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'This I Believe II'

Americans from all walks of life share their personal credos in 500-word essays.

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This book opens with a formidable challenge: “What would you say in five hundred words to capture a core principle that guides your life?”

Before you try to answer that question, you might want to read some of the 75 essays collected in This I Believe II: More Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women. Many will leave you breathless. And those that don’t astonish may simply humble you.

This book (which is a sequel to a collection published last year) has its roots in a radio program hosted by Edward R. Murrow in the 1950s called “This I Believe.” Murrow asked well-known Americans to share their deepest beliefs in a brief statement.

In 2005, National Public Radio revived the concept with Jay Allison as host. Unlike Murrow, however, Allison speaks with people from all walks of life, including a wide range of ages and experiences.

Many of these speakers articulate beliefs “forged in hardship” – sometimes horrific experiences of tragedy, illness, or loss. Yet over and again they affirm the good to be gleaned – by those willing to recognize it – from the largest and the smallest lessons of human experience.

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