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Life's Greatest Lessons: 20 Things That Matter

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  399 ratings  ·  48 reviews
With more than a quarter million copies sold, award-winning teacher Hal Urban outlines twenty lessons that answer timeless questions about how to make the most of your life.

Life’s Greatest Lessons is a wise, wonderful book. In it, Hal Urban, a parent and an award-winning teacher, presents twenty principles that are as deeply rooted in common sense as they are in compassion
Paperback, 167 pages
Published January 7th 2003 by Fireside (first published August 1992)
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This book offers some good advise about how to form a healthy philosophy on life. The gist of the advice is: be proactive, positive, don't let circumstances get you down, and be the master of your own destiny. It does acknowledge the areas in which we are helpless, and stresses the importance of a positive attitude in spite of negative circumstances.

The author draws heavily on his own life experiences as an athlete, father, and educator to deliver his message, and gives a personal touch to the a
Short, sweet, and positive. Nothing I haven't heard before, but not bad advice either.
Really more of a common sense book than very inspirational. I thought it was meant to have more of a Christian/Biblical slant but it was very neutral. Good thoughts but nothing hugely mind blowing.
Good book to start the year with. I enjoyed it, but felt overwhelmed at times by all the quotes. I felt like I should be writing most of them down and sticking them to my fridge or mirror.
My Dad gave this book to every member of our family one Christmas and I have been so touched by so many of it's truths. One of my favorite bathroom books! :)
This is the 2nd book I've read by this author and I've really liked both books. Great things to think about and tweak in life.
Don Gubler
Don't we already all know this?
This is a good book.

I appreciate how the author makes it clear at the beginning that the book is not about "secrets" or gimmicks. The book is based on cultivating positive character traits. My favorite chapter of the book is "Life Is Hard...and Not Always Fair".

One part of the book which could have been better written is the passage in which he discusses his personal soul-searching on the issue of religion; that part is written in a clumsy manner in my opinion.

Allison Fetch
What a great little book! My sister gave it to me for Christmas a year or so ago and it's sat on my bookshelf til I finally decided I should give it a try. While it doesn't have any new, earth shattering information, the author presents common truths in such a way that they are inspirational and motivating. I've found my behavior changing a bit already as some of his writing sticks in my head. A great read for absolutely anyone. I wish he would write a children's version so that I could share it ...more
Nov 23, 2014 Jodie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jodie by: Cheryl
I really enjoyed this book. I always think that it's good to have a reminder to do all of the things that we know we should. I liked how Urban portrayed each item. He gave wonderful examples that were helpful. The only reason that I didn't give it 5 stars is because I felt 20 was too many.
La-la Charles
This book was extremely insightful; it provided an opportunity for new perspective to be gained on conventional ideas. The lessons that can be learnt from this are numerous and extremely important to all the copious facets of life. From this book there are several lessons that I have observed and learned. They range from the all important lessons to those that are less noted. The lessons that I have learnt are as follows; I've learned what successful people do in some of the most important areas ...more
This is a book that everyone should read. Of course some of it is common sense. There was so many little nuggets of valuable information. I keep going back and re-reading some of my favorite sections.
I had just finished this book and feel so sad that I have finished it! A short and easy read, it became my companion when I first wake up (4am). Need to find more!
Maria Centanni
Great life lessons, but they were all so obvious! Urban also used many superlatives, so I don't think I really know what was the BEST or MOST important... they were all the something-est!!!
Patrick Mahone
I have learned a lot from this book, this is actually the book that helped me become an avid reader.
Yosuke Hashimoto
- A fireside book
- 10/1= 60 minutes
- 7 word summary: mind, attitude, think, habit, training, difference
- Discussion Question:
1. Do you have any habit you want to change?
2. Do you think that you have an open mind to learn something new or try to understand it?
Yes, I have a habit to be change. I cannot get up early. If I could get up earlier, I could do more things than now. I tend to sleep too much. This is a habit I want to change... Yes, I think so. I always understand my ignorance and my possi
Christa Cordova
I love this book for it's simplicity, yet also for it's depth. The author's passion for "character" and everything that word entails shines through on every page and he includes practical advice for how to realize the 20 truths in life. I read this once immediately after graduating from college 8 years ago, but I feel that I have the maturity to appreciate it more now. Highly recommend to all 20/30-somethings, products of the 80s/90s "self-esteem" movement, who wonder if there's "something more" ...more
I had to read this book for a volunteer project working with middle school children, who were also requested to read the book. It was a very clear read, one that I wish I read earlier. It does not preach or placate - it is simply a series of experience that offer children (and adults) a choice on how to live. This was quick read that offered this older person some gentle reminders. In addition, if you have or are working with children, it offers some nice conversation about the various lessons.
I really enjoyed this book. I appreciate that it wasn't incredibly long or filled with pages and pages of elaboration on the same topic. It was the right length. I did find that some of the lessons Hal listed were lessons I already learned, but some were ones I am currently working toward, while others were ones I never fully considered before. The book was filled with a lot of quotes, but I found Hal's own words to be more inspiring overall. I think this is a good book for anyone to read.
I highly recommend this book. The 20 lessons that Mr. Urban outlines are highly relevant and important to everyone regardless of age. For young people it dispels many of the media and celebrity induced myths about success. For those in middle age it confirms much of what we have experienced and provides some ideas for meaningful reflection. I intend to review this book on a regular basis
Stacey Turknett
Great book to give young adults. Really enjoyed it's simple reminders.
I read this book in university as a required reading for one of my nursing courses. The professor had experienced much tragedy in her life, yet was such a strong , resilient and interesting woman. I'm not sure if it was just the right time in my life for me to read the book, but it really empowered me. I'm not one for self-help reads, but this was great. I've recommended it many times.
This is a must in every household for young and If I was to own only one self help book, it would be this. My fave chapter is 'Honesty is Still the Best Policy' and Hal Urban stresses this is the most important in his book. Love his quote "you'll never be truly successful unless everything you do is undergirded with honesty and integrity."
A great deal of the wisdom offered in this book is summarized in its table of contents. The book is organized ino twenty essays, each offering a lesson in its title and providing providing good thinking behind it in the essays. The book is simple to read and thought provoking. You can't ask more than that from nonfiction.
Emily Rakowsky
This is a great professional development/personal development book! I read it for my building communities course. It has some good reminders about how we can improve our lives, and how we should be teaching students to live their lives. It is a quick read, and could be one you read over and over again!
This book gives solid, good advice for life and how to use it to improve and be the person you want to be. A quick read, but much longer and difficult to implement in your life. I've got much to work on to improve. Enjoy this book!
Sep 24, 2008 Kelly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who is in search of life lessons
Shelves: most-influential
This book is one of the best books I have ever read. I revisit these life lessons at least once a year. The ideas are simple yet idealistic. If we all lived by these "rules," the world would be a better place.
Simple yet wonderful. Great way to put things back in perspective and a great summer read to rejuvenate yourself. It's nothing we don't already know but it's nice to be reminded.
This book is very inspiring and reminds you of so many of those "common sense" things that you already know, but just really makes you remember them on a deeper level.
Chandrasekar Muthukumar
It was such a nice book to read. The book was written well and has a good flow. It emphasizes the traits for being a good human and the ways to achieve it!!!
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Hal Urban holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in history, and a Doctorate in education from the University of San Francisco. He has also done post-graduate study in the psychology of peak performance at Stanford University.

For thirty-six years he was an award-winning teacher at San Carlos and Woodside High Schools and at his alma mater, the University of San Francisco.

Hal is the author of six b
More about Hal Urban...
Positive Words, Powerful Results: Simple Ways to Honor, Affirm, and Celebrate Life Choices That Change Lives: 15 Ways to Find More Purpose, Meaning, and Joy Lessons from the Classroom: 20 Things Good Teachers Do The 10 Commandments of Common Sense: Wisdom from the Scriptures for People of All Beliefs 20 Gifts of Life: Bringing Out The Best In Our Kids, Grandkids, And Others We Care About

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“I happen to believe that the overwhelming majority of people in the world are law-abiding, loving, and caring. They just don’t get any publicity for it.” 0 likes
“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is in the doing, not the getting—in the trying, not the triumph. WYNN DAVIS” 0 likes
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