Books Before the Blog: Too Soon Old, Too late Smart

It’s time for the ‘A-Z challenge’- a post every day in April (except Sundays) working up through the alphabet. This year I will be writing about books that I read before I started this blog, that were important to me in some way. The vast majority are ones I still have on my bookshelf today, despite a move in house and sometimes many years since I first read it.


L is for Livingston
Book: Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart by Gordon Livingston

What is it about:
Dr Livingston has put together a collection of writing on 30 things he has learnt during his lifetime as a doctor. The chapter titles include some idea of the gems he is trying to pass on: “if the map doesn’t agree with the ground, the map is wrong”, “any relationship is under the control of the person who care the least”, “the most secure prisons are those we create for ourselves”, “it’s a poor idea to lie to oneself”…

When I first read this book:
About a year or so ago

Why it is important to me:
While perhaps it isn’t a book that is going to radically change the world, there are thoughts and ideas in it that are worthwhile reading. I think that each person who reads it would probably already have worked out a good portion of the life advice, but would likely find one or two new things that resonate.

The idea that resonated with me, that I think is important, is in the chapter “the statute of limitations has expired on most of our childhood traumas”. It is well known that childhood experiences shape our coping strategies, our relationship style, the way we view the world and so on. There is also a tendency to blame the parents for all the ways in which we are dysfunctional. In this chapter, Dr Livingstone says that yes, our childhood made us the adults we are, but that it is our choices now that will shape the adults we will be from here on. Once we are adults, we can choose to let go of unhelpful ideas, beliefs and habits, and learn to do things better. If we have identified ways in which we are dysfunctional, and we are now adults, we can’t blame the parents or the past if we continue in this way rather than changing.

Who should read it:
Easy read, suitable for anyone.


10 thoughts on “Books Before the Blog: Too Soon Old, Too late Smart

  1. mhsusannematthews says:

    It’s amazing how many people blame others for everything that’s gone wrong in their lives. Many people have lousy childhoods and rise above them. Others had great childhoods and didn’t appreciate them. One of the biggest problems I faced as a teacher near the end of my career was the unwillingness to take responsibility for one’s actions. It’s so much easier to blame someone or something from the past than accept he or she screwed up. Find me here LINK


  2. Jz says:

    I’m considering putting that title on a t-shirt… 😉

    I agree with the idea of letting go of childhood crap and moving on. It’s not always easy but it is healthy.


    • blikachuka says:

      yes- not easy- and the sad thing is that the worse the childhood the harder it is to move one from, but the more it is needed.


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