Synopses & Reviews
Psychiatrist Dr. Gordon Livingston, who began his medical career serving as a physician in the Vietnam War, has spent the past thirty years "listening to other people's most intimate secrets and troubles." He has also endured his own fair share of loss and sorrow-losing two of his sons, one to leukemia, another to suicide. Over many years, Livingston has come to recognize 30 truths that we all need to learn before it's too late. Some of these truths are that we are what we do; any relationship is under the control of the person who cares the least; control is a popular illusion; forgiveness is a form of letting go, the statute of limitations has expired on most of our childhood traumas. With clear-headed, beautifully crafted prose, Livingston deploys his acutely sensitive heart and brilliant mind, underscoring the commonalities that course through every individual human life.
For everyone who feels a sense of urgency about improving his or her life and is looking for wise advice on how to comprehend and navigate an increasingly complex, unsettled world, Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart will elicit laughter, tears, and a newly focused appreciation for the precious and perilous gift of life.
"Livingston's words feel true, and his wisdom hard-earned. Among the many blithe and hollow self-help books available everywhere, this book stands out as a jewel." Publishers Weekly
"[Gordon Livingston's] life has been touched by fire, and his motives are absolutely pure." Mark Helprin, author of A Soldier of the Great War and Winter's Tale
Psychiatrist Livingston has spent the past three decades "listening to other people's most intimate secrets and troubles." Having endured his own fair share of loss and sorrow, Livingston has come to recognize 30 truths that everyone needs to learn before it's too late.
After service in Vietnam as a surgeon in 1968-69, Dr. Gordon Livingston returned to the U.S. and began work as a psychiatrist. In that capacity, he has listened to people talk about their lives and the limitless ways that they have found to be unhappy. He is also a parent twice bereaved. In one thirteen-month period, he lost his eldest son to suicide, his youngest to leukemia. Out of a lifetime of experience, Livingston has extracted thirty bedrock truths: We are what we do. Any relationship is under the control of the person who cares the least. The perfect is the enemy of the good. Only bad things happen quickly. Forgiveness is a form of letting go, but they are not the same thing. The statute of limitations has expired on most of our childhood traumas. Livingston illuminates these and twenty-four others in perfectly calibrated essays, many of which emphasize our closest relationships and the things that we do to impede or enhance them. These writings underscore that "we are what we do," and that while there may be no escaping who we are, we have the capacity to face loss, misfortune, and regret, and to move beyond them.
About the Author
Livingston is a graduate of West Point and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He has been a physician since 1967.