This is a book composed of a collection of essays that illustrate the nature of life from many angles. It is a light, heart-warming, pleasant read that is gives gentle guidance and inspiration. It illustrates that some of the most important life lessons are ones that we learn early on, and can use for our entire life.

About the Book

The book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things was written by Robert Fulghum – writer, speaker and philosopher, back in 1988.

Fifteen years later, in 2003 he released the 15th anniversary edition, in which he updated some of his earlier writings and added in 25 new essays.

The book is just over 200 pages, and broken up into quick 2-3 page, easy to read essays. While it makes most sense to read it in order, one can easily pick it up and read any essay without losing the gist of what the author is trying to convey, as each essay presents some unique learning experience and reflection from his life.

The book opens up with the premise that explains the title and features a poem like creed. This is a series of paradigms, in which the author shares, how all we really need to know about how to live a good life, we already know (or should know) based on some basics learned in kindergarten. This premise is then unfolded, in various light-hearted stories or essays that weave throughout themselves, some of those basic, yet often times hard-to-live-out for us principles.

Personal Commentary

I found the book to be a dear and very pleasant read. It is quick to read and one can easily finish it in the afternoon of one day. However, I almost recommend breaking it up, and enjoy reflecting on each essay story with the reader, seeing how it may apply to your thoughts, beliefs and life.

As I got into the first few stories, I read the book with some distance, sensing the author’s self proclaimed cynicism about life. (I love life, and think it is amazing, so I had to warm up to what felt like an “older” style of thinking about life and its hardships.) However, as a few more stories went on, I quickly connected to the author and the message, having random bursts of laughter, and some really good chuckling episodes.

There were the laugh-out-loud funny stories, like about the “Raccoons” or the “San Diego Zoo”. There were fascinating and thought provoking stories like “Census” and “Mother Theresa”. And then there were the stories, like that that of “Gummy Lump” or “Charles Boyer”, that made tears dance around in my eyes and stirred my heart. My favorite stories included the “Mermaid” and “Donnie”. So much wisdom and emotion packed into each one!

And snow – snow is not the enemy, I tell him. Snow is God’s way of telling people to slow down and rest and stay in bed for a day.

Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

While the author has his own unique view on life, through the experiences he shares, the stories he tells, and even the language he uses, one cannot dismiss the common threads that connect us all in reading his words. His thoughts about how our lives and our world would be better, if we could at least apply what we learned in kindergarten, are spot on.

As I mentioned above, the book is a very heart warming and light read. If one is looking for some heavy reflections, deep intellectual ideas or new discoveries on all of life’s questions, or secrets, this is not the book for that. Readers that are expecting something more “complex” or “profound” will walk away disappointed. However, I have a feeling that those who read the book consciously… a little in between the lines too, will walk away expanded by the stories in all the right ways for them.

I recommend the book for anyone looking for a fun, warm and insightful book, that is sure to expand one’s heart and mind, and soul!

Don’t sell yourself short. You may never have proof of your importance, but you are more important than you think.

Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

Books by Robert Fulghum