Cover image for Too soon old, too late smart : thirty true things you need to know now
Title:
Too soon old, too late smart : thirty true things you need to know now
Author:
Livingston, Gordon.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Marlowe, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
xviii, 169 pages ; 19 cm
Language:
English
Subject Term:
ISBN:
9781569244197
Format :
Book

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BJ1581.2 .L58 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

After service in Vietnam as a surgeon in 1968-69, Dr. Gordon Livingston returned to the U.S. and began work as a psychiatrist. In that capacity, he has listened to people talk about their lives and the limitless ways that they have found to be unhappy. He is also a parent twice bereaved. In one thirteen-month period, he lost his eldest son to suicide, his youngest to leukemia. Out of a lifetime of experience, Livingston has extracted thirty bedrock truths: We are what we do. Any relationship is under the control of the person who cares the least. The perfect is the enemy of the good. Only bad things happen quickly. Forgiveness is a form of letting go, but they are not the same thing. The statute of limitations has expired on most of our childhood traumas. Livingston illuminates these and twenty-four others in perfectly calibrated essays, many of which emphasize our closest relationships and the things that we do to impede or enhance them. These writings underscore that "we are what we do," and that while there may be no escaping who we are, we have the capacity to face loss, misfortune, and regret, and to move beyond them.


Author Notes

Gordon Livingston, M.D., a graduate of West Point and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, has been a physician since 1967


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

The gentle, even-keeled warmth of Livingston?s prose distinguishes this slim book of 30 inspirational ?truths.? A psychiatrist familiar with trauma from both his practice and his life (in one 13-month period, he lost one son to leukemia and another to suicide), Livingston offers the kind of wisdom that feels simultaneously commonsensical and revelatory: ?We are what we do,? ?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. For those contemplating suicide, he writes that ?it is reasonable to confront them with the selfishness and anger implied in any act of self-destruction.? 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. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.


Table of Contents

Elizabeth Edwards
Forewordp. xv
1 If the map doesn't agree with the ground, the map is wrongp. 1
2 We are what we dop. 6
3 It is difficult to remove by logic an idea not placed there by logic in the first placep. 12
4 The statute of limitations has expired on most of our childhood traumasp. 18
5 Any relationship is under the control of the person who cares the leastp. 24
6 Feelings follow behaviorp. 28
7 Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aidp. 36
8 The perfect is the enemy of the goodp. 41
9 Life's two most important questions are "Why?" and "Why not?" The trick is knowing which one to askp. 45
10 Our greatest strengths are our greatest weaknessesp. 50
11 The most secure prisons are those we construct for ourselvesp. 55
12 The problems of the elderly are frequently serious but seldom interestingp. 61
13 Happiness is the ultimate riskp. 68
14 True love is the apple of Edenp. 75
15 Only bad things happen quicklyp. 80
16 Not all who wander are lostp. 87
17 Unrequited love is painful but not romanticp. 91
18 There is nothing more pointless, or common, than doing the same things and expecting different resultsp. 95
19 We flee from the truth in vainp. 101
20 It's a poor idea to lie to oneselfp. 107
21 We are all prone to the myth of the perfect strangerp. 111
22 Love is never lost, not even in deathp. 115
23 Nobody likes to be told what to dop. 119
24 The major advantage of illness is that it provides relief from responsibilityp. 125
25 We are afraid of the wrong thingsp. 129
26 Parents have a limited ability to shape children's behavior, except for the worsep. 136
27 The only real paradises are those we have lostp. 144
28 Of all the forms of courage, the ability to laugh is the most profoundly therapeuticp. 152
29 Mental health requires freedom of choicep. 158
30 Forgiveness is a form of letting go, but they are not the same thingp. 162