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.
Who but someone who's lived both the highs and lows of life can give advice to seekers of wisdom and truth? Narrator James Jenner guides the listener through the 30 truths of life and human relationships gleaned by Livingston from his work in psychiatry and his own life. Livingston has certainly experienced trials--from his service in the Vietnam War to the deaths of two of his sons--which have given him the insight and the ability to impart true wisdom. Jenner's slow, even pace lets listeners feel the emotions in Livingston's story. Those looking to change the direction of their lives should listen now before they're too soon old. R.O. © AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine