A Short Guide to a Happy Life

One Question for Anna Quindlen by Anne Kreamer

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Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is Anna Quindlen's most recent book.  She is the author of five previous bestselling novels (Rise and ShineBlessingsObject LessonsOne True ThingBlack and Blue), and seven nonfiction books (A Short Guide to a Happy LifeGood Dog. Stay.Being Perfect, Loud & Clear, Living Out Loud, Thinking Out Loud, and How Reading Changed My Life). Her New York Times column “Public and Private” won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992. From 2000-2009, She wrote the “Last Word” column for Newsweek.

Q: What’s the most significant risk you’ve taken professionally?

Anna:  Here's what I consider risky professionally: hanging on to a position because of fear or inertia and waking up one day and realizing you've missed forever the chance to try your change-up pitch.  What's risky is realizing you've never terrified yourself with a flying leap.  When you're feeling completely comfortable in a position, that's the time to move on.There are a hundred reasons not to do that, but they are all grounded in fear and convention.

I think taking a job that scares the hell out of you is the key to success.  It's how you grow.  We're all like sharks: keep moving or die.  Not a dead shark: that's my mantra.