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Advice from My 80-Year-Old Self
Real Words of Wisdom from People Ages 7 to 88
What advice would your 80-year-old self give you?
That’s the question artist Susan O’Malley asked more than a hundred ordinary people of every age, from every walk of life. She then transformed their responses into vibrant text-based images. From a prompt to do things that matter to your heart, to a reminder that it’s okay to have sugar in your tea, these are calls to action and words to live by—heartfelt, sometimes humorous, and always fiercely compassionate. The resulting book, overflowing with words of encouragement, truth, and generosity, is a stirring reminder of the wisdom we already hold inside ourselves right now.
“Advice from My 80-Year-Old Self is a brilliant and winsome inversion of that quintessentially twenty-first-century genre, the self-help book. Rather than looking inward, O'Malley reaches outward—to others, strangers, friends. She turns introspective reflection into a resolutely collective and communitarian experience. The accumulated words of advice become forms of visual communication, somewhere between interview and social campaign, conversation and agitprop: lay off the cigars; friends before screen time; i told you so; life is short make it good. The voices gathered here display incredible wit, sincerity, and generosity; we are lucky to be able to listen to them.”
—Michelle Kuo, Artforum
"O'Malley solicited advice from strangers of all ages and turned it into larger-than-life truisms - both emptying and adding meaning."