The original Bachelorette Trista Sutter's new book Happily Ever After: The Life-Changing Power of a Grateful Heart is an important look at "the benefits of gratitude," Tom Bergeron, the host of Dancing with the Stars tells me. It's full of "tips, stories, and research" on how to teach our children "to live their lives with a grateful heart," says Tori Spelling. What did I think of it? Why would I tell you what I think, when it's much, much easier to quote other people who are far more famous than I am.
Sutter's book is a testament to the power of a good quote book; there are, by my count, 50 quotes from artists, musicians, philosophers and do-gooders scattered within it. That's not including the 14 additional quotes used to set the tone at the beginning of each chapter. Out of 254 pages, Sutter uses 64 quotes – which is about a quote every four pages. Sutter uses a quote in her Acknowledgements. She uses a quote in the index. This proliferation of quotes is purposeful, Sutter says:
My intent here is to share not only the lessons I've learned, but also those of my friends and family, those of strangers, and even teachings of some of the world's most enlightened authors, philosophers, poets, and educators. I will never claim to be an expert, but you won't have to take it from only me; there is plenty of research out there to back up the benefits of a grateful heart.
But which quote is the best? Because it would be painful for you, dear reader, to have to go through all of them, I've picked the 25 best quotes Trista Sutter used in Happily Ever After in an attempt to beef up the substance of her claims in this "personal growth/inspiration" book, ranked from most ridiculous citations to most valid:
25. Like the children's playground song says, "First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage," we believed that nature would automatically take over after we married and we could throw caution to the wind.
In order to talk about the difficulty she and her husband had conceiving, Sutter decides to invoke a children's nursery rhyme. An inappropriate, if topical reference.
24. If you've ever been on an airplane, you've heard the safety announcements: "In the unlikely event of pressure loss, oxygen masks will appear overhead. If you are seated next to a small child or someone needing assistance, secure your own mask first before assisting them."
Quoting the disembodied voice that speaks to those of us lucky enough to have experienced the joy of traveling by air = Priceless.
23. Do not be fooled. Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. - Anonymous
22. As Iyanla Vanzant, an inspirational speaker, has said, "Joy is not what happens to you; it is what comes through you when you are conscious of the blessing you are."
Translation: "As a sub-par Oprah wannabe has said..."
20. In the words of Dr. Seuss: "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened" – and that's exactly what I do.
Great humble brag.
19. As one blogger from the Harvard Business Review said, "There is far too little praise and appreciation in most work environments."
CITE YOUR SOURCES.
18. "You can't invite your friends and loved ones inside of a house you haven't built yet." Rev Run, the hip-hop legend and minister, definitely has a way with words, and when he posted this quote on Twitter, I immediately wrote it down in a little journal I have dedicated to collecting my favorites.
This quote comes far too late in the book, considering it basically proves that Trista didn't just google quotes for this whole book but is actually a quote connoisseur. A quote curator, if you will.
17. Charles Schwab once said, "I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among men the greatest asset I possess. The way to develop the best that is in a man is by appreciation and encouragement."
I had to google this to check whether it was Charles Schwab the bank or Charles Schwab the steel magnate. I think it's the bank.
16. "I didn't come here to make friends." If you have ever watched The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, you've heard that phrase at least once every season.
Congratulations Trista: You managed to take away the most obvious thing ever from a reality show you were on twice.
15. As hockey great Wayne Gretzky once said, "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take," so I headed straight to my computer to type in the link that had flashed on my screen.
Don't remember what the context of this one was. Probably something about signing up for a reality television show.
14. As the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius said almost 2,000 years ago, "Accept whatever comes to you woven in the pattern of your destiny, for what could more aptly fit your needs?"
"This quote is so legit it gets a timestamp!"
13. American writer Clarence Budington Kelland once said something that really resonates with me, something I think about every day: "He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it."
Every day Trista? You think about something Clarence BUDINGTON Kelland said every day?
12. Just as Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Everybody can be great . . . because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."
An ELLIPSES? You ellipses-ed Martin Luther King?
11. I can't put into words how much these connections touched my heart, but something Herman Melville once said comes pretty close: "We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects."
"I can't do this myself, so I'll have someone else do it for you."
10. William Makepeace Thackeray, an English novelist, said it best: "Next to excellence is the appreciation of it."
9. Poet and author Maya Angelou's words on the topic say it all: "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
8. Take Sophocles, a Greek playwright, for example. He believed that human suffering was prolonged by hope. And the philosopher Plato thought that hope was a "foolish counselor."
Sophocles and Plato deserve more than to be lumped together in the same thought.
I dunno I just really appreciate that Jung was quoted in this book and not Freud and I think he would too.
6. According to Emily Post, "Handwritten notes are warmer and more personal than a phone call or email, and only second best to thanking someone in person."
We should all try to live our lives more like Emily Post.
5. As Fred "Mister" Rogers once said, "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother's words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in the world."
4. As William Shakespeare said, "To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."
3. I wanted what Confucius talked about: "Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life."
Don't we all.
I know what you're thinking: if Mother Teresa is number two on this list, who on EARTH could be number one?
1. Mahatma Gandhi once said, "Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."
Gandhi, that's who.
Apologies to the two William James', teacher Erin Majors, Olympian Jesse Owens, political activist from Singapore Alex Tan, Minister Harry Emerson Fosdick, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, composer and producer Bernice Johnson Reagon, author Sarah Ban Breathnach, American author Louis L'Amour, Austrian writer Vicki Baum, Shireen Haiderali, author Eileen Elias Freeman, German philosopher Meister Eckhart, Benjamin Franklin, Italian historian Francesco Guicciardini, Anais Nin, Shirley MacLaine, William Makepeace Thackeray, author Tony Gaskins, seventeenth-century English clergyman Robert South, Marilyn Monroe, athlete Maurice Setter, writer and editor Margaret Cousins, John F. Kennedy, George Eliot, Thomas Wilder, Fernanda Miramontes-Landeros, Cynthia Ozick, Thomas Bray, Anthony Brandt, Baltasar Gracian, Frederick Buechner, Og Mandino, William Arthur Ward, Marion C. Blakey, Chris McCandless, Denis Waitley and Mary Kay Ash. Your quotes were good but not good enough.