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The Urgent Life summary

Bozoma Saint John

My Story of Love, Loss, and Survival

4 (20 ratings)
16 mins

Brief summary

"The Urgent Life" by Bozoma Saint John is a memoir that inspires readers to prioritize their passions and live life to the fullest. With raw honesty and practical advice, Saint John shares her journey and offers tools to help others navigate their own urgent lives.

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    The Urgent Life
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    Key idea 1 of 6

    Lesson number one: Pick up that phone.

    One night, during college, Bozoma heard the shrill ring of her phone just as she was leaving her apartment. She knew who it was. Ben, her college boyfriend, had been spiraling — he was plagued by jealous delusions in which he imagined she was going out with other people. He was filled with self-loathing and despair, and nothing Bozoma did was enough to talk him out of that misery. 

    That night, she wasn’t up to having another painful conversation in which she defended herself about the supposed crimes she’d never committed. In fact, she was going out to have dinner with some girlfriends because she needed some support herself. So, she ignored the ringing phone, picked up her handbag, and walked out the door. 

    That moment was one that stays burned in her brain. Because Ben took his own life that night, jumping off a bridge near his apartment in Toronto. 

    With years of distance, and therapy, Saint John understands intellectually that there’s nothing she could have done to prevent his death. That his suicide was not her responsibility. But, still, nothing can stop her from replaying that moment in her mind. From putting down her bag, picking up the phone, and having one last conversation with Ben. 

    Ben’s death is one of those losses that has created an indelible scar. Even as Saint John has left college behind her, she still carries Ben with her. And the lesson she has taken from his death is that she always picks up that phone. She doesn’t wait to tell people she loves them. She doesn’t hold back when expressing her emotions. She doesn’t delay the trip, the hug, the celebration. She knows that there aren’t always second chances. Sometimes, you get just one. 

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    What is The Urgent Life about?

    The Urgent Life (2023) is part-memoir, part-manifesto to the importance of showing up in your life, and being fiercely present – no matter the circumstances. Bozoma Saint John has experienced both highs and lows in the course of her life. Through it all, she has learned to stay true to herself and her dreams, and to live as if nothing is guaranteed. In The Urgent Life, she describes the events that have most impacted her, and shares how you, too, can live life with passionate urgency.  

    The Urgent Life Review

    The Urgent Life by Bozoma Saint John (2021) is a compelling exploration of seizing the present and living life to the fullest. Here's why this book is a must-read:

    • Packed with insightful stories and personal experiences, it offers a fresh perspective on embracing urgency and finding meaning in each moment.
    • The book delves into practical strategies for overcoming complacency and taking action, empowering readers to create a life filled with purpose and fulfillment.
    • Through its engaging narrative and thought-provoking ideas, the book challenges the notion of time and encourages readers to make the most of every second.

    Who should read The Urgent Life?

    • People who are hungry to live more boldly, 
    • Young professionals looking for inspiration on how to navigate the corporate ladder authentically. 
    • Anyone who has experienced loss, and is figuring out how to carry on.

    About the Author

    Bozoma Saint John is an American businesswoman who has worked at powerhouses like Pepsi, Apple Music, Uber and Netflix. She has been inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Achievement and the American Marketing Hall of Fame, among others.  She was also named the number one most influential chief marketing officer by Forbes in 2021 and has a bestselling online tutorial called “The Badass Workshop.” 

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    The Urgent Life FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Urgent Life?

    The main message of The Urgent Life is to slow down and prioritize what truly matters in life.

    How long does it take to read The Urgent Life?

    The reading time for The Urgent Life varies, but it can be finished in a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Urgent Life a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Urgent Life is worth reading as it reminds us to live in the present and focus on what's important, offering valuable insights.

    Who is the author of The Urgent Life?

    The author of The Urgent Life is Bozoma Saint John.

    What to read after The Urgent Life?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Urgent Life, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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