Critic’s Reviews – Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart – Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now
[Gordon Livingston] gets reality, which is how things are frequently, not how we wish or hope they would be…This is not, in any conventional sense, one of those kick-butt, get-real motivational guides from best-selling life coaches. Livingston is the sadder but wiser man. He is more Job than Dr. Phil, painfully aware of life’s losses and limitations, trying to spare you a little hurt. He thinks in paragraphs, not in sound bites.
Gordon Livingston has been through many kinds of hell and come back with wisdom and kindness that are to be revered. To read him is to trust him and to learn, for his life has been touched by fire, and his motives are absolutely pure.
The gentle, even-keeled warmth of Livingston’s prose distinguishes this slim book of 30 inspirational “truths.”…Livingston offers the kind of wisdom that feels simultaneously commonsensical and revelatory: “The perfect is the enemy of the good,” “The major advantage of illness is relief from responsibility.” He intersperses counsel with personal experience, and tackles topics both joyful and deeply painful. In the chapter focusing on “We are what we do,” he notes that the “three components of happiness are something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to,” and he reminds us that “love is demonstrated behaviorally” – that is, actions count more than words In his discussion of “Happiness is the greatest risk,” he considers how our fear of losing happiness is often a roadblock to our experiencing it…Livingston’s words feel true, and his wisdom hard-earned. Among the many blithe and hollow self-help books available everywhere, this book stands out as a jewel.
Doctor Livingston is a great teacher. In this short volume of essays he tells it like it is regarding the things we do in life to sabotage our own happiness. He presents complex ideas in a simple and engaging manner. Without the usual pop-psychology catch-phrases, Livingston manages to make the reader question assumptions, think in new ways, and even hope that it might not be too late to take control of the way we react to the events of our lives.
From the foreword to Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart by Elizabeth Edwards:
“For the last eight years, Gordon Livingston has been one of the most important people in my life – and yet I have met him only once. Neither of us is young, but we are the beneficiaries of the communication mode of the young: we met on the internet, in on online community of bereaved parents. He and a handful of others were just what I needed when my child died, people who truly understood the chasm into which we were all falling, trying – sometimes half-heartedly – to grab hold and stop the fall.”