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Advice from My 80-Year-Old Self: Real Words of Wisdom from People Ages 7 to 88

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  157 ratings  ·  27 reviews
What advice would your 80-year-old self give you? That is the question artist Susan O'Malley, who was herself to die far too young, asked more than a hundred ordinary people of every age, from every walk of life. She then transformed their responses into vibrant text-based images. From a prompt to do things that matter to your heart, to a reminder that it's okay to have su ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published January 12th 2016 by Chronicle Books
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  157 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Darth J
Jan 11, 2016 rated it did not like it

I'm disappoined, guys. This isn't an advice book. It's a book with a bunch of colorful motivational posters. Here's a sampling:

I'm disappoined, guys. This isn't an advice book. It's a book with a bunch of colorful motivational posters. Here's a sampling:

^This last one is obviously not about buying this book, because you will be majorly let down. I actually returned my copy which I preordered. I wanted something deep and thoughtful. I wanted actual paragraphs not some vague platitudes. Further, a lot of the sayings in this book are attributed to the wrong few people who sent them in to the author instead of the people who originally said them.

If you want a shallow "hang in there, kitty" kind of pick me up, then this book is perfect for you.

Sep 18, 2017 rated it liked it
A few gems in here. It was interesting to see what people said their 80-year-old self would say based on their current age.

It's sad that the author has passed away before this was finished. I wonder if she would have added more insight into the people she interviewed
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Basically a simplistic book of colorful motivational posters. There’s just not much here, although it is pretty.
Cathy Young
Feb 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Though enjoyable, it's not a typical "book". It's a collection of people's responses to the question "what would your 80 year old self want to tell your self of today?" Makes one smile, think and great posters for framing if one chooses to do so.
Jan 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: inspirational
A book of colorful quotes from people of different ages. It is a well made and printed book but as other reviewers have said, it doesn't have much content nor are all the quotes profound. An interesting coffee table book for guests.
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Susan O’Malley started the project during a time of personal transition and asked her ailing mother the question (her mom’s response is included in the book). Susan herself passed away near full term with twins (who did not survive) before the book was published. These facts bring poignant context to the project.

Some favorites: “Be bad at something. Perfection is overrated.” - Margaret, 77

“Your heart has reasons your head does not know.” - Rachel, 24

“Try new things. It’s
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a nice creative project by a social artist who passed away too soon. I am using it to read aloud at a staff meeting before the summer arrives. I'm also handing out notebooks with one of the pieces of advice on the cover, as a visual reminder to enjoy the present and life in general.
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There are a lot of words of encouragement here for living a good life.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Motivational statements - would be good for work
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful words to spark your day. Susan O'Malley had so much to offer with so little time.
Jan 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviews
No doubt this book is creatively designed. It can be a self-help book, or a book full of philosophical musings as much as it is about morality and ethics. You can take your pick once you are through! Am I inspired or educated or wiser after going through the book? I’m not sure. Then, have I got something to say? Plenty! Advice from My 80-Year-Old Self: Real Words of Wisdom from People Ages 7 to 88 by Susan O'Malley is not at all what I expected. Yet I’m glad I took the opportunity to read it. ...more
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: why-oh-why
Susan O'Malley was a beautiful soul who is gone too soon. This book was almost complete when she collapsed and died at age 38, pregnant with twins whom she was scheduled to give birth to in just 3 days. They didn't make it.

Knowing Susan's art and life and then reading the collection of advice from people's future 80 year old selves to who they are now makes the book more poignant. If you take this collection in relation to Susan and her life I feel you can have more appreciation. It
Apr 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Chronicle books, via LibraryThing in exchange for my honest review. Thank you.

This is a book of quotes from people aged 7 to 88. They were asked what advice they would give themselves if they were 80 years old today. Each response is on a colorful separate page. I found the quotes to be insightful, motivational, and interesting.

The Afterword gives us information about the artist, Susan O'Malley, who authored this boo
Mar 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
I was charmed by the late O'Malley's public art project on a recent visit to San Francisco, where stumbling across these optimistic words of advice was a lovely surprise and a pleasant break from routine. It also led to some great conversations with friends. While the sentiments are still sweet and occasionally unexpected, the book is far less successful. Unlike the companion web site to this project, it contains no additional context for the quotations or information about the speakers, simply ...more
Aug 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: personal-dev
Mostly average.
A few that stood out:
- It will be better than you imagined. - Catharine, 45 years old
- You already know what you need. - Rachel, 24 years old
- Be yourself and do your homework. - Camille, 18 years old
- Be nicer to yourself. - Joan, 85 years old
- It's not a dumb idea. - Caroline, 71 years old
- Do things that matter to your heart. - Caroline, 71 years old
- You made the right choices, you made the right mistakes. - Lauren, 23 years old
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was ready for publication just before the author died unexpectedly in the last week of her pregnancy with twin girls, who did not survive. Susan O'Malley had asked many people, of all ages, what advice they thought their 80 year old selves would give to them. The result is this visually bright book.
A few examples:
from a 45 year old, "It will be better than you imagined."
from a 14 year old, "Find your own truth."
from a 73 year old, "Live each day as if it's your last." ...more
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Don't get the wrong idea about what this contains. This book is full of inspirational poster pages, all with only a handful of words. That said, the idea is touching, and her introduction and best friend's afterward gave me enough meaning to make me glad that I read it. By and by, we can all use a little advice from strangers, and this is a book I can see myself taking out again through the years.
Apr 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
This collection didn't truly impress me until I read the Afterward and learned that the author died before its publication; I think paged through the advice again. What a beautiful piece of work that demonstrates how important it was for this author to connect with and learn from the people around her.
Shavawn Berry
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Bittersweet, this one. The author died -- at the age of 38 -- just as she finished it. Her art pops with color on every single page. The advice from interviewees between 7 and 88 is spot on. Get busy living or get busy dying. Today is all we've got.
Learn Be
Jan 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good reminders

Short but meaningful. Especially poignant once you learn that she dies along with her unborn twins in her 30's. We all carry so much wisdom in our hearts.
Lauren Bates
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
This book is beautiful, I would love poster sized prints of some of these pages.
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: how-do-i-adult
5 might be a bit much, but this was still a really good and inspirational read. Just something quick and lighthearted to fill out minds and hearts with.
Marie-Lise Theys
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
Disappointing, a list of motivational sentences, not what I expected
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Love love love!!! No it's not a self help book. It's quick fun advice from people of various ages. I'm going to be getting a few copies of this book as I think it'd make a great gift!
CE Depner
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Read these wise, vivid pages if you are struggling with uncertainty about your future.
Aug 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Quick read. My fave - "Art before Dishes" No problem there!
Mills College Library
170.44 O544 2016
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Susan O'Malley (1976–2015) was an internationally exhibited artist and curator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. As curator and print center director at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, she worked with hundreds of artists and organized more than fifty exhibitions and public programs. As an artist, she made work that brings a sense of interconnectedness into our lives, from conversati ...more