"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Friday, May 10, 2019


Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from the book.
e Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56.

And a review, of sorts to follow---

Title: The Four Things that Matter Most: A Book About Living by Ira Byock, M.D.

Book Beginnings:
Please forgive me.I forgive you.Thank you.I love you.These four simple statements are powerful tools for improving your relationships and your life.
Friday 56:
Jennifer and Mary's story demonstrates the power and healing potential of forgiveness. Painful legacies can arise from damaging emotional patterns that are perpetuated from generation to generation. As one damaging emotion gives rise to the next, a destructive pattern can result, like the jarring, punishing washboard ridges in a dirt road. Forgiveness is a courageous way of saying, 'Enough is enough!'
Summary: The four statements highlighted in the Book Beginnings quote form the basis for the whole book. Dr. Byock gives power example after powerful example how lives can be transformed if we are willing to say these four things to our loved ones. Years of hard feelings and distrust can melt away. And relationships can be repaired or at least the person saying the words can move forward in a positive direction. Pretty powerful (and seemingly) easy stuff. Through the actual examples he gives one could feel the strength to try saying the following words themselves.

The Friday 56 quote is from the conclusion of one of the true stories shared in the book. Mary and Jennifer are mother and daughter. Mary was always cold and seemingly heartless as a mother. Her own mother was the same way. Six months before she died, Mary called her daughter to her home and asked for forgiveness. She recognized that her coldness was a direct result of the way she was parented and now she saw that Jennifer was starting to act the same way toward her own children. She said it was wrong and she was wrong. She didn't want her legacy to go on. She wanted it to stop now so that her grandchildren could grow up with an attentive, warm mother. The result of this conversation was a forgiveness that filled everyone with love. The last 6 months of Mary's life were some of the happiest Jennifer ever remembered.

Review: Two years ago for Mother's Day, my mother gave me and my three siblings copies of this book by Dr. Byock. She had read it and felt it had important messages for all of us. Like all families we have out share of misunderstandings and occasionally hard feelings build up. At the time when she gave us our copies of the book we had been dealing with family issues which caused people to line up on sides. Not a good strategy, by the way, for dealing with family issues. Anyway, I took the book and set my copy aside. I planned to read it but didn't get to it until this year when I added it to my reading list for a book challenge to read 'My Own Books'. The concept of the book is relatively simple. Take the first possible opportunity to say the four statements to keep lines of communication open and to help repair past hurts. They can even be said to a person who has died in the form of a letter or a heart-felt chat graveside. Sometimes it is hard to take the first steps when we feel that the other person is the perpetrator, but we need to speak these words for ourselves, too, in that we need to let go of grudges that have a stranglehold on our lives. If we say them, we can be released from the pain and suffering. Byock makes sure to say that forgiveness is not forgetfulness. We can say these words of forgiveness without forgetting the past.

I found the book to be a very powerful reminder to make things right with our family members and friends so that we can move forward healthfully. Like my mother, I keep thinking of people I'd like to give the book to, thinking about how a past grievance is hampering current happiness for them. It is not especially well-written but it certainly must have a struck a chord with many people because the original book was published in 2004 and I am reading the 10th anniversary edition published in 2014 with a new forward and several new and updated examples.

By the way, just in case you are wondering, I talked to one of my siblings and she said she hadn't read the book either but planned to now that I reminded her. I've encouraged her to do so. Now I'll have to snoop around and see if my other siblings have or haven't read their copies, yet. I also got a chance to thank Mom and talk to her about the book after I finished it. It was one of those meaningful and thoughtful conversations we all wish we could have with our parents before they are gone. The book did double-duty.


  1. such a good lesson in forgiveness

  2. A great lesson. I learned in a class once and have never forgotten that, if you care about the relationship, then you should make things right by forgiving. But if the relative/person isn't important to you and is toxic, it's best to let him/her go. That helped me a lot when dealing with Patt's family.

    1. The book didn't really cover when to NOT try the four statements, but it did make the point that sometimes we have to say them even if the other person can't receive them. But maybe "saying" them can be in a letter that is never sent. Just so we don't have to be bound up in our own anger.

  3. Sounds like a really interesting book.

  4. Sounds like a really helpful book. Hope you have a great weekend! :)

  5. How wonderful that your mom gave you each a copy, hoping to make things better and that you read it and it is working. It's amazing how difficult it is to say certain words to the people that mean the most to us.

  6. I haven't heard of this book before, but it sounds like an essential read.

  7. Sounds like a good one, I agree wholeheartedly with that beginning. Happy weekend!

  8. Glad you got a lot out of this one. Happy Sunday!


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