A collection of quotes and inspirational ruminations on all aspects of life.
As its title suggests, Fitzgerald’s well-designed follow-up to his Beyond Chicken Soup (2019) takes its initial cues from Poor Richard’s Almanack, collecting the author’s wisdom and gentle humor on a wide variety of topics ranging from ethics and morality to God to loneliness to sports. The author shifts easily from a tone of jocularity to one of serious concentration and back, and the focus of his meditations likewise shifts. One little segment is an ode to the wonders of “Real books, flesh-and-blood books” (as opposed to electronic books, presumably) while another digs into a gentle indictment of the false nature of consumer culture: “Happiness in our culture is largely fool’s gold peddled by all manner of hucksters and pied pipers, ranging from auto dealers to fast-food purveyors to televangelists.” Some sections use historical grounding to ponder a topic, as when he suggests a “Bill of Responsibilities” to accompany the Bill of Rights with examples like “I will offer forgiveness” and “I will hold myself accountable.” Other sections are composed of quick aphorisms like “What compassion is to kindness, empathy is to civility” or “A leader stands in front of the flag; a politician, behind it.” The rustic simplicity of some of these sentiments stands at odds with the complexity of the issues they raise (many parents, for instance, might take issue with being told “Loving parents are the children of loving parents; like begets like”), but Fitzgerald’s straightforward sincerity is always evident, and the wry, common-sense tone he adapts from Poor Richard works well in modern contexts (“An alarm clock can only wake us; it can’t get us out of bed,” and so on). The tone adopted throughout is that of inviting conversation; readers seeking practical reminders of everyday wisdom will doubtless respond.
A friendly, all-purpose compendium of thought-provoking intellectual odds and ends.