Saturday, March 13, 2010

Book Review: "Advice My Parents Gave Me"

In Advice My Parents Gave Me: and Other Lessons I Learned from My Mistakes, Rodolfo Costa's 409 bits of advice are numbered and grouped into fifteen sections. Each section is separated by a page of quotations from famous or historical people. This is followed by a two-page summary, which is probably the most inspirational part of the book.

The groupings of advice-bits are roughly based on various themes, such as attitude, motivation, finances, the importance of laughter, gratitude and more. My favorite advice-bits appear early in the book, but some other sections (such as the "gratitude section") resonated well with me, too.

The book is well-written -- I found only two errors (one wrong verb tense and one omitted word). As well, it's easy to read. However, when I read from front to back in a few days, it started to grate on me and take on a nagging quality -- "Do not ____," "Learn to _____," "Be sure to ____," etc.. So I recommend reading this at a very leisurely pace (perhaps read just one page before your regular reading). Or open it up at a random page and read just one advice-bit each day, as we do sometimes with Wayne Dyer's Everyday Wisdom for Success. In fact, I can see this working well as a blog or iPhone applet, delivering one advice-bit per page refresh or per day.

One thing lacking in this book is some autobiographical context behind the advice. I would have liked this book more if the author included in each section a brief description of how the advice fit in with his life experience, which I think would have helped me to connect to the advice, or accept it with more appreciation. In its current form, it seems to fulfill more of a pet project role for the author as opposed to a lesson manual for the reader.

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