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What On Earth Have I Done?: Stories, Observations, and Affirmations

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. dw, 2007, 308pp


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. dw, 2007, 308pp

30 review for What On Earth Have I Done?: Stories, Observations, and Affirmations

  1. 4 out of 5

    Casey

    Most nights, I lie down on the couch and read a bit of Fulghum at bedtime, to go to sleep with a smile on my face. As in all his books, some essays hit closer to home than others. But one story in this book had me laughing so hard I nearly fell off the couch. That essay alone was worth the 5 stars. His books are a good antidote to the others I read, which are probably too scary or depressing. So I balance those with Robert Fulghum's witty observations of life. He's a gem! Most nights, I lie down on the couch and read a bit of Fulghum at bedtime, to go to sleep with a smile on my face. As in all his books, some essays hit closer to home than others. But one story in this book had me laughing so hard I nearly fell off the couch. That essay alone was worth the 5 stars. His books are a good antidote to the others I read, which are probably too scary or depressing. So I balance those with Robert Fulghum's witty observations of life. He's a gem!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette (Now on StoryGraph)

    I have a long-standing crush on Bobby Fulghum, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. There's just something so attractive about a man who has maintained his sense of wonder and appreciation of the absurd throughout his long life. Granted, some of his earlier books are perhaps a little more profound and entertaining than this one, but he still makes me look at the ordinary world in fresh ways after I read his little gems. A few months ago I listened to the audio version, read by the author, then slowl I have a long-standing crush on Bobby Fulghum, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. There's just something so attractive about a man who has maintained his sense of wonder and appreciation of the absurd throughout his long life. Granted, some of his earlier books are perhaps a little more profound and entertaining than this one, but he still makes me look at the ordinary world in fresh ways after I read his little gems. A few months ago I listened to the audio version, read by the author, then slowly worked my way through the printed version. For the most part I prefer the words on the page, but some of the pieces were enhanced by the author's vocal interpretations. This was especially the case with "Asbestos Gelos," the funniest piece in the book. My favorite dozen pieces: #6: Moon View #28: Players #40: Night Thoughts #46: Asbestos Gelos #65: The List #67: Recollection on the Way to an Appointment #70: Orange #73: Sock Epiphany #74: Secret Agent X #75: Bizarre Thoughts #82: The Way of Water #87: Meanwhile

  3. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

    I'm a Fulghum junkie--have been from the start. I've reached for his books in the middle of the night and found myself crying unabashedly before the sun arose. I've chosen to miss church and bury my heathen nose in Fulghum when I just needed to do that. I've given him as gifts and most assuredly NEVER pass up his books in a thrift store where they do NOT belong. I also have "Meet Robert Fulgham" on my lifelist. I'd like to take a long river trip with him acting as camp cook or camp latrine clean I'm a Fulghum junkie--have been from the start. I've reached for his books in the middle of the night and found myself crying unabashedly before the sun arose. I've chosen to miss church and bury my heathen nose in Fulghum when I just needed to do that. I've given him as gifts and most assuredly NEVER pass up his books in a thrift store where they do NOT belong. I also have "Meet Robert Fulgham" on my lifelist. I'd like to take a long river trip with him acting as camp cook or camp latrine cleaner or whatever!!!! It must be because Mr. Fulghum loves E.B. White as much as I do!!!!! And he probably drives a Subaru. Give yourself a spring rejuvenation and get this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    IMHO, the most useful part of this book is Ch. 65 @ p. 233: The List of conversation lifeboats. Being an introvert, myself, I run out of conversation with a stranger rather quickly. Mr. Fulgum helps me out of my befuddlement rather quickly and effectively, making for interesting and lively conversation. Dale Carnegie never made it so good.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    I needed a book with no plot, short affirmation and a little common sense, found it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Janell

    This collection of short essays, loosely framed around the author's three homes - in Seattle, Moab, and Crete - wander all over the map figuretively as well as literally, but provide deep insights in living an enjoyable life, getting along well with others, and finding your place in the world. Here are descriptions and excerpts from few that stood out: Fools and Fat Butts: About wearing a Lycra bodysuit while cycling, and about being afraid to dance. "If you do not join the dancing, you will fee This collection of short essays, loosely framed around the author's three homes - in Seattle, Moab, and Crete - wander all over the map figuretively as well as literally, but provide deep insights in living an enjoyable life, getting along well with others, and finding your place in the world. Here are descriptions and excerpts from few that stood out: Fools and Fat Butts: About wearing a Lycra bodysuit while cycling, and about being afraid to dance. "If you do not join the dancing, you will feel foolish. If you dance, you will also feel foolish. So, why not dance?" Players: Like my friend Chris, Fulghum is not afraid to be bold when encountering strangers: "I like the groceries in your cart better than mine. Want to trade?" To someone who missed a deadline: "Just give me a really clever, off-the-wall creative excuse--the wildest thing you can think of. Make me laugh and I'll go away." At a bus stop: "They're all alien robots, you know, their souls have been sucked out of them and exported." Players are the ones who respond in kind. My Fault: The family assigns blame on a schedule. If it's Sunday, it's the author's fault, no matter what happens. Family members get to air grievances, the scheduled person accepts the blame, and all share a laugh. On Tuesdays, it's the fault of a stuffed moose. I wonder if that works with only two people in the family? I hope so. Liturgical Laughter: Jesus was human, "Like the rest of us. He ate, wept, got angry, and bled. And surely, he laughed... You can't tell me that joy, delight, and the all-out belly laugh were not as much a part of him as they are of us." The List: Conversation starters ... "2. What would you be learning-- if you had time?" "10. Who do you admire? Who admires you?" "20. If you could live one short episode of your life over again-- a day, week, month-- which would it be? And why?" I think I'll be giving this book to a few people, and recommending it to more. And maybe, just maybe, I'll have the guts to become a player... and to admit that it's my fault on Thursdays.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Although this book is not as ‘rompy’ as All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, or It was On Fire When I Lay Down On It, What On Earth still has a great deal of thoughtful, and thought-provoking gems in it. The book reflects the thoughts and travels of the author as he lives in Seattle, Crete and Utah. Travel brings broadening perspectives to things, life. Life experience also adds to the mix, as it provides one with a deeper perspective of what is really important and within one Although this book is not as ‘rompy’ as All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, or It was On Fire When I Lay Down On It, What On Earth still has a great deal of thoughtful, and thought-provoking gems in it. The book reflects the thoughts and travels of the author as he lives in Seattle, Crete and Utah. Travel brings broadening perspectives to things, life. Life experience also adds to the mix, as it provides one with a deeper perspective of what is really important and within one’s purview to actually do. The essay, Meanwhile, brings that home. I also loved View Property, as what the realtor values, is not the same as what Fulghum values, and the key is both are subject to change in the face of new information. I also loved Hopefully Confused Sometimes: A Story with Four Part and No End (Part One), as the essay is reflective of how we feel and treat those less fortunate, and desperate than we are, and reminds us that we can be in that same position and be at our fellow man’s inclination to display/exhibit no mercy … which (still) says a lot about us as people, as a society (a collection of people). I really, as I have always, enjoyed Fulghum’s books as he does take simple things that we take for granted and puts them into our view for our inspection, review and humor … and reflection.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    What on Earth Have I Done is a mishmash of anecdotes and observation with varying degrees of poignancy and emotional resonance. Of note are the more whimsical of the author's experiences, especially in conversations with children. What on Earth Have I Done is a mishmash of anecdotes and observation with varying degrees of poignancy and emotional resonance. Of note are the more whimsical of the author's experiences, especially in conversations with children.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mommooshka

    This was not my favorite Robert Fulghum book. But like all of his books, it was comprised of numerous short essays. Some sections I enjoyed less (section about Crete too long) but there were still many other stories that I really enjoyed.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

    Fulghum is pretty close to incomparable. I'm a longtime fan and reread his books regularly. Don't know why I had this marked "unread" because this was not the first time through this wonderful group of essays. Fulghum is pretty close to incomparable. I'm a longtime fan and reread his books regularly. Don't know why I had this marked "unread" because this was not the first time through this wonderful group of essays.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Much more hit and miss than some of his previous essay collections. The best parts of the book are his travel writings about Crete. The last 40 pages are a mishmash of pieces that would have best been edited out. Either way, it's a decent enough light read. Much more hit and miss than some of his previous essay collections. The best parts of the book are his travel writings about Crete. The last 40 pages are a mishmash of pieces that would have best been edited out. Either way, it's a decent enough light read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michele Benson

    This book of essays was recommended by a friend. I have ever read anything by this author and was pleased by how easy he was to listen to on audiobook. His positivity was a nice break from the current atmosphere. He also quotes many Greek philosophers and that was fun for me as well.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Julie Loth

    Always love Robert Fulghum. He is my go to author when I need a smile, a chuckle and solid, down to earth read. Nice to come back to time and time again.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elena

    Robert Fulghum is always funny with his observations about people and life.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stacey Slager

    This is my first time reading Robert Fulghum, now I have to read everything else he has written. So charming!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne_

    Boring.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nedjoyce

    Just soul fulfilling, smile inducing light hearted read you need every once in a while

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    Entertaining and optimistic

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gary Null

    I have been a fan of Robert Fulghum and his essays ever since he published his first volume, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, in 1988. His wit and his wisdom are always entertaining and instructive. His essays range from light-hearted to serious, and I can usually relate to the situations, the characters and their actions. However, like many best-selling authors, maybe under pressure from his publisher, in cranking out another book, sometimes the material becomes watered down a I have been a fan of Robert Fulghum and his essays ever since he published his first volume, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, in 1988. His wit and his wisdom are always entertaining and instructive. His essays range from light-hearted to serious, and I can usually relate to the situations, the characters and their actions. However, like many best-selling authors, maybe under pressure from his publisher, in cranking out another book, sometimes the material becomes watered down a bit. This group of essays was a little short of the standard set by his other collections. Still, there were enough “good” stories to make me laugh, to smile at common human foibles or quirks, or to nod approvingly at a universal truth. Some of his more interesting essays include: As a conversation starter, Fulghum likes to ask people if they have ever had any “bizarre thoughts.” He gets some very bizarre responses, but it certainly does break the ice. The simple tasks are memorable. He describes what it’s like to transfer names and numbers to a new address book and to reminisce about all the names that he has recorded over the years – friends, acquaintances, colleagues and some names that now are unknown. Once, when he had to give the blessing at a banquet honoring human rights’ activists, Fulghum turned the tables. Instead of having the people bow their heads in prayer, he had them look up at all the attendees at the banquet, scan from face to face, and realize what good company they were in. He had a real estate agent appraise his property once and all the negatives the agent came up with – the location on the side of a hill, the noise from the schoolyard, the fire station nearby – Fulghum had reasons to make them all positives. And there was one essay whose title was almost longer than the essay itself, “Recollection While on the Way to an Appointment with an Ophthalmologist and Seeing Boys Choosing up Sides to Play Basketball, Leaving a Kid with Glasses Standing on the Sidelines.” It’s a great essay about young kids, sports and sportsmanship. All in all, this book is worth reading just to find out why Fulghum was running through the streets of Kolymbari, Crete, dressed in what looked like underwear, shouting “Calamari! Calamari!” and making rude gestures to the patrons at the coffeeshouse. He made new friends because of it. Not quite as good as his earlier books, but enjoyable nonetheless.

  20. 5 out of 5

    warmdesertwinds

    Yawn... A book of lessons for people that have never had a moment of self-reflection in their entire lives. This is the kind of book you find on the "Self-Help" shelf next to the magazines of your local Price Chopper. Or at the bottom of a box of books labeled "Christian" at your local Salvation Army. But it's neither self-help nor Christian. I don't really know what it is. Besides cheesy. I saw this book in a bookstore once. Opened it and came to a chapter on Moab. Moab! I love Moab! What are the ch Yawn... A book of lessons for people that have never had a moment of self-reflection in their entire lives. This is the kind of book you find on the "Self-Help" shelf next to the magazines of your local Price Chopper. Or at the bottom of a box of books labeled "Christian" at your local Salvation Army. But it's neither self-help nor Christian. I don't really know what it is. Besides cheesy. I saw this book in a bookstore once. Opened it and came to a chapter on Moab. Moab! I love Moab! What are the chances? I made a mental note to check it out in the future. And I did. When I saw it going for 90% off at a bookstore clearance sale. It's not awful. I give the guy credit for being so genuinely happy with his life. For always looking at the glass as half full. His couple of travel stories weren't half bad. He did have one rather touching story on the meaning of life. But the other 200 pages were pathetic. Don't bother unless you enjoy ABC Family dramas.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I wasn't sure if I'd end up liking this book. I'm not a big fan of nonfiction and an entire book of essays can feel tedious at times. But despite this fact, I ended up really enjoying Robert Fulghum's essays and finding many of them very thought-provoking. If you don't have time to read the entire book or are interested in sampling his writing, I recommend the following essays: (6) Moon View (10) Watch Out for Trucks (17) Hopelessly Confused Sometimes (Essay about homelessness) (40) Night Thoughts (43 I wasn't sure if I'd end up liking this book. I'm not a big fan of nonfiction and an entire book of essays can feel tedious at times. But despite this fact, I ended up really enjoying Robert Fulghum's essays and finding many of them very thought-provoking. If you don't have time to read the entire book or are interested in sampling his writing, I recommend the following essays: (6) Moon View (10) Watch Out for Trucks (17) Hopelessly Confused Sometimes (Essay about homelessness) (40) Night Thoughts (43) Charley-Up-a-Tree (46) Asbestos Gelos (48) Olympics on a Smaller Scale (55) Winter Count (63) Bee-Yoo-Tee-Fool (70) Orange (77) The Names that Remain (78) Brick (81) The Meaning of Life (87) Meanwhile

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jodi

    I have read all of Fulghum's books and have always enjoyed them. This one was a little harder to get into for me - it seemed to ramble on a lot more and Fulghum seemed to be reaching for things to write about in it. Maybe I have simply grown past them, or maybe his writing isn't as sharp as it used to be - I don't know. The story of the barking dog and the car alarm did tickle my funny bone however. Also, the story about "The Kid" on the basketball team who just couldn't play but tried so hard I have read all of Fulghum's books and have always enjoyed them. This one was a little harder to get into for me - it seemed to ramble on a lot more and Fulghum seemed to be reaching for things to write about in it. Maybe I have simply grown past them, or maybe his writing isn't as sharp as it used to be - I don't know. The story of the barking dog and the car alarm did tickle my funny bone however. Also, the story about "The Kid" on the basketball team who just couldn't play but tried so hard really touched my heart. If this author writes another book I will probably buy it because I have all of his other books, but he seems to have lost the initial magic I found in his earlier books.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Someone in a review said they had a long standing crush on Robert Fulghum. This is my first book of his, but there is an attractiveness that made me feel very comfortable and at peace listening to his words. I really like listening to his voice, the occasional chuckle and his clever way of telling life experiences. He has three homes, one in Seattle, WA one in Moab, UT, and one in Crete. He tells of the culture and stories that have occurred in each of them. I really want to be there. Most all o Someone in a review said they had a long standing crush on Robert Fulghum. This is my first book of his, but there is an attractiveness that made me feel very comfortable and at peace listening to his words. I really like listening to his voice, the occasional chuckle and his clever way of telling life experiences. He has three homes, one in Seattle, WA one in Moab, UT, and one in Crete. He tells of the culture and stories that have occurred in each of them. I really want to be there. Most all of us have heard the title "All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten." That's Fulgham's work. So clever he is in his abilities. Will read more of them. Recommend.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Another book that has been on my shelf and I decided to reread it. I thought I would re read it then donate it but... it is a great book. Of course, the author is a fine author. This book focuses on things that you are doing/have done in your life. There is one great chapter in this book with a list of open ended questions to start a deep conversation. That is a keeper!! It is an easy read and the chapters are short. I would recommend reading this book a chapter or two at a time then putting it d Another book that has been on my shelf and I decided to reread it. I thought I would re read it then donate it but... it is a great book. Of course, the author is a fine author. This book focuses on things that you are doing/have done in your life. There is one great chapter in this book with a list of open ended questions to start a deep conversation. That is a keeper!! It is an easy read and the chapters are short. I would recommend reading this book a chapter or two at a time then putting it down. It is not a book that has a storyline throughout the book. It is best enjoyed in small bits!!

  25. 5 out of 5

    AuthorsOnTourLive!

    Robert Fulghum's newest book What On Earth Have I Done? Stories, Observations, and Affirmations is a wonderful new collection and an armchair tour of everyday life as seen by Fulghum, one of America's great essayists, a man who has two feet planted firmly on the earth, one eye on the heavens and, at times, a tongue planted firmly in his cheek. We met Robert Fulghum when he visited the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver. You can listen to him talk about What On Earth Have I Done? Stories, Observat Robert Fulghum's newest book What On Earth Have I Done? Stories, Observations, and Affirmations is a wonderful new collection and an armchair tour of everyday life as seen by Fulghum, one of America's great essayists, a man who has two feet planted firmly on the earth, one eye on the heavens and, at times, a tongue planted firmly in his cheek. We met Robert Fulghum when he visited the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver. You can listen to him talk about What On Earth Have I Done? Stories, Observations, and Affirmations here: http://www.authorsontourlive.com/?p=112

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I really enjoy Robert Fulghum's essays, and I enjoyed this book, too. The essay about him running through a Cretan village yelling "Calimari! Calimari!" ("Squid! Squid!") instead of "Kalimera! Kalimera!" ("Good morning! Good morning!") had me falling off the couch laughing. And a couple of quotes: "If you do not dance, you will feel foolish. If you dance, you will also be foolish. So why not dance?" "Pick a league worthy of your abilities, and flourish there." "Determine what you can do. And do that I really enjoy Robert Fulghum's essays, and I enjoyed this book, too. The essay about him running through a Cretan village yelling "Calimari! Calimari!" ("Squid! Squid!") instead of "Kalimera! Kalimera!" ("Good morning! Good morning!") had me falling off the couch laughing. And a couple of quotes: "If you do not dance, you will feel foolish. If you dance, you will also be foolish. So why not dance?" "Pick a league worthy of your abilities, and flourish there." "Determine what you can do. And do that" (Epictetus)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Didn't like all of the rambling musings. Liked: "If you do not join the dancing, you will feel foolish. If you dance, you will also feel foolish. So, why not dance?" p75 "But there aren't any Jesus jokes in the Bible. Right. That's the problem. My book would be about the missing material." p172 Nice quotes for hard times from Epictetus pp175-181 List of conversation lifeboat questions, including "What would you learn?" pp233-235 Ask people to tell you Christmas stories from their lives. p251 Mir Didn't like all of the rambling musings. Liked: "If you do not join the dancing, you will feel foolish. If you dance, you will also feel foolish. So, why not dance?" p75 "But there aren't any Jesus jokes in the Bible. Right. That's the problem. My book would be about the missing material." p172 Nice quotes for hard times from Epictetus pp175-181 List of conversation lifeboat questions, including "What would you learn?" pp233-235 Ask people to tell you Christmas stories from their lives. p251 Mirror story: "I am a fragment of a mirror whose design and shape I do not know." p290-292

  28. 4 out of 5

    Susanna

    This is a great book. Fulghum is non-pretentious in his writing and he is not afraid to show his vulnerability in many ways. I like the way he reconnoiters the minute things in life. His experience in testing rodents' interest in shiny objects was hilarious. His boldness in admitting that he used the 'pencil snake' story to scare his three grand-children to sleep was simply endearing. His sympathy towards the dying fly on his desk and his kind act of giving the fly a proper burial left me speech This is a great book. Fulghum is non-pretentious in his writing and he is not afraid to show his vulnerability in many ways. I like the way he reconnoiters the minute things in life. His experience in testing rodents' interest in shiny objects was hilarious. His boldness in admitting that he used the 'pencil snake' story to scare his three grand-children to sleep was simply endearing. His sympathy towards the dying fly on his desk and his kind act of giving the fly a proper burial left me speechless. 87 funny essays in this book. Highly recommended!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Deanna

    Mr. Fulghum can certainly write. And like most philosophers and theologians, he can also think and analyze. He tells wonderful stories and draws great conclusions from them, and this series of essays were hilarious, and warm, and very fun to listen to as we drove on a road trip. Unfortunately, I find Mr. Fulghum a little smug and condescending also, so I had to give him 3 stars. But don't let me dissuade you from reading these. The story about him jogging for the first time on the island of Crete Mr. Fulghum can certainly write. And like most philosophers and theologians, he can also think and analyze. He tells wonderful stories and draws great conclusions from them, and this series of essays were hilarious, and warm, and very fun to listen to as we drove on a road trip. Unfortunately, I find Mr. Fulghum a little smug and condescending also, so I had to give him 3 stars. But don't let me dissuade you from reading these. The story about him jogging for the first time on the island of Crete is roll-on-the-floor hilarious.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    This the the first book I've read from Robert Fulghum. I stumbled across him when searching for a quote someone posted under John Lennon and Fulghum's name came up. So I looked to see what books my library had of his and got this one. I have really enjoyed it, made me laugh, cry, think. I have even had to stop a few times to note down some quotes from the book that struck a chord with me. In reading some of the other reviews and seeing that some people didn't like this book compared to other boo This the the first book I've read from Robert Fulghum. I stumbled across him when searching for a quote someone posted under John Lennon and Fulghum's name came up. So I looked to see what books my library had of his and got this one. I have really enjoyed it, made me laugh, cry, think. I have even had to stop a few times to note down some quotes from the book that struck a chord with me. In reading some of the other reviews and seeing that some people didn't like this book compared to other books, I am really looking forward to reading more from this author.

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