Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

  • by Gordon Livingston
  • Narrated by James Jenner
  • 4 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From a psychiatrist who has spent the past 30 years listening to other people's most intimate secrets and troubles comes an eloquent, incisive, and deeply perceptive book about the things we all share, and which every one of us grapples with as we strive to make the most of the life we have left. After service in Vietnam as a surgeon for the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in 1968-69, at the height of the war, 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, what works, what doesn't, and the limitless ways (most of them self-inflicted) that we have found to be unhappy. He is also a parent twice bereaved. In one 13-month period, he lost his eldest son to suicide, his youngest to leukemia. Out of a lifetime of experience, Livingston has extracted 30 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 24 others in a series of carefully hewn, perfectly calibrated essays, many of which emphasize our closest relationships and the things that we do to impede or, less frequently, enhance them. Again and again, these essays underscore that "we are what we do", and that while there may be no escaping who we are, we also have the capacity to face loss, misfortune, and regret and to move beyond them, that it is not too late.

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What the Critics Say

"Among the many blithe and hollow self-help books available everywhere, this book stands out as a jewel." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

This guy is a straight shooter

I really liked that this guy does not buy into the whole victim approach to looking at our problems. He favors taking responsibility. Imagine -- suggesting that children aren't responsible for their aging parents. Parents need to age gracefully, stop griping, keep up some interests, and not drag everyone down into their often-self-created pool of misery. What a concept! This is just one of the eye-opening suggestions this guy makes. It meanders a little bit here and there, but overall it is a nice concise group of essays.
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- Julia

Not for the

This book isn't for victims. It's for people who are looking for solid, no nonsense, insight on how to move on and move ahead. I felt that the author wasn't judgmental...just extremely factual. It's a great book and I highly recommend it.

Big time bonus points to the reader. His voice is perfect for the material. He doesn't read too quickly, and his inflections are a fantastic addition to the words.
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- T. Combs

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-25-2005
  • Publisher: Recorded Books