5 Things Book Review: The Indigo Girl

I’ve read over 800 books in the last ten years, taking the time to write review notes on very few of them. In an effort to take more notes, here are five things I liked about a book I read recently.

Title: The Indigo Girl
Author: Natasha Boyd
Publication Year: 2017

  1. It’s based on a true story.
    The book is based on events in the life of the amazing Eliza Lucas.
  2. It features my hometown.
    Eliza was born almost 300 years ago in Antigua in 1722, and spent her formative years there before attending finishing school in London and then moving to South Carolina with her family. Antigua is mentioned 15 times or more in the book.
  3. It’s a love story.
    The author crafted a story that demonstrates that the love that comes to us in the most unexpected and unconventional ways may be the best kind.
  4. It’s about following your interests and passions, and setting audacious goals.
    In the book – as in real life – Eliza strives to achieve something regarded as nearly impossible by those around her. Against current wisdom and the odds, she works to find a way to get indigo to thrive as a cash crop in a temperate climate, and eventually succeeds, making her contribution to the founding story of America. President George Washington served as a pallbearer at her funeral, and in 1989, she became the first woman to be inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame.
  5. It celebrates the benefits of writing.
    Eliza’s audacity and feminism are almost unbelievable in someone so young an in that era. Her words are quoted throughout the book, sourced from her meticulously maintained records of her letters and conversations in her “Letter Book”. Not only did recording her thoughts on paper probably help her to solidify her own goals and ambitions, but it allows us deep insight into her thoughts and personality hundreds of years later.

Our Deepest Fear

The lines below written by Marianne Williamson in her book, A Return to Love, published in 1996. The verse has also been incorrectly attributed to Nelson Mandela, as having been included in his inaugural address. Over the years, these words have inspired millions.

These words have been inspiring me since I first came across them in 1999. They powerfully speak to the fact that many of us live our lives not so much afraid of failure, but afraid of achieving our true potential. We feel comfortable ‘flying below the radar’, so as not to attract attention and possibly criticism, rather than spreading our wings and seeing how far we can fly. I hope they challenge you to always shine at your brightest, and to continue to work toward becoming the best possible version of yourself.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

–from  A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson.

31 Dragon-Slaying Quotes from ‘Do the Work’ by Steven Pressfield

I have just finished reading the book ‘Do the Work‘ by Trinidadian-born author, Steven Pressfield. This short, powerful read, written in the no-nonsense style of a manifesto, is designed to prepare you to face the dragons that stand in the way of you accomplishing your highest goals. What are these dragons? They are the ones we all face when we attempt to do something we believe in. Among them are fear, self-sabotage, procrastination and self-doubt. They say “present, please” every time we attempt to pursue any important objective—from conquering addiction, to learning how to play a music instrument, to getting over an ex or preparing for a marathon. Whenever we decide to abandon the status quo to become our better selves, fearsome foes appear, and stand in our way, ready to fight us to the finish.

Steven Pressfield knows a thing or two about facing the adversity of procrastination, distraction, perfectionism and ego. As he worked to achieve his dream of becoming a successful writer, he struggled for almost 20 years. Pressfield worked in odd-jobs including being a bartender, picking fruit, driving a tractor, and being an attendant at a mental hospital. He was even homeless, and lived out of the back of his car before finally publishing his first novel, ‘The Legend of Bagger Vance’. Steven has brilliantly dissected the opponents of personal success, and labelled them with the catch-all term “Resistance”.

Written from the point of view of a writer, this book is a deafening call to action. Steven Pressfield grabs us by the collar and gives us a sound reminder that accomplishing anything worthwhile is always going to be the hardest thing. No one gets a free pass. It’s always going to be difficult, but it is always going to be worth it.  He teaches us how to recognize resistance, how to marshal the unexpected allies needed to crush Resistance, and how to “ship” i.e. get your project to “The End”.

Do the Work‘ is a quick read, you’ll be finished the 109 pages in an hour or two, but the words will resonate for longer. I hope you will click on the link below to order it and read it for yourself as soon as possible. This will be a powerful weapon in your arsenal, as you clear the path to your own greatness as an entrepreneur, awesome parent, published author or any other important mission you’ve set for yourself. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book.

Resistance – The Dragon

“On the field of the self stand a knight and a dragon. You are the knight. Resistance is the dragon.” — Steven Pressfield

“The only intercourse possible between the knight and the dragon is battle.” — Steven Pressfield


The Dragon is Inside of Me and You

“What comes first is the idea, the passion, the dream of the work we are so excited to create that it scares the hell out of us.”  — Steven Pressfield

“Resistance is the response of the frightened, petty, small-time ego to the brave, generous, magnificent impulse of the creative self.” — Steven Pressfield

“Fear of success is the essence of Resistance.”  — Steven Pressfield

“The opposite of fear is love—love of the challenge, love of the work, the pure joyous passion to take a shot at our dream and see if we can pull it off.” — Steven Pressfield

“Our enemy is not lack of preparation; it’s not the difficulty of the project, or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of our bank account. The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.” — Steven Pressfield

“Resistance is a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.” — Steven Pressfield

“Resistance’s goal is not to wound or disable. Resistance aims to kill” — Steven Pressfield


How to Fight Resistance and Win

“Don’t Prepare. Begin.” — Steven Pressfield

“Fear doesn’t go away. The battle must be fought anew every day.” — Steven Pressfield

“Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.” — Steven Pressfield

“Don’t think. Act. ” — Steven Pressfield

“A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.” — Steven Pressfield

“Start before you’re ready. Good things happen when we start before we’re ready.” — Steven Pressfield

“Stay stupid. Follow your unconventional crazy heart.” — Steven Pressfield

“Ignorance and arrogance are the artist and entrepreneur’s indispensable allies. She must be clueless enough to have no idea how difficult her enterprise is going to be—and cocky enough to believe she can pull it off anyway.” — Steven Pressfield

I like the idea of stubbornness because it’s less lofty than “tenacity” or “perseverance.” We don’t have to be heroes to be stubborn. We can just be pains in the butt.” — Steven Pressfield

“Once we commit to action, the worst thing we can do is to stop.What will keep us from stopping? Plain old stubbornness.” — Steven Pressfield

“Research can become Resistance. We want to work, not prepare to work.” — Steven Pressfield

“Get to THE END as if the devil himself were breathing down your neck and poking you in the butt with his pitchfork. Believe me, he is.” — Steven Pressfield

“Figure out where you want to go, then work backwards from there.” — Steven Pressfield

“You are not allowed to judge yourself. Suspending self-judgment doesn’t just mean blowing off the “You suck” voice in our heads. It also means liberating ourselves from conventional expectations—from what we think our work “ought” to be or “should” look like.” — Steven Pressfield


There will be Failure Along the Way – This is Guaranteed

“That our project has crashed is not a reflection of our worth as human beings. It’s just a mistake. It’s a problem—and a problem can be solved.” — Steven Pressfield

“A crash means we have failed. We gave it everything we had and we came up short. A crash does not mean we are losers… A crash means we are on the threshold of something new.” — Steven Pressfield

“We can never eliminate Resistance. It will never go away. But we can outsmart it, and we can enlist allies that are as powerful as it is.” — Steven Pressfield


Why Fight the Dragon of Resistance?

“There is an enemy. There is an intelligent, active, malign force working against us. Step one is to recognize this. This recognition alone is enormously powerful. It saved my life, and it will save yours.” — Steven Pressfield

“If you and I want to do great stuff, we can’t let ourselves work small.” — Steven Pressfield

“When we conquer our fears, we discover a boundless, bottomless, inexhaustible well of passion.” — Steven Pressfield

“Picasso painted with passion, Mozart composed with it. A child plays with it all day long. You may think you’ve lost your passion, or that you can’t identify it, or that you have so much of it, it threatens to overwhelm you. None of these is true.” — Steven Pressfield

“Slay that dragon once, and he will never have power over you again.” — Steven Pressfield

‘Call Me Ted’ Book Review

A visionary entrepreneur tells his extraordinary story.

In 1984 – when my parents were one of the first cable subscribers on a tiny Caribbean island – I had no idea that CNN was a fledgling cable network. It is easy to assume that rich, powerful, outspoken Southern billionaires such as Ted Turner have always been so. Not quite.

Ted Turner was once a rambunctious, badly behaved boy who was chucked off to boarding schools at a very tender age, expelled  several times, and repeatedly physically abused by a controlling alcoholic father. Despite his harsh childhood, there is no pity party in his autobiography ‘Call Me Ted‘. He tells the story of his challenging younger days with brevity and a matter of fact quality.

And then come the details of his staggering accomplishments. The trajectory goes like this: troubled child – college dropout – multi-billionaire. He was forced to eat humble pie by joining his father’s billboard business, but then went on to win the America’s Cup, start a cable network and eventually CNN, own the Atlanta Braves, become an exceedingly wealthy person and the largest single landowner in the United States. He even gave a billion dollars to the United Nations.

The story is so astounding, like a work of pop fiction, it is almost unbelievable. He is passionate, outspoken and in many ways a stubborn brat. How did he do it? Vision, belief in his dream and hard work. It makes your head spin, but the failures and frailties are candidly presented too.

An important part of the book is the space given to key persons in his life, including ex-wife Jane Fonda and arch-enemies to share their uncensored thoughts on him and their experiences with him. The book is so much richer for it.

I now have both a healthy respect and deep admiration for this extraordinary man – entrepreneur, visionary, humanitarian: a living legend.

‘Night’ Book Review


[easyreview cat1title=”Quick Rating” cat1detail=”A haunting tribute to the power and beauty of the human spirit. ” cat1rating=”5.0″]

Night is Elie Wiesel’s autobiographical account of holocaust survival. Summon your courage and brace yourself emotionally for the coming onslaught of cruelty inflicted by Hitler on European Jews through an incredibly dark moment in human history.

The first thing that struck me was the purity of autobiographical account being told by Eliezer, a 14-year old Jewish boy living in Transylvanian town of Sighet. As the war raged and the Nazi atrocities mounted, the Jews in that town lived ignorantly contented lives – optimistic that war would soon be over and with a feeling of blissful insulation from its terrors.

Elie Wiesel’s language is plain, devoid of embellishment and his voice throughout the book is matter-of-fact. There is no colorful language to make the pungent odors or the heat emanating from the crematoriums of Auschwitz any more real. His retelling is haunting nonetheless.

This memoir of the daily fight for survival, the personal inner battles to preserve compassion, conscience and religion is a hopeful one. It is no surprise that the author, Elie Wiesel, went on to win the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize. The power and beauty of human spirit in the face of the dehumanizing brutality of a monstrous regime is deeply inspiring.

‘The Good Earth’ Book Review

An worthwhile foray into the agrarian world of pre-Revolution China

Published in 1931, “The Good Earth” is the first in “The House of Earth” trilogy. The book was awarded the Pulitzer prize in 1932, and its author, Pearl S. Buck went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

This is the beautifully written story of Wang Lung, a Chinese farmer with a deep and enduring love for his land. The story spans his lifetime from young adulthood until his old age near his death. The setting is rural pre-Revolution China. The language is simple and dispassionate. The characters are flawed but richly presented. The themes are universal, timeless and filled with irony. It is a story of the passions that drive all human beings to achievement and often to tragedy and destruction. The author takes us on an emotional journey of ambition, survival, the attainment of wealth, self-sacrifice, family, the abandonment of traditional values and of lust.

The contrast between modern Western culture and the Chinese agrarian culture at that time is striking, and I perceived that the story contained a faint thread of disdain for that society’s treatment of women. I found the author’s subtle superiority slightly unsettling. I thoroughly enjoyed the book but found that while the author presents the characters and customs with affection, she remains firmly an outsider with a voice tainted, almost imperceptibly, common to Western writers who find themselves immersed in an alien culture.

‘Tuck Everlasting’ Book Review

A gem of a book for younger readers.
A ten-year old girl, a toad and a family who stumbles upon everlasting life.

Tuck Everlasting‘ is a magical book that grapples with that age-old topic of human fascination – immortality. Winnie Foster meets the Tuck family who have drunk from a spring that gives eternal life – and Winnie has the chance to drink from that spring too – and live forever.

There are also other themes explored in a remarkably mature way: greed, deception, temptation, murder, loneliness, the perfect cycle of life and the true meaning of friendship. This is the kind of story that will allow younger readers to reflect upon life and to develop their ability to reason by taking the consequences of their actions into full consideration. The choices we make are the ones we may have to live with forever.

The story continues at a good pace and is engaging throughout. Natalie Babbitt does a wonderful job of developing the key characters such that we develop a true fondness for them. This is a profound gem of a book, not just for kids.

‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ Book Review

A masterpiece. Alexandre Dumas was a genius.

Published in 1846 as a serial novel, ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ is truly an epic tale – 117 chapters and 1,200 pages long. Translated from the original French, and set primarily in post-Napoleonic France, it tells the story of Edmond Dantes.

We witness Edmond’s transformation from wide-eyed 19-year old sailor, about to become captain of his own ship and marry beautiful Mercedes, the girl of his dreams, to a prisoner, a victim of treachery forgotten in a dungeons of the infamous Chateau d’If, to one of the most enigmatic and multi-layered characters ever written – fabulously wealthy, awesomely powerful and patiently bent on the cleverest, darkest revenge.

Spanning the course of 24 years, this is a saga so rich, so intricate and so enveloping, it makes movies’ attempts to capture masterpieces in the space of a few hours laughable. The reader is mesmerized from the very first chapter. We are sickened by the plots of Edmond’s jealous friends and colleagues plotting his demise. We sense the imminent danger that our guilelessly lovable protagonist is in, but we read on, because we know things will not end well for those who have done wrong as they are steered unknowingly along the inexorable course of fate. With brilliantly rich characters and surprisingly interconnected events, the masterful plot develops seamlessly and with great eloquence and beauty.

Dumas weaves a timelessly brilliant work that captures every facet of human nature and life; it is a story of intrigue, greed and revenge, but also of generosity and determination, self-examination and forgiveness, restoration, redemption and love.

200 Words or Less – Einstein: His Life and Universe

For it’s engaging style, and endearing story-line, highly recommended!

Walter Isaacson’s biography of Albert Einstein is an awesome book!

In this exploration of the most important scientist of the 20th century, Isaacson presents us with a wonderfully engaging introduction to the intriguing world of quantum mechanics.

We are taken on an entertaining journey through Einstein’s life from his earliest years until his death. The shroud of mystery is removed and the reader is left awestruck at his genius, but also his humanity.

This book is a must read for anyone who loves science or is a fan of the biography genre. It is one of my all-time favorite books.

3 Things To Do Before Picking A Fight

© 3RiiN at deviantART.com


Fight or Flight – Silence or Violence

When someone disappoints us, it isn’t always easy to stop and figure out what went wrong. We are far more likely to jump to conclusions, blame the other person, then either silently fume or angrily drag them over the coals. This is the beginning of conflict. To many of us, every possible confrontation has only two options: fight or flight.

Although we know better, many of us are often too afraid to speak up. We choose to sweep the issue under the carpet to avoid the threat of being embarrassed. We may resort to dropping subtle hits, changing the subject or becoming withdrawn. We default to silence rather than broach a topic we know to be of critical importance. We may be aware that if we say nothing the problem will get worse, but instead we agonize in our own private hell.

On the other hand, sometimes we’re amped up for an altercation. Bring on the battle, we say.  Desperate to prevent our thoughts from being overlooked, we attack. We cut others off, employing debate, insults, threats and sometimes even physical violence to get our point across. As a result, our position is resisted all the more vehemently.

People Who Know How to Fight Win

The ability or inability to handle conflict lies at the heart of success or failure in almost every relationship, whether personal or professional. The failure to manage confrontations effectively can lead to disaster. Businesses fail, family members become enemies and marriages end up in shreds because disputes were either conducted poorly or not at all. People who know how to fight, approach confrontations carefully, lead them skillfully and walk away with clear benefits over not having had the fight.  Those who don’t know how to fight bring the drama time and time again. Their actions become the kind of fodder that fuels the ridicule and cheap laughs we love to hate on reality TV.

The most influential, and well-respected people are those who approach conflict as an opportunity to hold others accountable in a respectful and well thought out manner. They skillfully execute confrontations with friends, family, colleagues and bosses knowing which fights to take on, which ones to delay and which ones are better left alone.

Here’s a three step process, to help you bridge the proverbial “fight or flight” impasse, and decide what to do before responding to any potential conflict that arises.

1. Identify the Problem Clearly

When someone disappoints you, emotions may run high. Quite often, allowing situations to fester is a risky proposition. In some circumstances, remaining silent can lead to disaster. If you are truly seeking to achieve a positive outcome and reverse a trend of bad behavior, you must start by clearly identifying what has gone wrong.

The goal of your interaction should never be for you to vent your anger or assert authority over the other person. ‘Crucial Confrontations‘ advises that you should first unbundle the problem, decide what about it is bothering you most, and finally distill it into a single clear sentence. This very simple technique will help you to focus on the real issue and prevent conversations from straying off topic.

If you know exactly what behavior you would like to address, there is little or no risk of taking cheap potshots once the session has started.

2. Decide Whether the Problem Requires A Confrontation

After expressing the issue as one clear thought, ask yourself whether it is really necessary to discuss the matter. Consider the possible consequences of an interaction before bringing it up.

Failure to meet performance indicators, missed deadlines and broken promises are all good opportunities to talk. If you feel inclined to be silent, ask yourself some questions. If you’re feeling inner tension, if your conscience is nagging you, if you are feeling afraid or if you are feeling helpless, then you probably need to speak up.

Downplaying the cost of not taking action, or exaggerating the consequences of broaching the topic are not valid reasons for backing away. One of the biggest considerations in deciding if to speak is evaluating the status quo. What would be the result if the  behavior in question were to continue indefinitely? It is often useful to differentiate yourself by clearly in advance by letting those around you know where you stand with regard to commitments and expectations. This way, your holding them accountable will not come as a surprise.

3. Put Yourself in the Other Person’s Shoes

You’ve zeroed in on the issue, and decided it is worth addressing, here is the last and probably the most important step. Before you broach the subject, put yourself in the others person’s shoes.

Force yourself to go through a detailed process of asking “Why?”. Ask why a reasonable, rational, decent person might do what you’ve just seen. Think about all the possible reasons why the person acted the way they did, or failed to act. Consider the facts and circumstances you know about, and the ones you may be unaware of.

What are all the possible influencing factors? Make a list: work load demands, school assignments, family obligations. Next, think of what might have influenced the person; look at carrot and stick motives within the contexts you’ve identified. Finally, think about limitations that may have been at play and the person’s ability to behave in the way you expected, before opening your mouth.



When someone acts badly or fails to live up to a commitment, your response options are not limited to silence or violence. You can choose whether to address the situation from the point of view of exploring expectations and clarifying accountability in three steps. First, pinpoint the core issue and express it in one sentence. Next, assess whether it is important enough to call for a discussion. Finally, put yourself in the other person’s shoes and explore all the possible motives and limitations that may have influenced their decision or behavior.


I’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts

In the coming months, I will continue to discuss how to handle conflict in a meaningful way. In the comments section below, let me know if you have any questions, and if this post has been helpful. Do you feel you can practically apply these suggestions in your life? Do you have any other tips to offer?


Anna Karenina: The Beauty and Tragedy of Life

Anna Karenina by Lucio Palmeri for Dolce & Gabbana

Anna Karenina has been on my must read list for many years. I have been keeping lists – and book lists in particular – since my first summer journal at eight years old. The epic Russian novel appears at the top of many top ten novels lists and has been referred to as “flawless” and “the greatest novel ever written” by two of the most celebrated novelists of our time.

I have owned a copy of Anna Karenina for about ten years. If I have made any attempt at all to read it, I have never gotten much past the first sentence, which is one of the most iconic quotes from the book “All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”. Last Sunday, realizing for the first time that there has been yet another movie remake – this one starring Kiera Knightly and Jude Law – I decided I’d better read the book before “accidentally” catching it on television.

Tolstoy’s world is mid-to-late nineteenth century Imperial Russia. The primary characters live lavish and eminently superficial lifestyles. Their daily existence is a whirlwind of sparkling balls featuring hair-pieced chignons piled high, and decadently luxurious boudoirs where the aristocratic Russian society of Moscow and St. Petersburg affectedly pepper their speech with French. In stark contrast to the elaborate, but constricted life of the city is pastoral Russia. The agrarian countryside has expansive landscapes, rich soil and an unending sky.

Tolstoy’s romantic masterpiece is as vivid as it is relatable. The book captures the imagination with its straightforward and exact language. Tolstoy stops time as he bores into his characters’ every thought, motive, and facial twitch, even as dialogue is being exchanged. It is a romance – admittedly not my favorite genre – but juicy from the get-go with marital infidelity, unrequited love and a tragic love affair.

The novel is sweeping, with at least two dozen named characters whose lives spiral around the two central protagonists – Anna Karenina and Tolstoy’s alter ego, Konstantin Levin. Tolstoy peers not only into the lives of a few rich 19th century Russians, but into the whole of humanity. The novel has stood the test of time because it reminds us that even the most desirable of circumstances may be unbearable, that bumps in the road may still lead to happy endings, that glamor and frivolity are but fleeting joys, and that family and real love are worth crying for, fighting for, striving for, waiting for.

Anna Karenina is a celebration of human frailty and redemption. Tolstoy says its okay to be flawed, its okay to make mistakes, just keep trying. We see that there are infinite possibilities in life, but we indeed choose our own path. Without seeking to reduce a 150-year old, 900-page classic tome to a few epithets, Anna Karenina is a celebration of life – its beauty and its tragedy – and all the meaning there is to be found, if only we will choose to see it.

A Century of Wisdom: 34 Quotes from the World’s Oldest Living Holocaust Survivor

Monday, November 26, 2012 – Alice Herz Sommer celebrates her 109th birthday. Living alone in a small London apartment, this amazing woman is the world’s oldest living holocaust survivor. A former concert pianist, Alice has been playing the piano since she was five years old. Using only eight fingers, Alice still practices for hours every day. Alice’s story is a testament to the power of the human spirit. She and her six-year old son survived two years in the Nazi concentration camp of Theresienstadt, escaping almost certain death. She has witnessed unspeakable cruelty, watching hundreds go to their deaths in the gas chambers or through sickness and starvation. And yet, this living hero has never stopped smiling. This ever-laughing centenarian credits her longevity to a lifetime of optimism.

In commemoration of Alice’s 109th birthday, I would like to share with you some of the wisdom of Alice Herz Sommer – gained from living nearly 40,000 of the most richly textured days.


Alice Herz Sommer – On Education

School is only the beginning; we can learn all our lives.

No one can rob your mind.

Education of the children is the most important family value.

Alice Herz Sommer – On Friendship

I love people. I am interested in the lives of others.

Understanding of others can lead to peace.

We do not need things, friends are precious.

Be kind, kindness is free, it costs you nothing, and the rewards are great for everyone.

Alice Herz Sommer – On Laughter

A sense of humor keeps us balanced in all circumstances, even death.

Laugher is wonderful. It makes you, and everyone else feel happy.

Alice Herz Sommer – On Life

We need to treasure time. Every moment that passes is gone forever.

Only when we are old do we realize the beauty of life.

Everything we experience is a gift. Everything is a present.

I have lived through many wars and have lost everything many times – including my husband, my mother and my beloved son. Yet, life is beautiful, and I have so much to learn and enjoy.

Alice Herz Sommer – On Marriage

In marriage, friendship is more important than romantic love.

Alice Herz Sommer – On Motherhood

How can any woman ever be unhappy after she has seen her infant’s first smile?

It was my greatest privilege to raise my son.

A mother’s love is a child’s only fortress against the world, come what may.

Alice Herz Sommer – On Music

I am richer than the world’s richest people, because I am a musician.

Children must study music, it helps with everything in life.

Music saved my life and music saves me still.

There was no food. Music was our food. Through music we were kept alive.

Alice Herz Sommer – On Optimism

My optimism has helped me through my darkest days. It helps me now.

Always look for the good things in life: the world is wonderful, it’s full of beauty and miracles.

When you are optimistic, when you are not complaining, when you look at the good side of your life, everybody loves you.

Every day in life is beautiful – if we only look up from our reality.

Alice Herz Sommer – On Parenting

Reason with your children, never use harsh words.

Patience, kindness and love, this is the food a child needs.

To survive, a child must never, never doubt your love.

Children need unconditional love to grow and develop into full human beings.

School is important, but what children learn in the atmosphere of their homes lasts for life.

Alice Herz Sommer – To Single Women

Have sex. Have fun. Have someone in your life, but don’t tie yourself down in marriage. Cherish your freedom… Take care of your career, your life.

Alice Herz Sommer – On Work

Love to work. When you love your work, you are never bored. Boredom is unhealthy.

When we love our work, we can enjoy a sense of achievement, every small achievement.

Work is the best invention.

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post ‘Today I’m Inspired by: Alice Herz Sommer‘ about Alice’s awe-inspiring life, and and some of the lessons we can learn from her. Very recently, I was contacted by Caroline Stoessinger, the author of ‘A Century of Wisdom‘ a touching biography of a Alice’s noteworthy life.

In honor of Alice’s 109th birthday, Ms. Stoessinger will be donating all the proceeds from the sale of her book to the Alice Herz-Sommer Scholarship Fund at the Music Academy of Jerusalem where Alice taught for 37 of her happiest years. Please consider buying and reading this wonderfully enriching biography of an extraordinary woman, and helping a worthy cause.