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Before the Title, Past
A Nonfiction Column
By Willie Elliott

The Book I Needed—Fifty Years Late

So I decided to see what Dr. John Spooner has written the book on many aspects of life that I needed fifty years ago in No One Ever Told Us That.

Supposedly written as letters to his grandchildren, the book contains a wealth of information especially on financial matters. I suspect that posing the book as letters written to his grandchildren was a literary ploy, but boy does it work. When written as letters to his grandchildren, the messages seem to come from the heart and and not from some bloviating expert who thinks he has all the answers to all the world's problems.

The book is definitely aimed at the younger set—thsoe just getting ready to enter the work force and the complications of financial matters.

Spooner's advice on insurance and insurance agents would have been of great value to me thirty years ago, and his evaluation of these people seems to be right on the money. His evaluation is not a positive one.

Some of his advice that I learned or figured out myself by trial and error rings true. I was especiall attracted to his chapter “What I Learned from the Military.” He said one should carry a clipboard no matter where he went and no one would bother you. But one thing I disagree with him concerns the relationship between soldiers and their sergeants. He said troops grow to love them. I did not and I repeat I did not grow to love my sergeants especially drill sergeants. I think drill sergeants are sadistic.

Listing a few of the 59 chapters (or letters) will give the reader a good idea of the range of information in the book: “Getting in and out of Debt,” “Rules If You Marry,” “The Importance of Being Well Dressed, “Make Yourself Memorable,” and “What about the Internet?”

The book has 59 chapters or letters. I used a MP3 version but I would suggest that those who are just starting purchase either a paperback or hardback and read it through and from time to time go back to it when a topic comes up, go back and review and add to the material Spooner has provided.

As a passing remark, I wonder if he ever wrote just chatty letters to his grandchildren covering such things as how is your love life and what movies have you seen and what books have you read.

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