"Take This Advice" delivers thirty of the most powerful commencement speeches given in the past ten years. With grace and humor, this generation's favorite writers, performers, and thinkers address graduates to celebrate their greatest achievement, and to let them know that life after school is not, as many suspect, the end of the world.
Graduates will appreciate the mix of poignancy and irreverence in these timeless messages from speakers such as Will Ferrell, Bill Cosby, Seamus Heaney, Dennis Lehane, Toni Morrison, Robert Pinsky, Gloria Steinem, Sting, and many others.
Actors, comedians, and authors (or in Al Franken's case, all of the above) offer levity when we need it most. Franken says, "For some reason, commencement speakers, almost all of whom have been selected because of their notable achievements, love to warn about the fraudulence of success. This spring countless graduates of other universities have been told, 'It's lonely at the top.' It's not. Believe me. It's much, much lonelier at the bottom."
Whether it's President George W. Bush offering hope -- "And to the C students, I say: You, too, can be president of the United States" -- or former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright calling for a government that "understands that international economic and social progress depends on respect for women and women's rights," there is something for readers of any political persuasion.
Internationally renowned novelist Salman Rushdie describes a world in which people often find themselves tempted by deities of all sorts -- finance, convention, and custom -- and he inspires us to defy those gods, to stand up for what we believeand do what is in our hearts, no matter the risk.
In "Take This Advice," Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt, a living embodiment of the American dream, quotes Oscar Wilde: "The best thing to do with advice is to give it to someone else...."
You know a graduate -- what are you waiting for?