Book Review | What I Know For Sure

I did not grow up watching Oprah Winfrey's daytime talk show.  With it recently celebrating its 30th anniversary, and me approaching my 28th birthday, I think it's safe to say that by the time I was able to choose what I wanted to watch, it was most likely a 90's Nickelodeon show.  It wasn't until about a year ago that I actually took stock of how influential this woman really is.  The little girl from Mississippi, now self-made billionaire, who's dabbled in everything from talk radio, to hosting her widely loved and respected self-titled talk show, to acting and producing, to OWNing a network, to being an author, and being an all around philanthropist.  

I purchased What I Know for Sure in audiobook format from iTunes, and I've been listening to it over the course of a few months.  The book is not that long.  It's actually just under four hours, and get this: Oprah is the narrator.  I prefer when listening to an audiobook that it's read by the author, but that's not always possible.  But really, who else could verbally express the words that they wrote better than them?  I spread my listening out between work and home, and I took notes in between in my MyTaughtYou journal.  


The book is a collection of short essays comprised of life lessons and revelations over the course of her life.  There were so many gems, that I just wanted to share the ones that I resonated with, and that sparked a flame within me.  When I find inspirational quotes and affirmations, I like to keep them close so that I can reflect on them when I need to.  I have a decorative dry erase board in my cubicle at work that I got from Target's dollar section (it gets me every time).  I like to keep it updated with quotes and affirmations that speak to my goals, and that motivate me in some way.  I hope that you find something here that speaks to you.  


"I know for sure that you cannot give to everybody else and not give back to yourself.  You will end up empty, or at best, less than what you can be for yourself, and your family, and your work.  Replenish the well of yourself, for yourself.  And if you think there's no time to do that, what you're really saying is, 'I have no life to give to, or live for myself.'  And if you have no life to live for yourself, then why are you here?"

"If your life ended tomorrow what would you regret not doing?  If this were the last day of your life, would you spend it like you're spending today?...Because you will die, you must LIVE now.  Whether you flounder or flourish is in your hands.  YOU are the single biggest influence in your life."


"No matter, give your best in every circumstance so that you have no reason to judge yourself and create guilt, and shame.  LIVE so that at the end of each day you can say, 'I did my very best'.  That's what it means to excel at the great work of living your best life."

"Nothing happens until YOU decide...  Everything depends on your decisions...  Make a decision, and watch your life move FORWARD."

But now I know that a relationship built on real love feels good.  It should bring joy not just some of the time, but most of the time.  It should never require losing your voice, your self-respect, or your dignity.  And whether you're 25 or 65, it should involve bringing all of who you are to the table, and walking away with even MORE.

"Look inward, the loving begins with you."

"The only way to endure the quake is to adjust your stance.  You can't avoid the daily tremors.  They come with being ALIVE."

"Who you are meant to be evolves from where you are right now.  So learning to appreciate your lessons, mistakes, and setbacks as steppingstones to the future is a clear sign that you are moving in the right direction."

Let's Talk:

What is one quote that you look to for inspiration?

I shared more inspirational quotes from What I Know for Sure on my Twitter.

disclaimer: the words in quotation above are solely those of oprah winfrey as expressed in her book "what I know for sure".  i do not own the rights to these words.