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What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  6,966 ratings  ·  816 reviews

Major life transitions such as leaving the protected environment of school or starting a new career can be daunting. It is scary to face a wall of choices, knowing that no one is going to tell us whether or not we are making the right decision. There is no clearly delineated path or recipe for success. Even figuring out how and where to start can be a challenge. That is, u

Kindle Edition, 208 pages
Published (first published April 14th 2009)
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Friscomama That would be a yes, and a no. I don't aspire to entrepreneurship, but I am finding it a helpful read, and will be recommending it to others. Knowing …moreThat would be a yes, and a no. I don't aspire to entrepreneurship, but I am finding it a helpful read, and will be recommending it to others. Knowing productive ways to look at failure, for example, is something that I certainly wish I knew when I was twenty.(less)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  6,966 ratings  ·  816 reviews

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Rosie Nguyễn
Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is not only for twentysomething. It's for who is having questions about their life path, their work, relationships and other things. Containing the basic life lessons that we may forget in our vicious and routine days, reminding us to be excellent, to do our best in life and get what we want. The author's voice is humble and open, with her stories shared in the book just like a talk between friends.
Shankar Ganesh
Tina quotes many examples of entrepreneurs and tells us how they manufactured their own luck by working hard. The very first lesson that you'll learn from this book is that you needn't have huge money to start an enterprise - just a cool idea and you can start working on your own. She tells us you can create wealth from almost nothing.

The book becomes quite less interesting towards the middle, because she keeps on describing one successful person after another but you can still read it.

It would
Brad Feld
Dec 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Solid advice for anyone in college

The title matches the book nicely. if you are 18 - early 20s and interested in a solid dose of Silicon Valley life philosophy then this book is perfect for you. some of the stories are well known and others are very valley centric, but Tina Seelig does a good job of weaving her own personal experience, stories, and friendships into a good philosophy of life book aimed at someone just discovering themselves as an adult.
Daniel Clausen
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-of-2018
A surprisingly, surprisingly good read with many practical useable ideas and great stories.

It's also, happily, the kind of book that can be read easily on the bus to work. What more could you ask from a book?

Well, it inspired me to write this little essay entitled, "What I Wish I Knew When I was 36".

Thank you, Ms. Seeling. And many happy journeys.
Chihaya Furu
Dec 31, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
This book is a huge disappointment and a waste of time.
The author expounds on common sense and draws simplistic conclusions about life.
The narrative is disorganized, jumping from groundless personal conclusions to random examples drawn from impersonal experiences, each chapter includes multiple different aspects of life and superficial advises that do not tie together under a unifying theme.
The title of the book is strikingly misleading, as the content does not relate to what she "personally"
Dave Emmett
Apr 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, advice, vpl
I expected this book to be more “list-ey” but fortunately it wasn’t. Instead there’s a bunch of short chapters with specific lessons that encourage entrepreneurship (in the broad sense, not the start your own business sense). Essentially, it all boils down to that point; give yourself permission to be good at whatever it is you’re doing, to do better than you are asked to do, and to help others more than you expect help in return.

Overall, it was good; Tina uses a lot of examples from people she
Oct 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Tina Seelig is a dynamic presenter and an inspiring teacher of innovation and entrepreneurship who believes that all learning should be experiential. This little dynamo of a book will get your creative juices flowing if you are 14 or 74! I walked around the house reading bits to my family. It is the next best thing to sitting in on one of Dr. Seelig's Stanford classes. It will leave you can I get in on one of her classes! A wonderful Christmas present for many on your list and a fu ...more
Cindy Pham
Although the class experiments and anecdotes are interesting, the advice given is very generic and surface-level with no big takeaways. Seelig continuously promotes the idea that you make your own luck and that you are completely responsible for your circumstances and accomplishments--this seems overly idealistic and naive to say without considering socioeconomic factors and nuances. Her anecdotes of inspirational Asian-Americans pushes the false idealization of model minorities and the American ...more
Esraa Abdullzaher
One of the best books I ever read in my life
Inspirational and motivational I liked every story and took many quotes . Life is all about experiencing and learning.
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tina Seelig's inspiring and insightful book resonates with many of my thoughts and worries at the moment. Being 20 years old, also dealing with uncertainty and a future out of focus, and I'm very glad to have received these precious advice early on in life. As I reached the end the book, I found myself with even more knowledge about life and myself.

A few memorable things of mine:

1. The key to success is not dodging every bullet but being able to recover quickly.
2. If you throw gasoline on a log
Alireza Staedtlal
To tell the truth, this kind of motivational books are not my favorite but certainly, this book was strong enough to break this rule. First, the history of the author will catch your eyes (Tina seelig, neuroscience Ph.D. Stanford School, the executive director of the Stanford Technology Ventures program and professor in Stanford's then you'll start the book and sense the pure enthusiasm of the author herself about the subjects. It's clearly like a mother who wants to instruct her child ...more
Nadin Adel
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An excellent must-read book for entrepreneurs and venture start-up-ers.

Thanks Tina Seelig
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's such an amazing book that really helped me now. Recommend everyone.
Monyoudom Yang
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I usually discuss with my friends about books we find interesting. When I was in my final year of my undergraduate studies, one of them recommended this book to me. From the title, I think I could not relate that well to the book because I was just 19 back then. Therefore, I did not pay much attention to the book and turned to grab other books instead for joyful reading. One year passed by, and many things about me changed in a way that I could never imagine. As soon as I reached the age of 20, ...more
Jan 29, 2018 rated it liked it
The first five or six chapters related mostly to an entrepreneurship class taught by the author at Stanford. It didn't seem to relate to the book title and it's a subject that doesn't particularly interest me. I highlighted several early passages I disliked thinking I knew where the book was going and I thought about what I might write. Fortunately, around the halfway point, the author wrote less about her class and started providing practical self-help advice for adults and young adults. The ex ...more
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nora by: Maria
It is the first time that a book influences my decision directly. Since I
read the example on 96th page when I was in the same situation. It teaches me to not turn opportunity down and stop making assumptions.

The author says:"learning from others can significantly reduce your failure rate"
Truly, there is a lot to learn from this book, but what stands out in my mind is to embrace problems instead of avoiding them and look at them differently. In the same way, it is impossible to avoid failure, b
Ideas of this book are nothing new with good examples, which are simple yet valuable. Also, this book had good notes on the back matter which specifies links and information connected with topics.

The most agreed quotation was from Lao Tzu:
"The master of the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He simply pursues his vision of excellence in what
The title of this book doesn't quite do it justice ... it is more about opening yourself to seeing and addressing problems creatively and taking initiative in your life. It has quite a few nuggets, including some activities from Stanford that sound quite entertaining (anyone ever right a failure resume?). I would describe it as an easy weekend read for a bit of extra motivation and reflection in your life.
Ghassan Dardas
Jun 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful experience with the authors long list of experiences in her life. Making your place in this world comes from within yourself, you just have to have the courage to get out and claim it.
An Nguyen
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although the lessons that the book suggest are not new or special, I love the way they are presented. The author has a great sense of humor with her own way of telling the stories. The way she explained her rationale is really interesting and appealing. Besides the fact that the title of the book fits well with my age, I like the positive and entrepreneurial vibes that she created in each chapter. I'm glad that in the end, at least I managed to extract some lessons that I found applicable for my ...more
Russell Hunter
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was more about being creative and how to be creative than big lessons for young people. The one idea that was great for young people is don't let others or yourself put you in one category. There is always a way that you can change your life and do what you want to do.

I would really recommend this book about how to be creative. There are lots of examples and ideas about creativity and how to be a starting entrepreneur. The examples she gives would help you see things differently and c
Sarot Busala
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Don’t like the preface but I love all the other parts of the book !
Really grateful having read it.
Well, In general it just encourages everyone to experiment on risky choices and challenge traditional safe approach. I just discussed about these things with my supervisor at the university so this may influence my immersion with the book....
OK 5 stars for now though (would like to give something like 4.5) !
Sunny Flynn
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't know of Tina Seeling prior to reading this book, but I am a fan already (and weirdly consider her a friend, even though she doesn't know me!). The tone of the book is conversational - she uses a very humble tone and uses heaps of stories, anecdotes and past experiences which makes the book easily relatable.

Quite an easy read. I found myself turning pages and suddenly realising I'd read 20 pages without losing attention.
Pengyu Jiang
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author in this book shows you life from different perspective. What I really like in this book that every concept is followed by a real life example that helps the reader to relate and understand very well!.
Kol Veasna
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
every words, every sentences, every pages just touched my darkened soul directly to the center.
Aisulu Sult
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fav
This book gave me a hope, that everything can be achieved and will be on time. It gave me belief in myself and patience. Sometimes we should take it easy and don't rankle ourselves, it's okey to slow down, take a breath and understand what you really want to. Don't go with the stream. Do something not because people say to do what is "right" in ther opinion, but what you really need. The problem is that now and again we have no idea what we desire. We get lost. Now, I guess, it's okey to feel so ...more
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Maybe it was the translation. Or maybe it was the fact I just read one of the greatest self-help books... but I didn't feel it.
fatemehmomeninezhad fatemeh momeninezhad
I think it's good for management students.
Winai Nadee
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author well illustrates her experience through the story in her book. I’ve learned that I don’t have to ask permissions from others to live my life. As people have their own standpoints, we should not assume that people are the same. Make sure we respect and understand other perspectives.
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Tina Seelig is the executive director for the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP), the entrepreneurship center at Stanford University's School of Engineering. STVP is dedicated to accelerating high-technology entrepreneurship education and creating scholarly research on technology-based firms. STVP provides students from all majors with the entrepreneurial skills needed to use innovations ...more

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There's something great about a paperback book: They're perfect book club choices, you can throw them in your bag and go, and they've been out in...
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“There's a big difference between trying to do something and actually doing it. We often say we're trying to do something-losing weight, getting more exercise, finding a job. But the truth is, we're either doing it or not doing it.” 55 likes
“Never miss an opportunity to be fabulous.” 42 likes
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