Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Jane Austen Guide to Life: Thoughtful Lessons for the Modern Woman” as Want to Read:
The Jane Austen Guide to Life: Thoughtful Lessons for the Modern Woman
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Jane Austen Guide to Life: Thoughtful Lessons for the Modern Woman

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  126 ratings  ·  34 reviews
The Jane Austen Guide to Life playfully and poignantly examines Austen's life and novels for the timeless advice that still applies for today's women. Austen may not understand texting or tweeting or platform heels, but as an astute student of human nature, she can surely teach us an awful lot about ourselves--and we might just be surprised by what she has to say.
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by skirt!
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Jane Austen Guide to Life, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Jane Austen Guide to Life

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  126 ratings  ·  34 reviews

Sort order
Jane Austen's Guide to Life is a short collection of advise based on Jane Austen's books and personal letters. This was a light, easy read although it was not as good as I was hoping. It is the sort of thing I would have eaten up at age fifteen or sixteen, but now it felt somewhat feeble. The advise was good but generic.

As an Austen fan myself, I understand how growing up on those books leads one to feel a degree of ownership over the characters and Austen herself. You feel like you know her and
Charles Stephen
Jul 20, 2012 rated it liked it
I could criticize this author for ignoring half her potential audience with the subtitle and cover art, but I will leave those comments for a feminist to make. All her chapters addressed contemporary concerns of mine; even the exception--"Becoming a Woman of Substance"--was easily adaptable to my own situation. Further, the author made it clear that Austen's discovery and popularity were fueled by men as well as women: her six brothers, the Prince Regent, and even the Sir Walter Scott, the most ...more
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If you could be swept back in time two hundred years ago to have a cup of tea with Jane Austen, what would you ask her? Any question. No bars held. If I had the courage, I might ask her how did she become so wise in the ways of human nature and love? Or, did she intend to craft stories to entertain, or to enlighten?

Since time-travel has yet to be invented, we can only surmise how Austen would have replied. Yet, for centuries she has been speaking to readers in an intimate way without many of us
Katie Kenig
May 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I thought I would really, really love this book, because I really, really love Jane Austen's books. But I think it's precisely that I am so familiar with her books that I didn't really, really love this book.


Okay, let me explain.

I have read her books. Some multiple times. I have seen the plays made from the books. I have seen the movies made from the books (again, some multiple times). I'm familiar with her books, her style of writing, the plot points, etc. I thought that this book would hav
Meredith (Austenesque Reviews)
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jane-austen

I was intrigued by the combination of a biography and self-help guide
Even though I've read The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After (Elizabeth Kantor), The Jane Austen Handbook (Margaret C. Sullivan), and What Jane Austen Taught Me About Love and Romance (Debra White Smith), I can never get enough of Jane Austen's wise and valuable counsel!
Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose and Vic Sanborn of Jane Austen's World both appear o
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I quite liked it! I don't usually enjoy "self-help" books or books that try to give you advice on how to make your life better/easier/happier/more-Pinterest-worthy. But this book has no floofy advice about cleansing your inner cupboards or letting go of your fixations or whatever. This book, like Jane Austen herself, is very sensible, helpful, witty, and fun.

The book is broken up into chapters that each deal with a subject, such as "living your dreams" and "finding a good man" and "saving and s
Jun 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
Though I am myself a huge Austen junkie, I personally didn't enjoy reading this. I found it rather dry and a chore to get through, while Austen's novels themselves take very little time to finish. Rather than mention specific examples, the writer seems to waste pages on rehashing Austen's works. I know what happens in her works; I've read them! Simple quotes and examples to connect to the lessons would have been sufficient. It was a struggle to get through, and I would avoid reading it again.
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is definitely a book for Janeites! I *heart* the many lessons and morals presented in this book. Taking a theme approach, chapters make reference to not only her books but also her personal letters and draw thoughts on 'what would Jane do?' and I think the author did quite a good job. Testament to the enduring qualities of Austen's writing, this book has much to offer the reader of today.
Feb 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars, read-in-2012
Loved it. A must-read for any Janeite! Lori Smith's writing is beautiful and the ideas, quotes, and lessons from Jane Austen lift off the page, linger in the reader's mind to ponder and to capture into the every day; a sweet look at bringing Jane Austen's life and books into the situations of the modern girl's world. A book to savor and re-read through the years.
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
Easy, light non-fiction read. A bad tendency to be a bit repetitive though.
May 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A definite read for Austen fans. That's me!
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Although this book would probably appeal mostly to Jane Austen fans, it does deliver some good life lessons, taken from Austen's life and writings, with applications in today's world. Suffering from chronic lupus disease, the author may have had a special outlook on Austen's life. Thorough research (citations for letters as well as the novels) shows how deeply Lori Smith immersed herself in all things Austen.
Grace Bigus
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really appreciated the good advice that came from Austen's life and her novels. I got to know and love her better, I got to know and love her books better, and the advice really made me think about how I live my life. I aspire one day to be like Jane.
Jun 11, 2018 added it
Not bad, A good visitation to the Austen books. But obviously, as it is situated after the "Lord of the Rings trilogy" In the scheme of my reading , it did suffer by comparison. Shining through most are the words by Austen, as of course they would. Even Tolkien admired them.
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Lots of lessons here, and information not only on the books Austen wrote but on her own life.

At first I began to think this book was only about finding 'the right one'. Lessons like 'Finding the Right Man', 'Recovering from a Broken Heart', 'Marrying Well', 'Thinking About Love', etc., all took up the first half of the book (and being already married I was getting a bit weary of reading them!) However there were also worthwhile lessons like, "Cherishing Family and Friends," "Saving and Spending
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was first introduced to Jane Austen when I was in college. I signed up for a semester class thinking that it would be something fun and would fulfill needed credits. I didn't know how very much I would fall in love with her writing, wit, and the time period in which she lived.
Since then, I devour as many books as I can get my hands on that give insight into Jane's life, works, or the Regency period.

I read Lori's book A Walk with Jane Austen several years ago. It was like being on a journey w
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing

"In our era we are eminently comfortable with questioning, but we do so with an aim that is the opposite of Austen's. We tend to question standards with a view to relaxing them"

"If Austen equated goodness with happiness, we may be tempted to turn that equation on its head, to make happiness the supreme good and to justify anything in the name of getting there. For Austen, that would represent a great moral poverty."

"[Austen] doesn't aim for her characters to set about changing the world or refor
Jeanette Thomason
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Every bit as irresistible as Jane or one of her novels, this book charms, delights, stirs, and works its way into your heart and head. Lori Smith gets Jane, a woman of substance, and gives her to us simply and beautifully. You see Jane at the piano and enjoying her tea as she secretly writes, going for long walks, and amusing her friends with clever repartee. And you see yourself in these pages too. The chapters are illuminating on how to live: learning how to love completely, work through heart ...more
Catherine Larson
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Did you ever wish you could sit down with Jane Austen and share a cup of tea? I'm sure if you're like me, you'd have a million questions you'd want to ask her. Who was your inspiration for Mr. Darcy? Do you have any good love advice? What do you think of the modern-day internet dating phenomenon? Well, if you've ever wished to share your Lady Grey with lady Jane, this is your opportunity. Lori Smith's, "The Jane Austen Guide to Life," is everything Austen is: captivating, winsome, insightful, wi ...more
Dec 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: written-review
An enthusiastic, well-researched, and invested biography. The format of this book is very unique and really amazingly organized in way that you don't realize that you are essentially reading a biography. I thoroughly enjoyed the book in both its advice, filled with wisdom, and its excerpts from Jane Austen's amazing literary works. Jane Austen is the epitome of good habits, great wit, and the best values. As a Jane Austen fanatic, this novel is very enjoyable and was a much appreciated look into ...more
Amelia Elizabeth
May 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: austen-in-august
As with any interpretation of an author's work, Lori Smith uses what we know about Jane from her letters and those of her family to advise us on how Jane might advise us to live our lives. She uses examples from the books and it makes a nice little, light advice book.

I have had one little problem with the book and it's kind of had me question some other information in the book. Lori Smith writes "Compared to Austen, we are a generation of hopeless romantics, just waiting to catch sight of the ri
May 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
Not for Janeites! The first half of the book was mainly reciting to me the different characters of Austen's novels. Yes, I've read the novels; I know the characters and their flaws. Why do I need you to 'categorize' and state it back to me? The latter half of the book adds slightly more value, in that it is focused on Jane Austen's personal life, pulling examples from family letters to demonstrate her character - humorous and witty. (Although there were instances without examples or supporting e ...more
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Amy by: Lori Smith
Shelves: classics
What a delightful read! If you are a Jane Austen fan, this is a must-read for your collection! The author explored not only Austen's works, but also her life, for this well-documented work. I was amazed at the author's complete knowledge of all things Jane Austen and how she formulated practical how-to's from her comprehensive writings and entire lifespan. Witty comments, thought-provoking lessons and morsels of truth are generously sprinkled throughout each chapter.
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lori Smith takes Jane Austen's books and letters and finds patterns within them. Smith then devises the patterns into sections (chapters) and then subcategories. Smith does her research into Austen's work, but a lot of the book is based on assumption and personal opinion. I thought the book was laid out well and cleverly written. I would tend to agree with most of what Smith assumes Austen might have meant with her works and letters.
Sep 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Enjoying Lori's insights shared from the various writings of Jane Austen and benefits of seeing our contemporary life situations from her varied characters' perceptions of life and relationships.. definitely a rich benefit having these life lessons learned before mistakes and misunderstandings become our life experience ~
Angie Workman
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book for any Jane Austen fan. While she didn't have the most perfect life, Jane always tried to see the good in every situation. She adored her family and close friends and would do anything for them. We could definitely learn a lot from her. I also think I was born 200 hundred years too late. Life just seems so much simpler then.
Jan 28, 2013 rated it did not like it
I really don't like giving a bad review, I mean the author worked hard and all. But I skipped a lot of this book. The actual advice was just fine, but the way it was presented was tedious. It also seemed a bit sexist to me.
May 03, 2012 rated it liked it
The author basically took samples off of the novels written by Jane Austen to elaborate the life lessons and moral values she wanted to point out to readers. A simple and practical read for everyone who loves Jane Austen's works, what it teaches us and an insight into her life as well.
Jan 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
The author doesn't pick up on any nuances or hidden lessons- she just rehashes the plot of the books, which I've already read. This seems to be written for someone unacquainted with Jane Austen's works, which is funny, because who other than an established Austenite read this book?
Carrie Jensen
Feb 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting enough. I got some good insights and realized even more, this day and age are messed up.
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After
  • Behind Jane Austen's Door
  • Bitch In a Bonnet: Reclaiming Jane Austen From the Stiffs, the Snobs, the Simps and the Saps, Volume 1
  • In the Garden with Jane Austen
  • The List Lover's Guide to Jane Austen
  • Jane Austen: An Illustrated Treasury
  • Miss Jane Austen's Guide to Modern Life's Dilemmas: Answers to Your Most Burning Questions About Life, Love, Happiness (and What to Wear) from the Great Novelist Herself
  • The Friendly Jane Austen: A Well-Mannered Introduction to a Lady of Sense and Sensibility
  • The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen
  • The Three Colonels: Jane Austen's Fighting Men (Jane Austen's Fighting Men, #1)
  • Jane Austen's Guide to Good Manners: Compliments, Charades  Horrible Blunders
  • 101 Things You Didn't Know About Jane Austen: The Truth about the World's Most Intriguing Romantic Literary Heroine
  • Why Jane Austen?
  • So You Think You Know Jane Austen?
  • Anne Elliot, A New Beginning
  • Jane Austen For Dummies
  • A Portrait Of Jane Austen
  • A Dance with Jane Austen: How a Novelist and Her Characters Went to the Ball
Lori Smith is the author of The Jane Austen Guide to Life, A Walk with Jane Austen, and The Single Truth. She is an adorer of Jane Austen and a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. She feels connections to Austen on many levels—as a writer, a single woman, an Anglican, and as someone struggling with a mysterious chronic illness. She spent a month in England tracing Austen’s life bef ...more
“If money were no object, if money didn’t exist, what would you do?” 0 likes
More quotes…