November 03, 2015
1 min read

The Best Advice in Six Words

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When you need advice there’s no shortage of places to get it or people offering to give it. There’s therapy, of course, but also shelves of self-help books and no end of pop psychology articles in magazines. And there are plenty of friends, family members, and colleagues ready to put in their two cents, too. But all these things take time. What can you do if you just want some instant wisdom?

Well, if you have time to read six words, some very wise people can give you the benefit of their experience.

That’s the conceit behind The Best Advice in Six Words: Writers Famous and Obscure on Love, Sex, Money, Friendship, Family, Work, and Much More (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2015) edited by Larry Smith, a follow-up to the bestselling six-word memoirs series and a companion to the SMITH Magazine Six Word Memoirs project website.

Some of the six words are glib, some are funny, some are poignant, and most are quite useful. Some are even written by doctors or particularly relevant to their lives. Contributors include a couple of MacArthur Genius grant recipients, academics, and people from the worlds of wellness, film, music, food, finance, and comedy.

The book contains one thousand entries, but at six words each the total word count is barely that of a long magazine article. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright contributed “Be an optimist who worries often.” While Dr. Andrew Rozmiarek (an Ohio anesthesiologist) wrote, “Panic is more dangerous than Ebola.” Other words of wisdom include: “Basic needs: backbone, wishbone, funny bone.” And: “For a minute, laughter cures everything.”

For 996 more of these gems you’ll have to check out the book, available on Amazon. You can also visit the website, where you can type in your own pithy six words for others to read.