BOOK REVIEW: “What I Know for Sure”


Death and taxes.

That’s what your father used to say were the only things in life that you could count on. Neither one was escapable; both were consistent.

< p>You can also bet that night will follow day and that there’s good in the world somewhere. You know rules were meant to be broken and hearts can mend.

And after listening to “What I Know for Sure” by Oprah Winfrey, you’ll learn a few other things you can pretty well rely on.

Years ago, during an interview, the great Gene Siskel asked Oprah Winfrey what she knew for sure. Winfrey was “at a complete loss for words…”

“At the end of the day,” she says, “what exactly do I know for sure?”

The answer was in 14 years’ worth of her magazine columns – and in this book.

When she had Tina Turner on her show, for instance, Winfrey was nervous and self-conscious about being Turner’s back-up dancer – until, “in an instant,” she realized the joy of seizing the moment.

Enjoy yourself, she says, “because this moment is about to be over.”

Or take the word “delicious.” Winfrey says it applies to experiences and to foods – and “I know for sure that a meal that brings… real joy will do you more good” than just grazing through the refrigerator.

And, for sure, there’s no law that says you have to clean your plate.

Treasure your neighbors and friends, she says, and take time to play. Read books. Look for connections with others, but remember that you control your own life.

Know that who you are supposed to be has a lot to do with who you are now. Communicate, but know when to be quiet. Understand that love doesn’t have to be in the romantic sense.

Learn the power of “thank you” – and that includes gratitude for yourself and the body you’ve got. Take care of that body. Embrace growing older. Look for miracles. Be ready to give, but learn to say “no.”

And remember: “If you’re holding anyone else accountable for your happiness, you’re wasting your time.” Be fearless. Be compassionate. “Keep moving.”

I’m always of the mind that an audiobook is better when read by its author. In this case, “What I Know for Sure” is a double delight because… well, it’s Oprah.

Indeed, I couldn’t imagine anyone other than author Oprah Winfrey presenting this book – in part, because only Winfrey can relay the excitement we know well from her TV shows; and in part, because she adds so much emotion to this audiobook.

We feel the joy, the heartbreak, and the fun about which she talks – but don’t think for a minute that this book is just fluffy. No, there’s solid advice inside here, ideas that are useful for anyone, and stories that are perfectly entertaining.

This is an easy audiobook to listen to because it’s filled with positivity and… well, it’s Oprah. And if you’re a fan, then “What I Know For Sure” is one I think you’ll love to death.

“What I Know for Sure” by Oprah Winfrey, c. 2014, Macmillan Audiobook from Flatiron Books, $24.99, 4 CDs, 4 hours.


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