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What I Know for Sure summary

Oprah Winfrey

Collected life lessons from Oprah's popular column

4.3 (172 ratings)
10 mins

Brief summary

What I Know for Sure by Oprah Winfrey is a memoir that shares the personal life lessons of one of the most influential women in media. From failed relationships to career success, it offers insights on how to live an authentic and fulfilling life.

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    What I Know for Sure
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    Oprah’s early childhood struggles taught her resilience.

    People usually see pregnancy as a joyous occasion, but this wasn’t the case for Oprah’s mother. Because she was unmarried, she hid her pregnancy until the day of Oprah’s birth in 1953, during which time she felt only deep shame and regret.

    You may have thought that such an ill-fated start to life would’ve impeded the young Oprah’s spirit, but it only made her stronger.

    As a child and teenager, Oprah faced years of loneliness, abuse and loss. When a counselor asked her to think about her early childhood years during an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1991, Oprah recalled a lonely little girl brought up by two inattentive grandparents.

    Sadly, her loneliness and suffering only got worse when she entered her teens. Oprah was sexually abused for four years between age ten and 14, and she eventually fell pregnant. Echoing her mother’s shame, Oprah hid her pregnancy from everyone. Tragically, her baby didn’t survive more than a few weeks after being born.

    Though she experienced incredible hardship early on, Oprah believes that it’s what eventually made her so successful.

    In her opinion, the loneliness that gnawed at her as a young child taught her the importance of being self-sufficient; she learned that no one else was going to take care of her, and so she would have to fend for herself. She also learned that happiness was something for which she couldn’t depend on others; she would have to achieve it on her own.

    To underpin all this, Oprah believes that determination and an open mind will enable you to overcome your most difficult struggles and turn them into your greatest strengths.

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    What is What I Know for Sure about?

    What I Know for Sure (2014) outlines the moments that shaped Oprah Winfrey into the phenomenally successful person she is today. Oprah shares her experiences and insights on overcoming hardship and how she used that strength to forge a path toward reaching her full potential.

    What I Know for Sure Review

    What I Know for Sure (2014) by Oprah Winfrey is a heartfelt collection of personal essays that offer wisdom and insight for living a fulfilling life. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With authentic and relatable stories, Oprah shares life lessons that are applicable to everyone, allowing readers to reflect on their own journey.
    • Each essay is concise and impactful, delivering profound messages in a simple and accessible manner.
    • Through her vulnerability and honesty, Oprah's words resonate deeply, giving readers a sense of connection and inspiration to embrace their true selves.

    Best quote from What I Know for Sure

    There is one irrefutable law of the universe: we are each responsible for our own life.

    —Oprah Winfrey
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    Who should read What I Know for Sure?

    • People who want to improve their self-esteem
    • Anyone looking for tips to overcome childhood trauma
    • Oprah fans who are interested in her backstory

    About the Author

    Oprah Winfrey was the host of the wildly popular and hugely successful American talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which aired from 1986 to 2011. Winfrey was the first female black billionaire.

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    What I Know for Sure FAQs 

    What is the main message of What I Know for Sure?

    The main message of What I Know for Sure is finding joy, peace, and fulfillment through self-reflection and embracing one's authentic self.

    How long does it take to read What I Know for Sure?

    The reading time for What I Know for Sure varies, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is What I Know for Sure a good book? Is it worth reading?

    What I Know for Sure is a worthwhile read for anyone seeking personal growth. It offers valuable insights, inspiration, and practical wisdom.

    Who is the author of What I Know for Sure?

    The author of What I Know for Sure is Oprah Winfrey.

    What to read after What I Know for Sure?

    If you're wondering what to read next after What I Know for Sure, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
    • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
    • Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard
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