book review: What I Know For Sure


I feel the need to start this review with a disclaimer: Prior to reading “What I Know For Sure” I would not have considered myself an Oprah fan. Aside from a broad sense of her mega-impact on media and general awareness about her talkshow + magazine, I don’t really know much else about the woman. So when I dove into this book  it was with an unbiased mindset.

In fact, It wan’t even until I did a bit of research for this post that I learned this book is a collection of columns from Oprah’s Magazine where she shares a message, often in form of a personal story, about what else? … what she knows for sure. So, if you’re a fan of those (monthly?) columns, no need to read further, you’ll approve of the book.

unspecified-5The entries in “What I Know For Sure” are categorized by theme: joy, clarity, awe, power, etc. Each chapter ranges in length from a paragraph to 2 pages long, so it’s a quick and easy read — the kind of book I gravitate toward after finishing a dense drama.

I learned quickly that Oprah is a force to be reckoned with and a major advocate for living life as unapologetically true to yourself as possible. “What I Know for Sure” is exactly what you’d expect a throng of life stories from a kind soul to be; emotional, welcoming, sometimes hilarious, well-worn and inspiring.

After finishing the 228 page book, many of its corners were dog-eared. And perhaps I’ll share another post, another time of what I learned for sure but for now I’ll just mention my biggest takeaway: the idea of “being connected.”

You know how that feeling of consciously living in the moment is often ripped away from you by Instagram, group texts or and endless work to-do list? Since reading this book I have found myself making a concentrated effort to let those stressors go. Even in simple moments like the drive home from the office I can hear Oprah’s words in my head and force myself to take a look at the houses I pass, notice the small changes of the seasons, contemplate whatever story NPR’s Marketplace is playing that day – instead of thinking about the next email I need to send – and for that alone I’m thankful I picked up this book on a whim (or perhaps subconsciously because the ultimate blogger Estee LaLonde mentioned it here). It’s not easy retraining your brain and actions to focus on the here and now, but thus far, I’m loving it.

Overall,  I can easily see myself pulling this book off the shelf when I need a nugget of positivity or empowerment. It’s the kind of book that gives you one of those “a-ha” moments (that Kailyn informed me  Oprah is famous for — in fact the phrase was added to the dictionary because of her, cool!) after almost every turn of the page. Hopefully one day, I’ll have some of my own wisdom to add to a book like “What I Know For Sure,” but for now, I’d say Oprah’s got it covered.

One sentence summary: Some things are worth more (and last longer) than a free car.

– Crystal


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