I enjoyed this collection of short essays about various people’s core beliefs. Some make you laugh, but none make you cry. They are what you may expecI enjoyed this collection of short essays about various people’s core beliefs. Some make you laugh, but none make you cry. They are what you may expect, and some are quite surprising. It starts after an explanation, then an introduction by Studs Terkel, with a Community College English teacher, Sarah Adams, and her belief in "Be Cool to the Pizza Delivery Dude."
Quite a variety of people provide their short essay on "What I Believe" Some very famous: Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Albert Einstein, Jackie Robinson and Bill Gates. To the average every day person, professors and lawyers and everyone in between. It's a fascinating collection that makes you think about your own personal truths. The book ends, after a history of how the project started in 1951 on CBS radio, with how to write your own essay. After listening to these essays it does make you ponder at what is at your core? What is your belief? Perhaps a short 350-500 words or so is too short to encompass the entirety, but it can cut to the quick of the most important of how you live your own life.
Very enjoyable, highly recommended. Listening to audio is particularly nice since the authors all read their own essays, with a few minor exceptions - such as Albert Einstein's audio recording has been lost. There were many from the early years as well as more modern essays.
If you do feel so inclined, the website still takes submissions and you can read any and all that were submitted over the years at thisibelive.org. ...more
Even though I read widely, this book is outside of the type of book I normally read. It's good to read something different, expand reading horizons, nEven though I read widely, this book is outside of the type of book I normally read. It's good to read something different, expand reading horizons, never know what may pop up. It ended up with a pile of books from last year's library conference haul. Still, I was going to skip this one, because I thought I knew what it would be about. I was right. The book is highly predictable. There was never any true conflict even though the story was all about a decision. That decision was never doubted by this reader. There were a few good parts in the story, like Sarah's father that passed away recently. He was portrayed quite saintly and his one "mistake" was not one that would tarnish that image. So that was also unrealistic, but added a little depth to the overall story.
Overall it reminded me of a Hallmark Channel movie. (this actually was made into a movie.) Not great, barely watchable, but somehow you end up watching the whole thing even though you keep saying next break I'm going to turn it off.
This was a good book, learned quite a lot actually. But it wasn't great. It felt like the editor got her friends, or at least people she knew to writeThis was a good book, learned quite a lot actually. But it wasn't great. It felt like the editor got her friends, or at least people she knew to write the essays. There was quite a lot of similarity between some of the stories. Yes, much diversity too, but easily could make a few groups out of the stories. The places where the writers grew up could be placed in just a few different areas, such as the Bay Area. We all know that unfortunately, poor are everywhere. So that may account for some of the sameness feeling I got.
There was also a lot of anger, really felt like it was toward whomever was reading the book. Which I feel is displaced. There is a lot of heartrending stories, injustices, deep tragedy as one might expect. But there is also hope, courage, determination and always strength. I knew classism was abundant, but these stories tell you how far it goes. Even when one makes it out, it is still very evident. One author really dislikes Barbara Ehrenreich, since she is writing from another class. But isn't more good being done because of Ehrenreich's books, despite her temporarily "slumming" it? Her books brought attention to poverty in a different way than how it was typically talked about. Certainly Ehrenreich had a net and didn't truly experience what it's like, the depth of always not having enough. (Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America is one of my next reads...)
Despite the negatives I'm glad I read the book. As several other goodreads reviewers also said, there should be more anthologies like this one.