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Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Live as TV's Most Influential Guru Advises

3.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,030 ratings  ·  253 reviews
What happens when a thirty-five-year-old average American woman spends one year following every piece of Oprah Winfrey's advice on how to "live your best life"? Robyn Okrant devoted 2008 to adhering to all of Oprah's suggestions and guidance delivered via her television show, her Web site, and her magazine. LIVING OPRAH is a month-by-month account of that year.
Some of the
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 4th 2010 by Center Street (first published January 4th 2008)
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Average rating 3.12  · 
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Heidi The Reader
Nov 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, bloggers
Living Oprah is Robyn Okrant's account of how she spent one year conscientiously following the advice Oprah dishes out to millions of women across America.

If Oprah said to read a book or watch a film, Robyn did it. If she advised de-cluttering, new make-up tips or relationship work, Robyn was on-board.

For the most part, I enjoyed this quirky book, but I also found it to be slightly repetitive- similar to what Robyn found following Oprah to be after a few months.

She starts out with high hopes: "C
Feb 13, 2010 rated it did not like it
Okay here goes a really harsh review...

I did not understand the purpose of this one-year experiment. After finishing the book, I did not gain any insights into anything. At least Oprah wants viewers to have a better life etc. What was this book for us readers? What am I to get out of this reading experience?

The author just went through all the advice from Oprah without giving much thought to the purpose of each advice. She would kiss her husband for ten seconds because she was told to. Without e
Jan 12, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2010
I really wanted to like this book, but it just seemed forced and unexciting to me. She seemed to complain through the whole book, as if she forgot that it was her idea in the first place to come up with a gimmick that lead to a book deal....poor thing. This book just wasn't for me. ...more
High Plains Library District
What if you decided to abdicate any responsibility for the choices in your life, for a year, and hand that control over to an influential celebrity? That’s what Okrant did and she blogged her way through the year, taking on any directive that Oprah gave, whether it be through the Oprah Winfrey Show; O, the Oprah Magazine; or

From the get-go, she was conflicted. While acknowledging that we should “question the sources of influence and persuasion in our lives”, Okrant proceeds to do exac
Marjorie Elwood
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir
What if you decided to abdicate any responsibility for the choices in your life, for a year, and hand that control over to an influential celebrity? That’s what Okrant did and she blogged her way through the year, taking on any directive that Oprah gave, whether it be through the Oprah Winfrey Show; O, the Oprah Magazine; or

From the get-go, she was conflicted. While acknowledging that we should “question the sources of influence and persuasion in our lives”, Okrant proceeds to do exac
Apr 25, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.
Backlog/Isoread 2020 - I am very late to reading this. I remember my mum mentioned she heard about this book and when I saw it I grabbed it, thinking it sounded fun. It’s now about 10 years old and has been on my shelf that entire time.

I love a self help book, or a wellness article, or something to validate my constant feeling of overwhelm in a life where women tend to be expected to strive for excellence in so many facets of life. This book does a great job at subtlety highlighting th
Jan 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book was kind of a disappointment in a few ways. I was completely truned off by the auhor's writing style: it reads like a reality TV show-version of someone's diary; i reads like she's listing her daily activities month-to-month watching from a distance rather than actually experiencing them herself. Werid. I expected that the author would have learned SOMETHING, provide the reader with some insight that she developed in doing this project, but she doesn't allow herself to go there and it' ...more
Wendy Jackson
Another 'year of' book: this one about a woman who diligently follows Oprah Winfrey's advice (from her show, magazine, and website) for an entire year. Spoiler alert: while there were some benefits (getting more physically fit and eating better), it does end up wrecking her head and affecting her marriage. Overall, a cautionary tale about not losing yourself by living someone else's idea of your 'best life'. ...more
Aug 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
I bought this book for $1 at the Dollar Tree. Score!

I don't remember hearing about Robyn Okrant's life experiment in 2008 when she was actually living Oprah. In fact, I don't recall having ever heard about Okrant's experiment or the book she wrote about it. So I came to this memoir with no preconceived notions. (That happens so seldom, but I love it when it does.)

So for any other latecomers to this book, the premise is that for an entire calendar year, whenever Oprah said her audience needed to
I was excited to read this book. BUT, to enjoy this book you have to get over the ridiculous premise: the fact that she acts as though Oprah really wants everyone to do and buy every single thing she says. I realize Oprah has a lot of power but it's not like it's a cult. Anyone with a half a brain could realize that any woman's magazine or show has the same message of, "Buy this! Do this to make your marriage better!" Oprah is the giant of them all, but they all do it. Everyone SHOULD know at th ...more
Rachel Kramer Bussel
Jan 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't necessarily expecting to like Living Oprah as much as I did. I hadn't followed the blow and picked up the book because I'd heard about it and it sounded intriguing. Okrant sets out to follow every rule that Oprah specifically says is a "must," and charts exactly how much time and money she spends each month on everything from exercising, reading O magazine, buying new items for her home, seeing movies and reading. Simply seeing the sheer number of things Oprah wants her viewers to try i ...more
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ho-hum
A few weeks ago a friend mailed a copy of Living Oprah to me. One day I must ask her why she thought I needed to read it.

It took a while for me to get around to reading it. The whole premise of the book actually put me off.

Why oh why would anyone want to live by every piece of advice issued on the Oprah show for a year?

I have to admit to skipping over the monthly accounting most of the time. I just got bored with those pages.

Socially it is possibly a good experiment – not one I would EVER like t
Feb 21, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
I felt a little disappointed with Living Oprah. Primarily because I was in the mood to read a really funny book and I thought this looked like it would be good for some laughs. Although, I'm not quite sure where that idea came from. Just as assumption I guess. I picured myself belly laughing at how hysterical it would be for someone to try to follow EVERY single piece of advice that Oprah dished out for an entire year. Granted I got a couple of giggles out of the book....just no belly laughs.

Jun 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
When Robyn Okrant decides to "Live Oprah--" follow everything the queen of the talk show circuit dictates for one year -- she's not sure how her life will change. The book follows her through a full 12 months of living Oprah -- following her advice, eating her recommended recipes, buying what she says we all "must have," and even attempting to feel as Oprah dictates we should feel.

Okrant's discovery is that the more she steps away from her own thoughts and feelings about what her "best life" rea
The Book Maven
Living in Chicago, Robyn Okrant is accustomed to hearing a lot about the city’s biggest celebrity, Oprah Winfrey. Many love her, many hate her, she notices. Why? And how has she retained such influence over working and middle classes, especially as she has experienced such a massive amount of material success? And another thing—Oprah Winfrey is always advocating behaviors and knowledge that will help us “live our best lives”. What does this Best Life look like, and will it truly be our Best Life ...more
J.H. Moncrieff
Jun 26, 2015 rated it liked it
I'd give this 3.5 stars if it were possible.

While I loved the concept and found it fascinating, I didn't like the voice and the repetition as much. It was still an interesting look at an extreme project--the author followed all advice on Oprah's show, website, and magazine for an entire year.

At times I found it a bit ridiculous for her to go into debt by buying everything Oprah recommends, including a fire pit that had to be stashed on her porch since she had no room for it. But I get that was t
Dec 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who hate knowing what words mean
Recommended to Holly by: CBC Radio, ugh
Shelves: non-fiction, feminism
So I heard an interview with Robyn Okrant on CBC Radio and later saw this at Chapters for 2$ and got it. And then a while later I read it because the shape of the book is pretty unappealing.

Anyways, it was pretty meh. I was hoping for something more like The Year of Living Biblically, which I loved, but there wasn't much depth to this experiment. She details doing all the things Oprah tells her seemingly at random, but she only occasionally gives some thought to why she's doing the things. Most
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Living Oprah is the story of a woman who follows all the advice Oprah gives via her show or magazine in 2008. I have never been a rabid Oprah fan, but I would catch her show sometimes that year before class because I was going to law school at night, so I actually remembered some of these episodes (like the one on home cleanliness where Oprah says she has her sheets changed every other day). Although this book had the opportunity to explore how contradictory and useless daytime television advice ...more
Jen Shank
Jan 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
I had a love/hate relationship with this book. I feel as though this "task" of "Living Oprah" could have been far better executed by someone else, namely me. :) I loved the idea behind the book but felt it was annihilated (maybe too strong of a word) by the author. She grumbled and moaned her way through the project. Seriously very annoying to the reader. I kept wanting to shout "Did you not sign up for this project?" And her ultimate conclusion after having finished the project was so very pred ...more
Judi Mckay
Nov 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have always wondered about the power which Oprah wields and this book tapped in to all my questions - although I am not sure I know the answer and i found myself questioning the author's motives for tackling the project in the first place, although she assures her readers it was an experiment, not originally to sell a book.
This book would be a great choice for a reading group as it raised a lot of issues. I found myself talking about it to anyone who would listen, and I think my husband got a
Jul 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Interesting and a little crazy. It just reaffirms what I think about people like Oprah, Martha Stewart, Fly Lady! They offer so much info, ideas, everything because they are reaching out to EVERYBody. We can't take it all as gospel. But we can just discover nuggets that peak our interest or inspire us and try those out. My viewpoint on this also helps me not feel overwhelmed that I am not keeping up with ALL the "ideas" out there. That would just be too hard. Hence, why Pinterest scares me a bit ...more
Jan 23, 2010 rated it did not like it
If you know me, you know I'm an Oprah fan. This book about a woman who spent one year following Oprah's "live your best life" advice sounded like a fun read. Instead, I spent about 15 minutes skimming it and had enough. A book like this needs to be funny and introspective. I didn't get either. What stood out was a tedious accounting of hours spent doing x, y, and z. Admittedly, I didn't give it much of a chance. ...more
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
For anyone interested in "all things Oprah," this is a book for you. I loved the fact that this author was not a huge Oprah fan at the start of her project, but after watching the show for one year straight and following all of Oprah's advice she began to see Oprah in a different light. I appreciated the Oprah references and stories, as I am familiar with most all of her shows and topics. A quick, fun read! ...more
Laila (BigReadingLife)
Entertaining, fun, fast-paced read. I'd like to have coffee with Robyn - probably more than I'd like to have coffee with Oprah herself! ...more
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, reviewed, 2021
Mm. Read because I was in the mood for The Great Fitness Experiment, but it's not available as an ebook, so...this seemed like a viable alternative. Unfortunately, my scepticism gauge went off the charts when Okrant recounted an anecdote about hearing that Oprah liked to have her sheets changed every other day, and I never quite shook the feeling that this project—and this Oprah-approved life—was not for me.

It's like this: Okrant decided to follow Oprah's every whim for a year: anything that Opr
Sahar Sabati
Oct 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
I’m an Oprah kid. Kind of. I didn’t understand much – if any – of her show when it first started its dizzying ascension in the late 80s, early 90s, but I watched most of them. Actually, no; I watched my family watch the show and then have heated debates about whatever the lady with the sometimes alarmingly big hair had to say. It fascinated me how she was able to engender such heated discussion in my very own, usually much quieter living room. And so, as I grew older and my powers of understandi ...more
Chloe (Always Booked)
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. As an Oprah fan, I really enjoyed this book and thought it was entertaining. The author decides to spend a year doing everything Oprah says to do- whether that means buying, reading, thinking, cooking, doing, etc. she does it. I thought it was really interesting to watch her progression. At first she has really high hopes and is excited to watch Oprah every day, but as the year goes on it takes over her life and following someone else’s every command is exhausting. She also touches on ...more
Dec 24, 2019 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this more than I did. I thought it who’d be along the lines of other year-long experiments like AJ Jacobs’ books. Those are always entertaining. This one I found plodding and had to keep myself from just giving up on it. I felt badly for her husband and wondered why in the world he tolerated that, especially given their limited finances. So much wasted money and time! It was an interesting concept but seemed to be done almost robotically. The one thing I cane away from the book ...more
Feb 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I could not put this book down. It may be that it was entirely different from the usual books that I read or it may be that it tackled the whole concept of the self help gurus, of which Oprah is the “Queen”.
The author is not malicious nor a super fan, but simply one who wanted to explore this herself. While she shares her surreal experience of doing everything that Oprah told her audience that they “must” do, you can see her struggle to maintain her own individuality which threatened to slip awa
Tammie Ortlieb
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
The author drew me in to her odd experiment. Was interesting to read given the "must do this" culture in which we live. Found myself wondering if leopard print flats are out of fashion now or if I should run out and get some. ...more
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Play Book Tag: Living Oprah / Robyn Okrant 3 15 Jan 27, 2017 03:54PM  

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