This I Believe: Life Lessons
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Inspiring life wisdom from people of all ages—based on the This I Believe radio program

The popular This I Believe series, which has aired on NPR and on Bob Edwards' shows on Sirius XM Satellite and public radio, explores the personal beliefs and guiding principles by which Americans live today. This book brings together treasured life lessons of people from all walks of life. Whether it's learning the power of saying hello or how courage comes with practice, their intimate reflections will inspire, move, and encourage you. Filled with the valuable insights distilled from a wide range of personal experiences, This I Believe: Life Lessons is a perfect gift—for others or for yourself.

  • Includes extraordinary essays written by "ordinary" people who share the story of an important lesson they have learned about life
  • Shares a wide range of beliefs and experiences from a diverse group of contributors, including a physician, a roller derby queen, a corporate executive, and a homeless person
  • Based on the popular This I Believe radio series and website

No matter what your age or circumstances, this book will give you valuable food for thought and important new insights on how others have learned from life's challenges.


DAN GEDIMAN is executive director of This I Believe, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that engages people in writing and sharing essays describing the core values that guide their daily lives. These short statements of belief have been featured on public radio since 2005. Gediman is the coeditor of the New York Times bestseller This I Believe, as well as This I Believe II, This I Believe: On Love, This I Believe: On Fatherhood and This I Believe: On Motherhood.

JOHN GREGORY is editorial director and MARY JO GEDIMAN is outreach director of This I Believe, Inc.


Introduction 1

The Power of Hello 5
Howard White

The Art of Being a Neighbor 8
Eve Birch

A Kind and Generous Heart 11
Christine Little

Make It Do 14
Patricia Anderson

Grace Is a Gift 17
Laura Durham

The Sisterhood of Roller Derby 20
Erin Blakemore

Caring Makes Us Human 23
Troy Chapman

Satisfaction with a Job Well Done 26
Nancy Pieters Mayfield

The World Is Imperfect 29
Suzanne Cleary

Peace Can Happen 32
Christine Kingery

A Priceless Lesson in Humility 36
Felipe Morales

Finding Out What’s under Second Base 39
Lex Urban

Accomplishing Big Things in Small Pieces 42
William Wissemann

I Have to See the World 45
Veena Muthuraman

Deciding to Live 49
Kij Johnson

Walking in the Light 52
Paul Thorn

The Perfect Merge 55
Lori Vermeulen

Listening Is Powerful Medicine 58
Alicia M. Conill,M.D.

Semper Fidelis 61
Andrew Paradis

Our Vulnerability Is Our Strength 64
Colin Bates

Patriotic Ponderings 67
Joan Skiba

Opening the Door of Mercy 70
Karin Round

The True Value of Life 73
Sudie Bond Noland

An Invitation to Dialogue 76
Madhukar Rao

Homeless but Not Hopeless: A Man Finds His Soul 79
Les Gapay

The Power of Sleep 82
Anne Hoppus

Where Wild flowers Grow 85
Maureen Crane Wartski

I Could Be Wrong 88
Allan Barger

Everyone Is Included 91
Catherine Mcdowall

A Lesson I Hold Dear 95
Kara Gebhart Uhl

A Taste of Success 98
Geoffrey Canada

A Grace of Silence 102
Andrew Flewelling

Do Talk to Strangers 105
Sabrina Dubik

Finding Our Common Ground 108
Robin Mize

Bus Chick’s Manifesto 111
Carla Saulter

Right Now Matters 114
Samantha Jacobs

Seeing with the Heart 117
Stephanie Disney

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace 120
Dani Weathers

The Triumph of Kindness 123
Josh Stein

Time to Walk the Dog 126
Betsy Buchalter Adler

Yankee Go Home 129
Rita Barrett

The Courage to Change the Things I Can 133
Mark Olmsted

To Hear Your Inner Voice 136
Christine Todd Whitman

Keep It Real 139
Rose Eiesland Foster

Important Strangers 142
Leslie Guttman

My Parents as Friends 146
Bhavani G. Murugesan

A Good Neighborhood 149
Jeff Nixa

Believing in People 152
Rebecca Klott

Becoming Friends 155
Larry Chaston

Just Say No 158
Jessica Paris

Courage Comes with Practice 161
Theresa Macphail

Adapting to the Possibilities of Life 164
Donald l. Rosenstein, M.D.

Why Are We Here? 167
Dale Long

A Drive to Achieve the Extraordinary 170
Juliet Frerking

Inviting the World to Dinner 173
Jim Haynes

Finding the Flexibility to Survive 176
Brighton Earley

The Act of Giving Thanks 179
Michelle Lee

Sally’s Monday 182
Patricia James

If You Don’t Do It, Who Will? 185
Jodi Webb

Here Comes (the Real) Santa Claus 188
Becky Sun

Appendix: How to Write Your Own This I Believe Essay 191

Acknowledgments 193