Joining the ranks of Tina Seelig’s What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20, Clayton Christensen’s How Will You Measure Your Life, Mary Karr’s Now Go Out There, and George Saunders’ Congratulations, By the Way comes an insightful guide that reveals the secret to pursuing a rich, fulfilling life: the art of asking (and answering) good questions.
In his commencement address to the graduating class of 2016, James E. Ryan, dean of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, offered remarkable advice to the crowd of hopeful men and women eager to make their mark on the world. The key to achieving emotional connections and social progress he told them, can be found in five essential questions:
- Wait, what?
- I wonder if . . .
- Couldn’t we at least?
- How can I help?
- What truly matters?
"Wait, what?" is at the root of all understanding. "I wonder" is at the heart of all curiosity. "Couldn’t we at least?" is the beginning of all progress. "How can I help?" is the basis of all good relationships. And "what truly matters?" gets you to the heart of life. By regularly asking these questions, Ryan promises, you will be prepared to enthusiastically answer "Yes" to one final—and, ultimately, most important—question: "And did you get what you wanted out of life, even so?"
In this thoughtful, illuminating book, Ryan builds upon his wildly popular and universally praised address which has been viewed more than four million times online. Wait, What? offers further insights into the art of asking good questions, highlighted by hilarious and surprising anecdotes from Ryan’s personal and professional life, as well as stories from politics, popular culture, and social movements throughout history.
Engaging and inspiring, Wait, What? will change the way you look at yourself and the world, and, in the process, help you get what you want most out of life.
James E. Ryan is the eleventh dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Before joining Harvard, he was the Matheson & Morgenthau Distinguished Professor at the University of Virginia Law School, where he founded the school’s Program in Law and Public Service. He is the author of the nonfiction work Five Miles Away, A World Apart. A former clerk for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, as well as a former rugby player, he has argued before the United States Supreme Court. He lives with his wife, Katie, in Lincoln, Massachusetts, with their four kids, two dogs, two cats, and nine chickens.