Common Sense Breeds Wisdom
Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 9:08AM

We can rail against our advancing age and the aches and pains that accompany it. But age perks exist. Beyond the obvious advantages of discounts when shopping or dining, age has wisdom to offer in exchange for a few wrinkles and a little snow on the roof.

Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart by Gordon Livingston, M.D., discusses thirty true things you need to know now. I found this book in a bargain bin at Barnes and Noble. It is one of the best finds I have ever bought. It will remain on my book shelf as a reference to daily living.

I was hooked with the first chapter - If the map doesn't agree with the ground, the map is wrong. As profound a truth as the definition of insanity, repeating the same actions expecting different results. Livingston, a graduate of West Point and John Hopkins School of Medicine, contributes life lessons in this book filled with small and big insights into our behavior.

A few of my favorites:

• Any relationship is under the control of the person who cares the least.

• The most secure prisons are those we construct for ourselves.

• Happiness is the ultimate risk.

• Forgiveness is a form of letting go, but they are not the same thing.

• Feelings follow behavior.

Insights fill the pages, along with personal anecodotes from Livingston. He speaks candidly about the tragic death of his two sons, as well his experience as therapist. I found the book to be a wonderful example of human nature, hope, despair, failure and success, grief and happiness.

Article originally appeared on Eularee Smith • Writer & Educator in Eugene, Oregon (
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