Bookmark this collection of well-earned wisdom from writers both famous and not.

By Catherine DiBenedetto
November 16, 2015
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Over the last nine years, editor Larry Smith has collected more than a million teeny-tiny autobiographies. The founder of SMITH Magazine, a site dedicated to storytelling in its many forms, he launched the Six-Word Memoir project in 2006 to inspire people of all ages to sum up their lives succinctly. (For literary nerds, yes, the form is a twist on that famous six-word story by Ernest Hemingway: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”)

But Smith noticed a funny thing as the memoirs poured in: “It turned out that so many people wrote theirs as advice to give to others,” he told Health. “I think it’s a natural urge to want to offer a nugget of what we’ve learned in our lives thus far, in hopes that it’s meaningful to someone else.”

The observation led to his new book, The Best Advice in Six Words ($13;, a collection of well-earned wisdom from writers both famous and not. There were so many to love in the collection that we had trouble narrowing it down, but below you'll find some of our very favorites, organized by category (roughly).

For weathering life's ups and downs

"Not getting everything makes you stronger."—Saba Sulaiman

"At pity party, one drink maximum."—Tricia Janosy

"Stumbling looks like a dance eventually."—Sannon Whissell

"You learn more from your failures."—Piper Kerman

"Battle the lows, ride the highs."—Alayna Mae Bates

For dealing with loved ones

"A heartfelt apology resolves most conflicts."—Ayelet Waldman

"Old friends will keep you young."—Carol Smith

"Loss accepted is loss less painful."—Marie Paquet-Nesson

"When you find your tribe, stay."—Mishell Defeclie

"Never forget, love is a verb."—Alison Adams Perlac

For good health

"Seriously, get that mole checked out."—Mary Elizabeth Williams

For the office

"Develop an insatiable appetite for feedback."—Ken Goldberg

"Good posture trumps insecurity every time."—Susanne Kuznetsky

"Be a doer, not a dreamer."—Shonda Rimes

For loving yourself

"Don’t wait to appreciate your beauty."—Laurie Furber

"Solitude: different from loneliness; embrace it."—Nicole Battaglia

For times of uncertainty

"I guarantee you: certainty is impossible."—A.J. Jacobs

"Always stick to your mother-f*cking guns!"—Amy Ward

"When in doubt, aim for grace."—Patricia Ryan

"Will it matter in five years?"—Joyce Conover Welch

For appreciating every minute

"Take your time. It goes fast."—Susan Orlean

"Simplify your life. Amplify your pleasure."—Jana Beattie Eggers

"Basic needs: backbone, wishbone, funny bone."—Raven O'Keefe

"Not everything has to be fixed."—Michelle Smith