Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “If I Only Knew Then...: Learning from Our Mistakes” as Want to Read:
If I Only Knew Then...: Learning from Our Mistakes
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

If I Only Knew Then...: Learning from Our Mistakes

3.08  ·  Rating details ·  110 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Now available as a value-priced edition!


As Charles says, "If you don't get wiser as you get older, then you just get older." The core of this audiobook is about identifying our mistakes, learning from them, and not repeating them. Charles Grodin, a very funny individual who has appeared in movies, television and currently is on WCBS Radio every day, ha
Hardcover, 356 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by Springboard Press (first published 2007)
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 If I Only Knew Then..., please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about If I Only Knew Then...

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jun 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
My two favorite excerpts:

From Rosie O'Donnell's essay about falling in love with a woman in college and being unable to tell the woman she loved her:

“Someone did a study on the cell phone calls made from the Twin Towers as they fell. The question: Was there any pattern in what people said? The researchers expected they would find repeated SOSes—pleas for life, asking for absolution—but there was remarkably little of that. Instead, what the people said over and over again as they died, what they
Apr 20, 2008 rated it it was ok

Very interesting concept. Collect stories from famous people about mistakes they wish they didn't make. I figure with 80 different people responding, someone would hit a chord. Of the 80, I did recognize most of them but didn't really have any affection to any of them beforehand to care that deeply.

Kinda reminds me of Chicken Soup for the Soul series.
Mar 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
A somewhat interesting, if uneven, collection of 83 responses to the question "What's one of your biggest mistakes and what did you learn from it?" Most of the names were at least vaguely familiar to me, but there were only a handful of the vignettes and lessons learned that were memorable even shortly after closing the book.

Many of the stories had something to do with spending quality time with loved ones, appreciating loved ones while they are with you, or making sure they know of your love -
Jul 12, 2012 rated it liked it
I listened to the audiobook, and it was pleasant company for the most part. I like Charles Grodin as an actor (I highly recommend "Midnight Run", my favorite film of both Grodin and Robert DeNiro), but I don't think he's best-suited to voiceover work. Another reviewer said it seemed like he was yelling though his parts (Marion Grodin voices the entries from women), and I have to agree.
It was interesting listening to anecdotes from other people's lives, but I don't guess I learned anything I did
Jul 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
I listened to this book on CD in my car and it was great. It's a compilation of short stories from various famous people regarding what they consider to be one of the biggest (or most memorable) mistakes they've made and what they learned from them. The stories range from funny to sad, light-hearted to serious, personal and professional. This was a perfect book to listen to in the car (for me) because the stories range from 2-10 minutes so I was able to listen to them when commuting back and for ...more
Sep 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: If you're interested, sure. Not something for the top of your list, though
Recommended to Jess by: Browsing
Found this browsing and thought it might be good for my morning commute.* It was decent. Some stories were great, some were OK, a few were eh. I wish more were funnier. I'm glad I only listened to a few at a time; longer chunks bummed me out.

I don't mean to say the book is a downer. It isn't, mostly. But, I'm a worrier. Listening to stories where I know something is going to go wrong stresses me out. Like I said, I wish more would have been lighthearted.

A note on the audio: I like Grodin, but ha
Michael Lewyn
Dec 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
A group of short essays- mostly by Grodin's show business friends and their friends, mostly about mistakes they made. I can't say I learned anything earthshaking, but some of the stories were moving (others less so, of course).

My favorite: Alan Alda's story about how, when questioning scientists for a TV program, he was so overprepared that he got in the way of the scientists instead of (in his words) "letting the other person change me." My least favorite: a story about someone who missed an op
Apr 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Charles Grodin asked a whole bunch of people he knew for stories.

The one that I thought was really funny was from Lorretta Swit. She played Hotlips Hoolihan on the M*A*S*H* TV show. She described coming to Hollywood young and virginal. She was completely in love with Marlon Brando and met and hung out with him several times. He hit on her and tried to get her into bed, but she refused because she was young and afraid and had never done that before. Her biggest regret was not sleeping with Marlo
Apr 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: autobiography
This book is a collection of stories (or mistakes) from some pretty significant people in politics and hollywood. I was bored by some of the stories (like Rosie O'Donnell - seriously still wondering why she was asked to write for this book....), but if I got anything out of this quick little read it was the mistake that Ben Stiller made by dropping out of college. It is something he regrets, or a mistake he made in his life. His story really struck a nerve with me. Therefore, I'm glad I read thi ...more
Faith Tydings
Apr 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a good book with a mixture of valuable advice from a variety of interesting people...unfortunately, it seemed a bit dated for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty old, however I had to google more than half of the people in this book because I'd never heard of them before. Don't let that deter you from reading it, though - it still provided a lot of laughs, cringes and lessons worth hearing. I definitely don't want to see this book go away however I would love to see an updated version wi ...more
Jan 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Pete got me this book for Christmas, because of my childhood crush on Charles Grodin (it's true).
Interesting compilation of vignettes...though I would say out of the whole book there were only seven or eight that impacted me. I am marking those for Pete to read to save him the trouble of wading through the rest.
It's clear that some of the "friends and friends of friends" took Mr. Grodin's request more seriously than others.
One bonus: all proceeds go to charity, so we did some good. :)
Carmen Tourney
Mar 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The copy I READ was not an audio-book (obviously as I READ it) but goodreads only listed an audio-book option. I'm not sure if it included more/different stories as two that were mentioned in the synopsis were unfamiliar with me although I remembered the rest clearly. The two I did not remember seemed like they WOULD have been memorable too. They were the ones on Irwin Redlener and Dr. Nicholas Perricone. Good book that is easy to read.
Christa who loves the library
This audiobook would have been so much better if each contributor narrated their own contribution chapter. Parts of this book were very good while others not-so-much. A compilation book like this, is only as good as the contributions which have been provided. I was hopeful to get so much more meaning from this book. I am glad I took time to listen to it.
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a nice idea, but a pretty boring collection of celebrities recalling a big mistake they've made and the lessons they've learned from it. The quality varies widely, but the proceeds did go to support one of Grodin's charities.
Oct 09, 2011 rated it liked it
I did not know that Peter Falk had eye cancer at age three and always wore a glass eye. He had a very good attitude about it that reminded me of my grandson Jordan.
Karen Snyder
Jan 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Entertaining, easy to read. Some of the writers' stories were better than others.
Jun 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
I liked this book of life lessons. Some of the contributors enjoyed the excercise and most were interesting and fun
Hager Simmons
Feb 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a great book because you learn so much about life from the mistakes of so many the people who contributed to the book.
May 03, 2009 marked it as to-read
Looking forward to this one, I really liked his previous book called It would be so nice if you weren't here...
Oct 09, 2008 rated it liked it
I did not read every entry. It was interesting to know the mistakes that successful people have made and that they own up to.
Jan 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
Easy to put down.
Apr 02, 2014 rated it liked it
I especially liked Arianna Huffington's story
Dec 30, 2010 rated it it was ok
This was an easy read but I was a bit bored with the way some of the stories were presented.
rated it really liked it
Jul 22, 2010
rated it it was ok
Mar 14, 2010
Glen Ritschel
rated it liked it
Jun 19, 2017
Ravenel Mansfield
rated it it was amazing
Jun 19, 2016
Jordan Campbell
rated it it was amazing
Mar 28, 2017
Troy Bailey
rated it it was ok
Feb 09, 2017
rated it liked it
Jun 23, 2012
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Charles Grodin is an Emmy Award-winning American actor, comedian, author and former cable talk show host.
More about Charles Grodin...