30 Lessons for Living: Readers React

It’s a great pleasure to hear readers’ reactions to 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans. Our goal in the Legacy Project and the book was to encourage people to take elder wisdom seriously, and to return to the time-honored tradition of asking older people for their advice for living. It’s great that so many people have found this perspective to be useful.

We’ve been hearing a lot from book clubs who are reading 30 Lessons for Living. Just in from a New York book club member: “Last night we discussed your book at our book club — it generated one of our best discussions ever.  It was a great read for us!” The book seems to act as a springboard for profound book club discussions of how to make the most of your life.

We keep hearing from readers from around the country, like these:

From a reader in California:

For a number of years it has been on my back burner to travel the country with the intention to interview the elderly, believing that there is so much soulful information that exists with this cohort and how sad it is that we let it just slip away without notice or interest (or having it inform the actions and beliefs of the younger crowd). I was both delighted and a bit bummed out to discover your book (mostly delighted). It’s a wonderful book! Thank you for writing it with such integrity and genuine intent.

A fan from Taiwan (!):

 Thanks for your excellent book “30 Lessons for Living” which would help people around the world to rethink happiness and success and to find their own happy and successful life. I hope your efforts for the world will continue and bear fruit.

 And from a father-to-be in Memphis:

A work colleague and friend recently handed me a copy of your book “30 lessons for living” – a wonderful and easy read that reinforces many of the lessons my parents and elders have taught me (or tried to teach me!) over the years! As a soon-to-be first-time dad, I hope to pass on these lessons to our child. Thank you for all your hard work and research in putting the book together!  For some national reactions to the book, here is  a selection of media coverage:

The media also continue to spread the word about the elder wisdom that we have captured in the Legacy Project and the book.

The Washington Post just created a wonderful slideshow illustrating the lessons, called Twelve Ways to Live a Better Life.

I had a great interview this month with Dr. Michael Roizen (of the “You: The Owner’s Manual” books with Dr. Oz). You can listen here.

This article came out this week in the Wall Street Journal, urging people to follow the book’s lead and ask elders in their lives for lessons.

And many people are still enjoying these two reports from some months ago:

The PBS Newshour devoted a segment to the book, with interviews with two wonderfully wise elders.

Jane Brody published a terrific column on the book in the New York Times.

But the best  recognition that elder wisdom is critically important is this: Your support for this blog! Around 10,00 readers visit every month, and lots of you are viewing many lessons while you are here. Thanks to all of you for your interest, and for spreading the word about the Legacy Project!

3 thoughts on “30 Lessons for Living: Readers React

  1. I just want to take a quick moment to thank Karl Pillemer for writing this wonderful book. It’s very humbling, being able to read about the experiences of so many elders that, surprising, I can relate to, especially when they talked about having childhoods with little economical resources but still full of happiness and enjoyment. These recollections bring me back to my own childhood, and I’m reminded of everything I have in life, and I feel grateful. The elders’ advice about acceptance and trust is not new, but it’s so much more meaningful to me now in this stage of life than ever before, and it’s the advice that I really took away from this book. I’m trying to live by it everyday now, trying to do everything that’s in my power to do and then to have faith in the outcome of things, in the things that I cannot control, and most importantly, to enjoy every moment in life. So I just want to take this moment to thank Karl and everyone he interviewed. Thanks 🙂


  2. Thank you so much for these kind words. After all the time that goes into researching and writing a book, it is tremendously gratifying to learn that it was helpful. I appreciate the feedback!

  3. i am delighted to see recommendations sought from elders
    for me this equates to seeking out experience and also showing respect
    i am saddened by the demise of family contacts and loss of community
    there is no neighbourly concern, no community concern, no government concern
    plenty is said but words are cheap
    a little help from local quarters – and not with the main issue being “filthy lucre” may improve the lives of each and, in different ways
    thank you for this suggestion

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