too soon old too late smart book

Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

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Too soon old, too late smart. I can relate to that. As I get older I feel the need to tell the world what I’ve learned. Mostly to stop others doing the same dumb things I did. It leads to a lot of sideways looks and eye-rolling from my children, particularly my teenage son, who of course already knows everything.

I could not, however, do a better job of distilling life’s lessons than Gordon Livingstone MD. This guy delivers 30 “things you need to know” from a life well lived. He’s fought in the Vietnam War, traveled extensively, been a teacher, divorced and remarried. And tragically, lost not one, but two of his children at a young age.

A qualified and practicing psychiatrist for over 25 years, Dr Livingstone is in a perfect position to understand the issues causing most angst in our world and to have an opinion on what can best be done about it.

Despite all that has happened, he seems to maintain a very positive attitude to life. He also holds a healthy skepticism of many of today’s ways of dealing with issues, which seek to take undesirable shortcuts around our need to work hard to solve things ourselves and build resilience. In his opinion, many of these shortcuts don’t work well, don’t work at all, or don’t work for long.

In the book, you will read short chapters on such profound truths as:

  • We are what we do;
  • Not all who wander are lost;
  • If the map don’t agree with the ground, then the map is wrong; and
  • Life’s two most important questions are “why” and “why not”. The trick is to know which one to ask.

As Elizabeth Edwards says in the outline, “It might not always be comfortable to hear what Gordon has to say. He will push you out of the easy chair in which you expected to sit and watch television until the lights go out – for your own good of course.”

If you have the self-help gene and want to learn more about how what works and what doesn’t (at least according to Gordon Livingston), you will probably enjoy this very much. If you’re a little sensitive to a few home truths delivered relatively bluntly, perhaps not so much.

You probably won’t agree with everything he says – I know I didn’t. And at times his opinions can be divisive. But it is hard to knock the punchy way in which he delivers his points and you just may find your opinion on some issues altered ever so slightly as a result of the compelling arguments he makes.

A cracking read for all ages, but perhaps most useful to those who are old enough to realise they don’t know it all, yet still young enough to have plenty of mistakes in front of them.

The book is available from iBooks and most other large online bookstores, or from any good bookstore (if you can still find one!).

The link to the Amazon version is here:

Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart.
Thirty True Things You Need To Know Now
Gordon Livingston MD
ISBN 978 0 7336 1992 2
ISBN 978 0 7336 2616 6 (ebook edition)

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