I’ll go ahead and give What I Know Now About Success: Letters from Extraordinary Women to Their Younger Selvesa mixed review – not unusual for a book that’s a collection of essays.

It’s a collection of letters that successful women would write to themselves at a younger age. Some are inspiring and great reminders that failure can lead to success. Reading those were freeing – made me realize that I don’t need to be stuck in what I’m doing now, and that I can do something radically different. I could, if I wanted, pick up and move and start over somewhere else. They’re also reminders that I do not need to attach my value to a relationship. Being single is far better than being trapped by someone who isn’t right for me.

But some of the essays…well. Did I really need to read about so many cosmetics company founders? All that BS about how cosmetics make people feel pretty is hard to swallow. I don’t look up to a woman who introduced Chinese women to make up. Not at all. I skipped some of those cosmetics essays, and I’m not sure Suzanne Somers should be held up as a role model.

The book is hit or miss. But the hits? Worth reading.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.

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