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A Short Guide to a Happy Life

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  7,659 ratings  ·  744 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of Alternate Side, Anna Quindlen's classic reflection on a meaningful life makes a perfect gift for any occasion.

"Life is made of moments, small pieces of silver amidst long stretches of tedium. It would be wonderful if they came to us unsummoned, but particularly in lives as busy as the ones most of us lead now, that won't
...more
Hardcover, 64 pages
Expected publication: April 7th 2020 by Random House (first published October 31st 2000)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  7,659 ratings  ·  744 reviews


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Lisa
Feb 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't read or browse through self-help books much. You get to a certain age, however (42, in my case) and, if life deals you a bad hand (over and over...and over again), the questions grow and the answers become elusive or impossible to grasp.

Some on-line article or magazine mentioned this little book--talk about drifting through a day! I can't recall where I read about this. I got it from the library. Whoever wrote about it was right, it takes less than fifteen minutes to read. And while it's
...more
Zainab
Mar 08, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, If I hear/read 'Life is short' one more time, things will be whooped.
I mean the 'advises' in this book....goddamn...... "Kiss your mom, hug your dad" wtf?

description
Lucy
Aug 10, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010
Oh my, what a waste of 20 minutes. This book is full of cliche after cliche. Glass half empty type stuff. I learnt nothing except to avoid this author in the future. You are better off listening to Monty Python's 'Always Look On The Bright Side of Life'... more mentally stimulating than this 'guide'.
Greg
This world would be a much better place if people who read books like this would look beyond their initial "cliché" reaction, and actually think about why counsel like this becomes so common. Perhaps because it reflects a deeper truth to which we should pay attention? As Quindlen says "You are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life." That being true, then counsel such as hers (whether original or not) that helps us to see what will bring happiness and joy to ourselves and others ...more
alison cross
this book was first realized as a speech given at by Ms. Quindlen at my college commencement. in the past 10 years i have read and re-read these words that i still recall so fondly. the experiences in my life have allowed me to see the intelligence and honor in anna's words; the worth of success that is measured in no other terms than the family that surrounds me; and the nummber of times a day i can smile for no reason whatsoever. it is a constant source of strength and a reminder that ...more
ᴀᴍɪᴛ
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inspiring, psychology
1. Show up. Listen. Try to laugh.
2. You cannot be really good at your work if your work is all you are.
3. Get a life, a real life. Not a manic pursuit of the next promotion.
4. Turn off your cell phone. Keep still. Be present.
5. Get a life in which you are generous.
6. All of us want to do well, but if we do not do good too then doing well will never be enough.
7. Knowledge of our own mortality is the greatest gift God gives us. It is so easy to exist rather than to live Unless you know a clock is
...more
John of Canada
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: family, made-me-think
Nothing really new here,but that doesn't diminish its value.Simple messages are usually the best.Lots of nice pictures to go along with lots of lovely thoughts.
Liza Fireman
I love Anna Quindlen, and in this book she gives some advice for people who need a reminder of how to live a happy life. This week a read a few self help (full coincidence, but it was great), "get control of your life" books, don't take to hard the ups and downs etc. I loved In Conclusion, Don't Worry About It by Lauren Grahamand liked some of the advice Unf*ck yourself. Napraw się! by Gary John Bishop. Quindlen is different, she really does want to concentrate on non-work.

She talks of how easy
...more
Stephanie ((Strazzybooks))
I got this for free from The Book Thing www.bookthing.org (totally worth a road trip to Baltimore). It was a quick read, encouraging readers to appreciate the simple joys in life and remember what's important in the end.
Jen Brodehl
5 Stars- A super quick read with a big message. I loved this inspiring book that explains why its so important to live your best life. Thanks Amy for loaning it to me!!😘 ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Best lines in this book: "Life is made up of moments, small pieces of glittering mica in a long stretch of gray cement. It would be wonderful if they came to us unsummoned but particularly in lives as busy as the ones most of us lead now, that won't happen. We have to teach ourselves how to make room for them, to love them, and to live, really live."

I don't fully agree with it but it sounds fine. This book came out in 2000 when "work-life integration" wasn't yet coined. It debunked this
...more
Eunice Moral
Such an inspiring book! I'm happy to have read this during the darkest hours of my life! Thank you Anna Quindlen for this amazing book. I highly recommend it to someone who is missing out a lot on his life and to those who feel like the world is closing in on them.

Show Up. Listen. Try to Laugh.
Rebecca
Nothing terribly new if you are used to thinking purposefully about not taking life for granted, but a good reminder from a good writer, nonetheless.
Linda Lipko
While some may note this as trite and corney, I liked the simplicity of it all. The suggestion of turning off all phones and enjoying silence spoke to me. I've grown to dislike the sound of the phone, and the sound of people talking on their phones in public places. Somehow we are all running in place. I feel it when I enter the office building. As the elevator takes me up to the second floor, I feel a tad of tension, anticipating a busy day. Taking time to slow down is what I hope retirement ...more
Elaine Mullane
Life is made up of moments, small pieces of glittering mica in a long stretch of gray cement. It would be wonderful if they came to us unsummoned, but particularly in lives as busy as the ones most of us lead now, that wont happen. We have to teach ourselves how to make room for them, to love them, and to live, really live.

Anna Quindlen is one of my favourite writers. I love her fiction and, having read a number of her novels, sought out some of her non-fiction pieces. A Short Guide to a Happy
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Brette
Sep 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anna Quindlen is one of my favorite author's and she has kept her position with this story story. She won me over my Junior year of high school in AP Lit when we read How Reading Changed My Life and it was true, reading had changed my life.

In this book she takes the time out to explain how we; the earth, as a whole forget how to live in the moment. We're always striving for the next best thing, or something else that will make us more happy than what we already have, when in reality we could
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Roxanna
May 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Short and sweet. If you are familiar with Anna Quindlen's work, she doesn't disappoint here. Her voice comes through clearly and consistently. Her perspective is non-judgmental and approachable. She punctuates herself so simply, I am always left surprised such an order of words could initiate a deep internal conversation for me. "It's so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit."

She doesn't spend the time talking about those who are happy vs. those who aren't and why- which is what
...more
Lorraine
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inspirational
Uplifting, inspirational....a vitamin B12 shot for spirit!
John Turner
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This little book, only 50 pages long, deserves a place on your permanent keepsake bookshelf, along side of such self-help gems as William Bennetts The Virtues, Dale Carnegies How to Win Friends, Russell Conwells Acres of Diamonds, Og Mandinos The Greatest Salesman in the World, Dr. Norman Vincent Peales The Power of Positive Thinking and The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale.

Goodreads member John of Canada said, Nothing really hew here but that doesnt diminish its value. Simple messages are
...more
Beth
Oct 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So if you have time to read this book review, Id venture that you also have time to read this book. ;-) I read the whole thing while putting the kids down for a nap. No, not while they were napping while they were getting ready to nap. (Granted, it does take forever to convince Logan to try to nap. Hes kind of growing out of them.)

This book is titled A Short Guide to a Happy Life, and Quindlens not kidding about the short part: fifty pages, all double-spaced with huge margins, many of those
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Sarah
Apr 06, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
http://smallworldreads.blogspot.com/2...

Anna Quindlen's little book is, indeed, short. I read it in about 15 minutes. It's a sweet book that probably started as a blog post and morphed into a tiny, happy book with photos. This is good, practical advice to find treasures in every day life. Like this:

I think of [my life:] in all its small component parts: the snowdrops, the daffodils; the feeling of one of my kids sitting close beside me on the couch; the way my husband looks when he reads with
...more
Lori Rosendahl
Mar 13, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really think this short book is a big waste of money. I received it this weekend as a birthday gift. I read it in one short setting as it is only about 45 pages long, mostly pictures. I did not think there was anything of value here. I guess the message is "be grateful for what you have"? She should feel grateful that anyone would throw down $13 or more for this. Please don't waste your money. There is little to no content here.
Jackie Law
"All of us want to do well. But if we do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough."
Keep Still... Kiss your Mom. Hug your Dad p. 20-23

Life is glorious p. 23

http://lunawings.blogspot.com/2014/09...

2 blog posts actually, but the second one is not finished yet :)

"Think of life as a terminal illness, because, if you do, you will live it with joy and passion, as it ought to be lived." p. 45
Sharon
Aug 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Her perception of life changed dramatically when her mother died. She talks about life before and life after. My life changed when I was diagnosed with cancer and my perception has never been the same. Her words are positive and hopeful. Wise words to live by. A great way to spend 15 minutes of your life!
Heather
Sep 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
This was an extremely quick read, but so many quotes in it that I really love. I will probably definitely read the whole thing again (seriously <30 minutes) and write down some thoughts.
Poiema
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: happiness-habits
A few times each year, my husband makes a 3 hour drive to Kansas City for the express purpose of unearthing book treasures at the quirky Steel's Bookstore. It's semi-organized, but includes enough messy stacks to create the feeling you are excavating for a valuable prize. After about an hour, I have had enough, while my husband is just getting started. This time, I settled into an Adirondack chair outside the front door and picked up the first book that lay within reach. It was this little ...more
Lori
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: musings
This is a very short little book full of wisdom and vintage black and white photographs . Much of what was said has been said many times elsewhere yet ..this is a very nice way to review pretty good advice. Life is short.life is precious.life can change in an instant.live your life now!
Terri Bishop
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book so much that I gave it out as the gift at our wedding reception. I reread it recently and while I still really like it, it hasn't held up as well as some books. It seems a bit overly sentimental in places to me now. Still a very worthwhile read and lovely sentiments.
Kathy McC
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I listen. I laugh. I show up."
"All of us want to do well. But if we do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough."
"It is so easy to exist instead of live."
Lola
It is an unspoken rule of mine that self-help books are to be avoided at all costs. It just seems to me that there are just some things that cannot be helped with a book, and people presuming they can change or improve my life in 300 hundred pages or less is a bit disconcerting. Of course, that is just my opinion, and anyone is welcome to disagree with me. That being said, I gave A Short Guide to a Happy Life a chance, though not my usual choice of book, because it was very kindly gifted to me ...more
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Love for this short but meaningful read! 2 9 Feb 05, 2017 10:22AM  

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Anna Quindlen is a novelist and journalist whose work has appeared on fiction, nonfiction, and self-help bestseller lists. She is the author of eight novels: Object Lessons, One True Thing, Black and Blue, Blessings, Rise and Shine, Every Last One, Still Life with Bread Crumbs, and Millers Valley. Her memoir Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, published in 2012, was a number one New York Times ...more

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