Reviewed by Frank Pizzoli
A loving gesture by a father to reassure his children about life’s challenges
Words of Wisdom by Tilo Grieco stands apart from other quote books.
Although he put the book together for his children Dali and Jada, it’s a good read for any age. What makes his approach unique is that he adds the benefit of his own life experiences and subsequent observations to them. He provides his children and readers with context for life’s challenges.
Grieco presents the book in 25 categories, including Self Awareness, Authenticity, Courage, Love, Life, and more. Each section presents the oft-quoted words of a historical figure, author, philosopher, or bon vivant. Someone whose words of wisdom are often called upon in times of joy and turmoil.
For example, in the Life section, Grieco begins with a Pablo Picasso quote followed by similar quotes from Aldous Huxley and the Dalai Lama. Then his fatherly observations are provided. No complicated stratagems for success; just the telegraphic stuff of today’s quotable memes.
Grieco successfully combines a kaleidoscope of wisdoms in categories that can be read in any order. The book is about as perfect of a “pick it up, put it down” reader’s selection as you can ask for. No characters or plot lines to remember except your own stimulated thoughts provoked by the wisdom on the pages.
An amazing feature of the book is the way the author selects quotes issued by civilization’s bold face names that reflect a common theme. Who in their ruminations about life would put Abraham Lincoln and Lao Tzu together? Their pronouncements on leadership and recognition meld in an overlapping way, as do the sayings of Grieco’s selections in each category. His approach achieves a perspective that seems impossible in today’s splintered world—that at the end of a challenging day we may be more alike than different.
Another stimulating feature of the book is the way Grieco offers lofty quotes and then through his own written observations distills them into what they have in common. When offering quotes by celebrated Black author James Baldwin with capitalism’s chronicler Adam Smith, he offers a simple conclusion—be consistent in our actions. Otherwise, risk hypocrisy.
The stunning stretch across history of Grieco’s quotes and the way he tethers them into meaning with his own comments allows readers to exhale deeply and take comfort in the knowledge that trials and tribulations, joys and griefs of the world have always been with us. His approach offers a comforting perspective. We’re not the first age to struggle, and we won’t be the last.
If Søren Kierkegaard’s, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards” is considered in the context of Samuel Beckett saying “Words are all we have.” then Words of Wisdom is an excellent starting point to better understand ourselves and the world around us. The book is near perfect as a waiting room, coffee table, or nightstand companion. Grieco wrote the book he always wanted to read; I’m just thankful he shared it with us.
Genre: Nonfiction / Self-Help / Quotes & Aphorisms
Print Length: 208 pages
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