Ellyn Spragins has truly found a niche in asking some well-known, powerful women to write a letter to themselves back at a key point, a fork in the road, or a time of major challenges.
I'll bet most of us have thought now and then ---"Oh if I could only go back in time and share some wisdom/support to my younger self." Until full time travel becomes real, that remains a dream. But we can learn from these letters as we plow our way forward.
This is her third book in the series of "What I know now," and one which arrives when a generation of girls graduates. Also, as a number of women in mid-career now face layoffs due to the slumping economy.
Here are a few examples of inner resolve and strength in the face of serious obstacles:
1. Suzanne Somers of "Three's Company" tv fame reveals a very troubled childhood, including an alcoholic father, and being a single mother at age 18. She climbs up, works hard and then the tv fame --until she just mentions the idea of a possible raise in salary.
She writes: "True Success means accepting yourself as you are."
2. For sports junkies: Hannah Storm of ESPN fame writes back to herself "Stop worrying. It's useless." She talks about making progress in a highly-male sports industry.
Also leaning on God and her faith as well.
3. And again in sports, Rutgers women's basketball coach Vivian Stringer who handled a a racial slur against the team by radio talk show host Don Imus. Time for a real strength of character. She writes herself to integrate her work with her family. Reportedly, on road trips she would sometimes ride in the car with her family, right behind the bus carrying the team.
Other women who participated include Barbara Walters, Soledad O'Brien, Christine Todd Whitman, and Suze Orman.
I'm still waiting for Spragins to do such a book on men writing themselves at an early age.
But actually there are lessons and realistic inspirations in the book which can apply to almost everyone.
Enjoy and keep those letters coming.