One does not often read a book of quotes from cover to cover as was required of this reader per regulation as a book review blogger for Thomas Nelson and Booksneeze. It seems it would be an easy enough task, but this book made it a bit difficult for a few reasons.
As with any book of quotes, you have to navigate several uninspiring quips to discover the ones that grab hold of your mind and heart somehow. The search for inspiration is lengthier than you would expect in this book.
It may be important to redefine the terms “classic” and “wisdom” when reading this book. It is difficult to consider voices like Conan O’Brien and John Stewart as “classic”. Reese Witherspoon and Dolly Parton would not find their way to the top of many lists of wise people; entertaining though they may be. Quotes from Katie Couric, J.K. Rowling, and Jeff Foxworthy come off nearly comical when alongside the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, and Booker T. Washington.
Diamonds can be discovered though the search is very rough. Successful though they may be, many of the entertainers and pop-culture icons simply should not be quoted in a book with “Classic Wisdom” in the title.
The overall message is to always pursue your dream, work hard, and never give up. It worked for these people; it should work for you. You may not need a quote in a book like this to get the same message that saturates “More You Know” commercials and movie award show acceptance speeches.
Perhaps the common graduate today may look more fondly on the great knowledge of Arnold Schwarzenegger before Roosevelt, but it tinges on dumbing-down for this reader.
A recent graduate may appreciate this book as a gift as much as they appreciate any gift book for graduation: they would rather just have the cash, thank you.