers will recognize many of the writers as well as receive introductions to remarkable women they may not have heard of before. The letters are all heartfelt, with the authors talking directly to the young girls they on
Rianna B
Dec 07, 2013 Rianna B rated it liked it
Going in, I didn't know very many females interviewed in this book, but it seemed cool. & I LOVE Jessica Alba from since she was in PUNKS.. & that was a big factor in me reading this. lol, but not in a sexual way. There were probably 5-10 other folks I've heard of & half of whom I knew who they were.

On the expositions and letters, most were decent. Childhood-teenage years are pretty much difficult for everyone for 1 reason or multiple. A fair amount of these people/chapters were craz
Effa Izzaty
Jan 14, 2015 Effa Izzaty rated it liked it
"Learn to accept yourself for who you are. Stop judging and comparing yourself to others. You make mistakes, and so does everybody else. There is no shame in not having all the answers. Being wrong is not the end of the world. There is no need to be that hard on yourself. It is a waste of time."

"Take risks. Live unafraid of failures because failures are evidence that you tried and that is a wonderful thing."
Mar 09, 2014 L rated it liked it
Shelves: inspirational
The letters focus more on personal reflections rather than drawing broader, sweeping conclusions. The quality of the conclusions varies widely from authors. Its target audience is more suited toward preteens and teenagers. Anyone older will find the content regarding high school and college irrelevant. Some nuggets of wisdom and entertainment for a rather short book.
Jan 15, 2014 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
I did really like it. If I'd known then is Famous people writing to them selves when they either first started their career or any time younger than 19. People like Natasha Bettingfield and Bethany Hamilton. They realize that now the know and wish the would have known then. There is about 20 people that wrote to them selves and some I've never even heard of. Most of the stories and letters are really good there is just one that I didn't like. The theme is regret and simply life. It is shown thro ...more
Limau Nipis
A different self motivation book, this book focuses on famous people writing to their younger self.

I like the introduction part, acknowledging the background of these famous females.

One of the most heartfelt story is on Mindy Lam, the girl who is considered unlucky because she, as a female is the first born in the family.

And when she was sick and bedridden, she created her first piece of jewellery using crystal. Here is an example of elaborate pieces by her company.

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Oh wow, a fairyta
Jan 31, 2014 Chantel rated it liked it
If I'd Known Then: Women Under 35 Write Letters to Their Younger Selves
Author: Ellyn Spragins

I'm 34. I should have gotten the one that was by/for women much older than me. As it was, I still felt a tug at the heart and the tear ducts while reading this book but I didn't get as much out of it as a younger person might. This book would be great for a school age girl (high school or college) to gain a better perspective on what they are going through and how it will and especially won't affect them
Jan 25, 2013 Katakgirl rated it really liked it
I picked up this book because it was on sale and it has a very intriguing title I was curious about. I started reading the first few bios letters (includes Jessica Alba and Natasha Beddingfield)and i was literally hooked into it. I would say its a really inspiring book for young teens and young women. It made me miss my teenage years so much and realized that I actually couldn't buy back the time I wasted. But with these letters, it encourages us that sometimes is okay, as long as you make up to ...more
Apr 15, 2013 Serene rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
This was a great book the theme of this book would be accomplishment and struggle. An example of accomplish is in every letter they either became famous, a dancer, a swimmer etc. An example of struggle is when in the letters they say without the struggle they wouldn't be where they are now. What I think the author was trying to say is that first comes struggle then come reward. I would recommend this book to ages 13 and up.
Jun 27, 2015 Diana rated it really liked it
Brad Paisley made me read this.
This is one of those books everyone should take time to read. Most of us usually compare our lives to the perfect lives we think these women have, but now we learn that they had some pretty hard times too.
It kind of makes you want to say "Hey my life really isn't that bad."
This book is for young woman to realized that they are not alone in what they're feeling or going through.
Hailey Story
Apr 09, 2013 Hailey Story rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book If I'd Known Then. Its about women from their 20's through 30's talking about either mistakes they made while they were younger of things that they remember that was a exciting thing in their life. Each Women's story's were in this book that Ellyn Spragins (the Author..) interviewed. The theme would be realism because your able to relate to a lot of the story's in this book.
Dec 23, 2012 Fariza rated it really liked it
It'S great to read those letters written to the younger self of the writers, some of them were really relevant to me now. I do learn a lot from this great works. Life used to be a bunch of shit for certain peoples but it will become a great experience that you know you'll remember for the whole of your life. Live your life now as happy as you can because you know one it's going to be better. It always be.
Lyla Ibrahim
Jan 06, 2013 Lyla Ibrahim rated it really liked it
Inspiring. It's always a good feeling to read stories about successful people and how they overcome all hurdles in their lives, turn their lives around. Not every aspects in our lives is a good one, but as they say, every cloud has a silver lining.

I wonder what I would write to my younger self...
Apr 14, 2009 Jodi rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this and am anxious to read the next book of hers. It was interesting to learn about how these women came to be where they are - from the widow that started Tarte cosmetics (hello, love it!) to Hussein's prospect that moved to the US to avoid him. Jessica Alba's was lame though ;)
Oct 05, 2012 Mya rated it it was ok
I thought this was an interesting premise for a book and overall it was okay. However, the introductory stories could have been improved with some careful editing. The letters themselves were fairly similar in their message and not particularly enlightening or inspiring.
Oct 03, 2008 kyersten rated it liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
This was a real fast read. You can't help but think of your own younger self. I know exacally how old I was when I could have used a letter from my future self. Too bad we can't really give our younger selves advice like that. Read it. You'll probably learn something.
Jan 11, 2010 Peggy rated it liked it
This was an ok book about some half way famous people who overcame obstacles to achieve objectives. The book gives a brief bio of each person and the obstacles they overcame and then has the person write a letter to their younger self giving advice.
Adeline Myers
Jun 01, 2010 Adeline Myers rated it really liked it
inspiring reflections of successful women, looking back at themselves. Some of them are really moving and it is a reminder we all struggle with similar things, especially in our teens and as young women. it will all get better, that is the consensus!
May 16, 2008 Claire rated it it was amazing
I'm biased here, as my pal Magali has a letter in this book, but I genuinely enjoyed this collection, and found the essays inspiring. The timing of the book's release is perfect--this would make an excellent graduation gift, particularly for teens.
Aug 09, 2011 Sofia rated it did not like it
Not as good as I was expecting, kind of boring actually. It only took me one evening to read... You'll get a gem or two out of this book, but otherwise, the "letters to myself" are bland, short, common and uninspiring.
Jan 29, 2009 Rhonda rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2009
Very quick read. Short bio on each contributing author, then a letter from herself to her as a sixth or seventh grader with advice on how to get through what brings them to who they are now.

Feb 08, 2009 Mary rated it did not like it
Selected women under forty write letters to the girls they once were to communicate the wisdom they wish they had possessed when they were younger. Very so-so IMHO.
Valerie Barcinal
Jan 23, 2013 Valerie Barcinal rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I know this book means well, but I think it failed in its purpose. I guess I'm just used to more drama, and not just one or two pages of description about each person.
Apr 19, 2010 Chanin rated it did not like it
I don't think I've ever given only 1 star before. This looked so promising. Write your younger self a letter and don't bother with the book.
Jul 25, 2009 Katie rated it it was ok
seemed more like a long list of cliches than anything else... maybe the original was better?
Shafaza Zara
Dec 16, 2012 Shafaza Zara rated it really liked it
I wonder what would I write to myself later on. Should try write something as well.
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