Message From Our Founder

Welcome to the 104th issue of CEE News!


Do you know someone who is graduating this year? This is such an exciting time for graduates, but it can also be an overwhelming time as they prepare themselves for life after school. If you’re looking for some wisdom, inspiration, and advice to pass on to a graduating senior this year, here are seven short selections recommended by one of my own favorite authors, Ann Patchett.


  1.     A Short Guide to a Happy Life, by Anna Quindlen

Life is made of moments, small pieces of silver amidst long stretches of tedium. It would be wonderful if they came to us unsummoned, but particularly in lives as busy as the ones most of us lead now, that won’t happen. We have to teach ourselves now to live, really live . . . to love the journey, not the destination.

In this treasure of a book, Anna Quindlen, the bestselling novelist and columnist, reflects on what it takes to “get a life”—to live deeply every day and from your own unique self, rather than merely to exist through your days.


  2.      What now?, by Ann Patchett

There are too many forces, as deep and invisible as tides, that keep us bouncing into places where we never thought we’d wind up. Sometimes the best we can hope for is to be graceful and brave in the face of all of the changes that will surely come.

Based on her lauded commencement address at Sarah Lawrence College, this stirring essay by bestselling author Ann Patchett offers hope and inspiration for anyone at a crossroads, whether graduating, changing careers, or transitioning from one life stage to another.


  3.      This Is Water: Some Thoughts Delivered on a Significant Occasion about Living a Compassionate Life, by David Foster Wallace

Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.

Only once did David Foster Wallace give a public talk on his views on life, during a commencement address given in 2005 at Kenyon College. The speech is reprinted for the first time in book form in This is Water.  The speech captures Wallace’s electric intellect as well as his grace in attention to others. After his death, it became a treasured piece of writing reprinted in The Wall Street Journal and the London Times, commented on endlessly in blogs, and emailed from friend to friend.


   4.      We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We teach girls shame. ‘Close your legs. Cover yourself.’ We make them feel as though being born female they’re already guilty of something. And so, girls grow up to be women who cannot say they have desire. They grow up to be women who silence themselves. They grow up to be women who cannot say what they truly think. And they grow up — and this is the worst thing we do to girls — they grow up to be women who have turned pretense into an art form.

In this personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from the much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.


  5.      Congratulations, by the way, by George Saunders

Be a good and proactive and even somewhat desperate patient on your own behalf—seek out the most efficacious anti-selfishness medicines, energetically, for the rest of your life. Find out what makes you kinder, what opens you up and brings out the most loving, generous, and unafraid version of you—and go after those things as if nothing else matters. Because, actually, nothing else does.

Three months after George Saunders gave a graduation address at Syracuse University, a transcript of that speech was posted on the website of The New York Times, where its simple, uplifting message struck a deep chord. Within days, it had been shared more than one million times. Why? Because Saunders’s words tap into a desire in all of us to lead kinder, more fulfilling lives. Powerful, funny, and wise, Congratulations, by the way is an inspiring message from one of today’s most influential and original writers.


  6.      In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It, by Lauren Graham

Here’s a secret: The lows don’t last any longer than the highs do. Like clouds on an overcast day, sometimes we have to face the fact that what happens to us in life isn’t controllable, and if we wait a while, don’t take it personally, and decide to enjoy ourselves anyway, the sky will eventually clear up.

In this expansion of her 2017 commencement speech at her hometown Langley High, Lauren Graham reflects in her hilarious, relatable voice on growing up, pursuing your dreams, and living in the here and now. She reminds us to be curious and compassionate, no matter where life takes you.


   7.      Woo Hoo! You’re Doing Great!, by Sandra Boynton

We all get overwhelmed sometimes, small people and big people and fictitious animals alike. Probably ESPECIALLY fictitious animals — just imagine how difficult it must be for THEM to believe in themselves.

On her social media, author Sandra Boynton likes to let people know about incredibly important holidays, such as Static Electricity Day or National Lima Bean Respect Day. She always illustrates her posts. So, on September 12, 2021, Boynton decided to post something for National Day of Encouragement.

She came up with a very shouty chicken saying “WOO HOO! YOU’RE DOING GREAT!” The deluge of responses were heartfelt and astonishing. That chance WOO HOO! post is what provided the title, cover art, and official spokeschicken of this book.

Sheri Nasim | President & CEO



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