Learn by Living


Courtesy of Amazon (duh?)

Yesterday, I was channeling Mary Poppins, and I still have her 21st century bag.  Today, it’s all about Eleanor Roosevelt and her sage advice in You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life.   This is the… fourth selection by the JLC book club.   At some point, we’re going to have a reading list on our website, but for now, you’ll just have to take my word for it. 

I can’t believe I haven’t read this book before.  I’ve long admired Mrs. Roosevelt, one of the first Junior League members, and a woman whose intelligence and power was legendary.  I’ve highlighted nearly every page in my little Kindle edition, but my favorite quote comes in the forward.

“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes.”

Some of you know how deeply I believe that there are no coincidences and as such, we are the sum of the decisions – choices – we make.   This mother, former first lady, diplomat and more goes so far as to caution us to answer that annoying childhood “why” with patience and awareness, because how we respond dictates how the child doing the asking will come to regard learning.


Oh, it is preachy.  I find it motivating and though-provoking, but I’m sure others find it high and mighty and not grounded in the mundane that is “real life” for most of us.   But then, like the author, I was raised in a household where education meant the ability to formulate and support my own opinions, not just regurgitating facts.

In the late chapters, she gives advice on public service and even on politics.  But I still insist there’s something here for everyone.   Just look at the table of contents:

  1. Learning to Learn
  2. Fear – the Great Enemy
  3. The Uses of Time
  4. The Difficult Art of Maturity
  5. Readjustment is Endless
  6. Learning to be Useful
  7. The Right to be an Individual
  8. How to Get the Best Out of People
  9. Facing Responsibility
  10. How Everyone Can Take Part in Politics
  11. Learning to Be a Public Servant

It’s a beautiful book from what is perhaps a time gone by, but I find so much of it applicable today.   I’m glad it’s on my Kindle, because I’ll be able to pull it up on my iPhone, iPad, or even my computer when I want to quote the great lady!

What have you learned by living?






8 comments on “Learn by Living

  1. Nichole says:

    Sounds like a great book to read! I was hoping to get some reading time in on the cruise, but never once opened the Nook for any reading……..

  2. Katherine says:

    This sounds like a must read! DH and I have been talking about the need for this generation to be able to “reason to a logical conclusion.” If I can pass on anything from my education and life lessons to my grandchildren it would be that important lesson.

  3. AlisonH says:

    Over time, I’ve picked up on a few things. For instance. That having lost a good bit of my hearing in my teens, a time when children learn emotional language like they do spoken language in toddlerhood, I had to learn to read nonverbal cues to make up the difference. And I am so grateful I got that education.

  4. Sue says:

    When I was in Russia we asked our guide about the Russian philosophy of life. Her answer was “Don’t trouble trouble till trouble troubles you”. I came home and did a cross stitch of it which I will post one of these days.

  5. kathy boyer says:

    I”d like to read the chapter on the USes of Time..

    Ive learned by living:
    Everybody’s got a story. And everybody want’s Christmas off. And everybody aint gonna get it off

  6. Mary says:

    Learned: Listening is more important than talking.

  7. Ruth says:

    Oh…! You know, it’s by birth month…..I should have this! Learned? Some days I think I haven’t learned anything…which just happens to be learning something.

  8. Marjie says:

    I’ve never been a fan of Eleanor. Too much Noblesse Oblige in her attitude, which doesn’t work for regular folk. That, of course, if a problem caused by being a child of privilege. But I am laughing at Kathy Boyer’s life lessons. So true!

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