June 14, 2023

Book Review: Excellent Advice for Living

On his 68th birthday, Kevin Kelly began to record some things he had learned about life that he wished he had known earlier for his young adult children. To his surprise, Kelly had more to say than he thought and kept adding to the advice over the years, compiling a life’s wisdom onto these pages.

Kelly’s timeless advice covers an astonishing range, from right living to setting ambitious goals, optimizing generosity, and cultivating compassion. He has wisdom for career, relationships, parenting, and finances, and gives guidance for practical matters ranging from travel to troubleshooting.

Excellent Advice for Living is aimed primarily at young people but speaks to all ages. This is the ideal companion for anyone seeking to navigate life with grace and creativity.

Here are several of my favorite pieces of advice from the book:

“In all things—except love—start with the exit strategy. Prepare for the ending. Almost anything is easier to get into than out of.”

“When you are young, have friends who are older; when you are old, have friends who are younger.”

“You can eat any dessert you want if you take only three bites.”

“If you stop to listen to a musician or a street performer for more than a minute, you owe them a dollar.”

“Your enjoyment of travel is inversely proportional to the size of your luggage. This is 100% true of backpacking. It is liberating to realize how little you really need.”

Kevin Kelly helped launch and edit Wired magazine. He has written for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among many other publications. His previous books include What Technology Wants and The Inevitable, a New York Times bestseller. He is known for his technological optimism. Currently, Kelly is a Senior Maverick at Wired and lives in Pacifica, California.