Saturday, January 07, 2012

“Dear Me – A Letter To My Sixteen-Year-Old Self” by Joseph Galliano - a review

I have finished reading “Dear Me – A Letter To My Sixteen-Year-Old Self” by Joseph Galliano. A small book of about 125 pages put out by Atria Books – 2011. Something to knock out in an evening. Dear Me is a really interesting and simple concept. If you could write a letter to your 16 year-old self now, what would you say? Joseph Galliano asked a ton of celebrities to do just that, and got replies from 75 of them so he was able to produce this book as a result. The book has facsimiles of letters and notes written, a lot are handwritten, by 75 “celebrities”. Most of the celebrities referred to I have never heard of. I guess you can say Joseph Galliano technically edited the book, but didn’t write it. Interestingly there was no Joseph Galliano letter to his 16 year old self. He has an added catch of saying a dollar of the purchase price will be donated to Doctors Without Borders. J. K. Rowling did the foreword and a letter in the book. The letters vary in length from Steve Vai (10 time Grammy nominee and three-time Grammy winner, I have never heard of him)– To young Steve, You’re doing just fine From Old Steve. To 4 pages from Jodi Picoult (author – Never heard of her). The letters offer advice, give warnings and share words of comfort, humor and love. Some, who are a success today, you have to feel sorry for their life at 16. Overall I am glad I got the book from the Delmar Library instead of buying it as frankly it was not that interesting. On the other hand as short as it is it doesn't take to much out of your life. But the concept of the book -what would you tell your 16 year old self - is quite interesting. Mine of course would include such nuggets as buy gold and Berkshire Hathaway Inc stock.

So if you wrote to your 16 year old self it brings up an interesting discussion of;

First the violation of Starfleet General Order 1: "No starship may interfere with the normal development of any alien life or society."

and second Edward Lorenz's chaos theory of the butterfly effect where a small change at one place in a nonlinear system can result in large differences to a later state.

In others words would your life still turn out to be a success if you had read a letter from the future from your future-self.

I have often heard people say if I did this or that at an earlier time in my life I would be really successful. Since none of us can predict the future or have much control over it the odds of more success by taking a different bend in the road may not turn out that way, if anything unforeseen life forces may act on you.

A friend of mine has mentioned to me if when he was in the army he wish he had went ahead and took up their offer to go to Officer's school. He felt that would have made his life more successful. I told him it may not have, instead imagine the scenario of instead of spending his army term in Germany as a non-commissioned officer, by becoming an officer he may well have been sent to Vietnam and died or became mangled there.

Simply put you just have to play the Hand You’re Dealt.

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