This book, by far, is the one that has impacted me the most. Though Marden's writing is choppy to me at times and, therefore, hard to follow it contains so many nuggets of wisdom that I would recommend this book to every adult.
Some of my favorite quotes from the book:
"Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great." These words were speaking directly to me. I am very good at waiting for the extraordinary opportunities. For example, having fun. I wait for vacation to really play with and enjoy my children; a girls-weekend out to relax and let my hair down; the ability to afford college to get my education, when the truth is I can seize common occasions and make them great. I can put down the dish rag and seize a few minutes to really play with my children. I can spend 5 minutes laughing with a friend on the phone or create a spontaneous "play date." I can read a book today, right now, and learn instead of waiting, waiting, waiting.
(chapter 3)"Many a father's son," says Thurlow Weed, " has found the best opportunities for mental improvement in his intervals of leisure while tending 'sap bush'." Who am I to complain of not having any time to study? These "farmer's boys" kept a book in their back pocket and read any chance they got. I can do the same. I can listen to audio books while I'm doing my mundane chores like folding laundry or driving to the store. I can keep a book in my purse always so that I can seize an opportunity to read while waiting in line or waiting for Karate to get over, or whenever I am just waiting, waiting, waiting.
(chapter 3) I love the story of William Lloyd Garrison. "In the first issue of his paper, Garrison urged an immediate emancipation, and called down upon his head the wrath of the entire community. He was arrested and sent to jail." After spending 49 days there did he relinquish his plan of securing freedom for slaves? No! "In Boston, with no money, friends, or influence, in a little upstairs room, Garrison started the 'liberator' " And he included this declaration in the very first issue:
"I will be as harsh as truth, as uncompromising as justice. I am in earnest. I
will not equivocate. I will not excuse; I will not retreat a single inch, and I will
(chapter 8) "Great advantages bring great responsibilities. You cannot divorce them." It seems today that our society tries to avoid responsibilities or at least does not take them very seriously. Children are neglected. Civic duty isn't even thought about. Paying one's debts is no longer a matter of honor - "we'll just file bankruptcy." Am I to behave in a similar manner? I have been blessed with so many great advantages: the gospel, good parents, a wonderful husband, healthy children, food, knowledge, etc." I have a responsibility to take care of my blessings and to pass on what I can to others. I can choose to do nothing, but I still cannot divorce my responsibilities. I will be held accountable for them one day.