What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self By Ellyn Spragins

    Ellyn Spragins Ô 8 Read & Download

    If you could send a letter back through time to your younger self, what would the letter say?

    In this moving collection, forty-one famous women write letters to the women they once were, filled with advice and insights they wish they had had when they were younger.

    Today show correspondent Ann Curry writes to herself as a rookie reporter in her first job, telling herself not to change so much to fit in, urging her young self, It is time to be bold about who you really are. Country music superstar Lee Ann Womack reflects on the stressed-out year spent recording her first album and encourages her younger self to enjoy the moment, not just the end result. Your hair matters far, far less than you think, is the wry advice that begins the letter bestselling mystery writer Lisa Scottoline pens to her twenty-year old self. And Maya Angelou, leaving home at seventeen with a newborn baby in her arms, assures herself she will succeed on her own, even if she does return home every now and then.

    These remarkable women are joined by Madeleine Albright, Queen Noor of Jordan, Cokie Roberts, Naomi Wolf, Eileen Fisher, Jane Kaczmarek, Olympia Dukakis, Macy Gray, and many others. Their letters contain rare glimpses into the personal lives of extraordinary women and powerful wisdom that readers will treasure.

    Wisdom from What I Know Now

    Don't let anybody raise you. You've been raised. -Maya Angelou

    Try more things. Cross more lines. -Breena Clarke

    Learn how to celebrate. -Olympia Dukakis

    You don't have to be afraid of living alone. -Eileen Fisher

    Please yourself first...everything else follows. -Macy Gray

    Don't be so quick to dismiss another human being. -Barbara Boxer

    Work should not be work. -Mary Matalin

    You can leave the work world--and come back on your own terms. -Cokie Roberts

    Laundry will wait very patiently. -Nora Roberts

    Your hair matters far, far less than you think -Lisa Scottoline

    Speak the truth but ride a fast horse. -Kitty Kelley What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self

    Kind of a disappointment...partially my fault though. I had this on my PBS wishlist for quite awhile so I was happy for it to finally arrive a couple of days ago. It wasn't what I expected (I thought it was memoir...couldn't see the tiny print that listed the contributors in the thumbnail!) but I figured it would still be interesting. There are a lot of admirable women who have done some extraordinary things. I found that by the end of the book though, I liked most of them a lot less. The book just felt like a collection of self-congratulatory letters. We know they all eventually overcome obstacles to achieve their successes but to write Monday morning quarterback letters to encourage themselves to persevere just feels disingenuous and forced (to me.)

    I think a collection of letters from regular, ordinary people who have achieved success at a more attainable level would have been more interesting. What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self Thank you *Cecily* ....
    She reminded me of a small lovely hardcopy - ( a gift from a friend) - that I’ve owned over 10 years.
    I’ve read it - and re-read parts of it - many times - over the years.

    In this collection, 41 famous women wrote letters to the women they once were.... ( a few pages written from each), filled with advice and insights they wish they had been when they were younger.

    The question asked was:
    “If you could send a letter back in time to your younger self, what would the letters say?

    My letter might change - a little each year.
    I’m certainly not the same today at 68 as I was when I first read this in my 50’s.

    My aunt ( Paul’s aunt really... but she’s my ‘Auntie Jeannie’, too).....
    who ( in my world)... is the greatest living 89 year old woman on the planet:
    Besides, Paul, she has been one of the greatest gifts of my life.....
    I know what Aunt Jeanie what would write about: Kindness!
    “Be more kind”.

    This is a sweet little book. Not every letter is ‘wow-we-explosive’...
    but who cares, it’s the inquiry within ourselves where this book inspires.

    A few contributors were:
    Maya Angelou, Barbara Boxer, Eileen Fisher, Olympus Dukakis, Breena Clark, Macy Gray, Mary Matatin, etc.
    What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self I agree with many that the letters are not super profound for the most part. Many are sort of boring and self-indulgent. I remember being very moved by the woman who could not get pregnant and adopted children. One thing that I thought was interesting was that many of the women wanted to tell themselves how to get through a harder time quicker when in reality it seems as if the long struggle made them who they are today. Also, due to the current wealth of many of the women I felt that their advice was good in theory and less so in practice. For example, many go on about staying home with family and children instead of working being the best choice they made when in reality many people don't have that as an option. Quite easy to follow your passion when you're an heiress . . . What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self oh no! apparently what I wrote as a review didn't come through...thanks Kelly for pointing it out.

    Anyway, I thought there would be more depth to this, but it really *is* just a series of letters written to a woman's younger self. Reading Vana White's letter telling herself it'd be a bad idea to get photographs taken in transparent underwear wasn't a piece of advice I could use...nor wanted to know. I think this was a missed opportunity to show that hindsight can lead to wisdom, not just regrets.

    Plus, for a book that is only a few years old, the people chosen seemed dated. (the Shaggy Chic lady, Heather Mills McCartney, Picabo Street, etc). What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self Very inspiring!!!

    I really enjoyed this book. The description reads Extraordinary Women Share the Wisdom They Wish They'd Had When They Were Younger. The amazing part is that although the women are amazing...the struggles they face are ordinary- just the same as I and others face. So, I really enjoyed reading their perspective and advice to themselves.

    Here is a portion from Cokie Roberts letter to herself when she was a young mother:
    Dear Cokie, ...Being the mother of two tiny kids frazzles you because the utterly banal is, somehow, profoundly important. Nothing could be more mindless than wiping noses and pouring apple juice...For so much to hinge on so little is brain-numbing....Your kids, like all kids, are a pain in the neck sometimes...Instead of childish misbehavior, their transgressions seems like terrible reflections of you as a mother...There will be compensation! Your children will grow up to be charming and caring people-who produce adorable grandchildren...Your willful son will someday hae an extremely willful daughter...And guess who will have the patience for all of that and more? You. Hang in there. Love, Cokie

    I really enjoyed their insights and found it all quite inspiring!
    What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self


    I found this among my mom's books and just chalked it up to being one of her many self help books on the shelf. But I kept it, and somehow it made its way into the large pile I keep by my bed of things I need to read, and then eventually into reading rotation.

    The letters are short, and some are un-relatable, but there were nuggets that were like hearing my mother in my head. Having lost her a few years ago (I assume not everyone that may read this out there knows my story, though does anyone who's not a connected friend read the reviews?), I look for her messages everywhere.

    I'm going to include the best quotes below (and there are many), but one thing I want to point out that makes me know God sent this book into my life for a reason - Trisha Yearwood closes this out with her letter to herself before one of her doomed-to-fail marriages (pre-Garth of course). And her description mentions how September 11th changed her outlook. And she went to Belmont. I finished this book on September 11th, went to Belmont, and music is my life. Sometimes you do have to believe, just a little, in fate.


    Don't let anybody raise you. You've been raised. - Maya Angelou

    Mediocrity is a superficial effort - what happens when a project is done without passion. - Rachel Ashwell

    ...you have to understand that the next person may hold their beliefs with the same amount of passion that you have. ... It's easier to be judgmental. It's less work to see everything in black and white. But every single person is as important as you are and has a story to tell, just like you do. - Barbara Boxer

    Cross some lines. Learning to swim won't stop you from reading Shakespeare. Finding your voice won't stop you from writing novels. You should be cooking on all four burners. - Breena Clarke

    When it's all about where your heart is, that attracts a lot of energy. Everything else follows. ... There's nothing better than complete purity. Being completely raw always works. - Macy Gray

    True success means being a whole person, someone with balance and compassion. - Jane Kaczmarek

    The universe is like a pension plan. It will match your investment. If you put 10 percent of your potential in, it will work that 10 percent and you will be operating at 20 percent of your possibilities. But if you put in 100 percent, the global collective will kick n and give you an additional 100 percent back on your return. It's the best investment plan I know - being proactive about your life. - Camryn Manheim

    Work should not be work. You should love your job. When you are looking for work, don't overdo the career counseling. A career path plan can become a career-crippling pathology. ... Your compass is not set to conventional methods and measurements, such as setting long-term goals, advancing methodically through promotions, raises, and titles. You are high-strung, easily bored, hyperenergized. You have a short but deep attention span. ...characteristics that suit fast-paced and intense projects. You may flit from project to project, but a lifetime of fun and interesting projects adds up to a career just as sound as the plodding ones you read about. ... There is also no career clock. Move along at your own pace. ... Just because you haven't done something doesn't mean you can't. ... A fancy pedigree, or even innate genius, is no substitute for the work ethic and common sense you have. ... It means pay attention to low grade dissatisfaction before it turns into a potential self-destruction. ... Your instincts are early indicators of both good and bad. ... Trust yourself, believe in yourself, and hang in there for the ride. - Mary Matalin

    Stop being their savior and be your own. - Heather Mills McCartney

    You only know what you know of life at any given point. You can't beat yourself up for what you should have done if you weren't equipped with the knowledge at that time. - Shelley Morrison

    Grace is always present and grace stands to shelter and guide and protect us. There comes a time in life when you really must become conscious of that presence and you must consciously turn your face to it. Otherwise, you're just walking blindly through life. - Phylicia Rashad

    When juggling as much as you are, remember that some balls are glass and some are rubber. You can't drop the glass balls. - Nora Roberts

    Stop. It. Now. You're not an imposter. You're the genuine article. You have the brainpower. You have the ability. You don't have to work so hard and worry so much. You're going to do just fine. You deserve a place at the table. Joyce Roche

    Here are the ten things you need to know:
    1. Your hair matters far, far less than you think.
    2. In fact, the way you look matters far less than you think.
    3. Can I ask a dumb question? is never a good thing to say.
    4. In fact, asking permission to speak is never a good idea at all.
    5. While we're on the subject, don't speak too fast because you're afraid of wasting your listener's time. Listening to what you have to say is the highest and best use of anyone's time. Even if your hair looks terrible.
    6. And don't edit what you say before you say it. That would be you, getting int he way of truth, and, worse, of your heart.
    7. You are already working approximately 25 percent harder than you have to to get the results you want. Chillax.
    8. Don't have out with anyone who doesn't understand why you're so wonderful, or who needs to be told, or who doesn't tell you at regular intervals or when you forget.
    9. The little voice you keep ignoring is the only one you should ever listen to.
    10. Love.
    - Lisa Scottoline

    There is a beautiful saying about adopted children, whihc is that they don't come from your stomach, they come from your heart. - Wendy Walker Whitworth What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self not anything life changing but i enjoyed it What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self This was given to me as a gift by a very good friend. I can see why she gave it to me. There's a fierce independence underlying these letters, and I love the concept. That said, I found the whole thing kind of self-indulgent...which I guess is what you'd expect when you ask people to write letters to their younger selves to be published. It's just that a lot of the letters FELT like they were written for other people to read, not their younger selves. I ended up skimming a lot of them.

    The most enjoyable part of the book were the bios that preceded each letter. I loved learning a bit more about all of these women. What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self Such an interesting idea to write a letter to our younger self. I think almost every letter I read had a nugget of wisdom that caused reflection. A few of my favorites were: 1)You only know what you know of life at any given point. 2)Protest against the rising tide of conformity. 3)try more things, cross more lines, you should be cooking on all four burners. 4)The universe is like a pension plan, it will match your investment. 5)Sometimes nothing is better than just anything. And many more.... What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self What I Know Now is a collection of letters from prominent women, addressed to their younger selves at different stages of their lives. The letters cover, among other things, topics like - professional success, imposter syndrome, motherhood, personal tragedies and failures, dating advice, financial advice et al.

    While the concept in itself was intriguing, I found the letters somewhat lacking. All the letters are very short. Barely a page and a half. Thus, despite the intention, they come across as generic and template-y. Unless one has been through the same specific situation as mentioned in the letter, it is hard to relate to it, given the short length. Further, there are many overlapping themes in the different letters, which isn't a criticism as such, but it does read as repetitive. Thus, despite boasting of 30+ letters from brilliant women, I doubt I will take away much except a nugget or two from a letter here and there.

    If you're travelling and want a light read, then I would recommend it. Otherwise, you may skip it. What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self