This is the bestselling book that kicked off a whole series which gathers together over 80 extraordinary people, from all over the world and vastly different backgrounds, and asks them “If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?” (Who wouldn’t like the opportunity to go back and say to their younger self: “Eat better, exercise more, invest in Apple”?)
The book then puts down their incredible answers next to a delightfully nerdy photo of each person in their younger days – complete with paisley flares, shoulder pads or really nasty mullet – just so all this wisdom never gets to smug or preachy. The result is a book full of conversational wisdome is sometimes funny, often moving, and always incredibly valuable.
What I Wish I Knew at Eighteen is also a timely reminder to spend more time communicating on a deeper level with the people around us. Everyday life can be so busy we only skim the surface with those we know and love but this book proves that, if we do take the time to talk and really listen, we can learn so much about life and ourselves.
Some of the people in What I Wish I Knew at Eighteen are obvious choices, famous for outstanding performance in their chosen field. For example, we spoke to Rugby League coach, Wayne Bennett, Stand Up Comic and Actor, Anh Do, two world renown chefs, David Thompson and Neil Perry, and Comic Actor Mary Coustas. But this is not yet another book worshipping the cult of celebrities, only a dozen or so people are well known and they were chosen for their life experience, not their fame. Most people in our book are unsung heroes who have stumbled onto a universal truth simply by embracing life with all its challenges and triumphs.
Our youngest person is 25 and our oldest is 86. We’ve interviewed a 911 survivor, a radical feminist turned buddhist nun working with prisoners on death row, a man who was sent to the Siberian work camps at age 1, a teen mum, a breast cancer survivor, a kidney transplant recipient, an Indian South African woman who grew up through the apartheid era, a protestant and a catholic from Northern Ireland and a man in a wheelchair since age 22 after a rugby accident. The list goes on and on.
What I Wish I Knew at Eighteen has taught us that everyone’s story is important; everyone’s life can make a difference.
No one has all the answers, but we’ve all got a few.