Oprah Winfrey, The Wisdom of Sundays

Books: Oprah Winfrey’s “The Wisdom of Sundays”, as reviewed by Amy Kellestine

By now, Oprah Winfrey is more than a household name. She is a bona fide legend, truly the stuff that American dreams are made of: an entirely self-made media mogul, actress, producer, philanthropist and one of most influential people in the world.

After ending a 25-year run as the matriarch of the Oprah Winfrey talk show in 2011, Oprah turned her focus to different formats to teach and inspire. Super Soul Sundays was born later that year as an hour-long program on her self-titled television network (Oprah Winfrey Network, or OWN). It is billed as a “daytime series that delivers insight and inspiration from renowned thought leaders to awaken viewers to their best selves and discover a deeper connection to the world around them”. Super Soul Sundays has aired 200-plus episodes over 15 seasons thus far, to rave reviews.

And now, the best of the “aha” moments captured on camera are documented in a beautiful fabric-bound book entitled The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations. In it, contributions from approximately 80 guests are beautifully curated alongside photos from Oprah’s home in Santa Barbara, with quotes and short but impactful essays.

The variety of spiritual heavy-hitters really packs a big punch. Interview excerpts and quotes span the perspectives of authors like Glennon Doyle, Grammy Award-winning musicians like India Arie, international religious leaders like Thich Nhat Hanh, comedians like Tracy Morgan, and scientists like Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. They are all organized according to theme, starting with Awakening and Intention, covering Ego and Broken Open, and rounding out with Grace and Gratitude, Fulfillment, and Love and Connection.

The format easily supports reading from beginning to end, as if it were a novel. But you can also simply pick a random page each day to read and contemplate. One thing I did struggle with, however, is the physical format of the book. It is almost a square, measuring approximately 7”x 8” and with 240 pages adding up to an inch and a half of thickness. Overall it felt a bit clunky for me. I believe a larger format book, with glossy pages (closer to a coffee table book), would have gone a long way toward supporting the beauty of the words contained within.

It was Oprah’s opening essay that resonated most deeply with me: “What I know for sure is the most valuable gift you can give yourself is the time to nurture the unique spirit that is you. Your life, just like mine, is unfolding according to your own truth. […] I believe your true purpose here on Earth is to align yourself with the great spiritual force, your divine inner compass, already at work in your own life.”

I am so grateful for Oprah and the building blocks she provides for others to make meaning of their own lives. Regardless of whether or not you are a devoted viewer of Super Soul Sundays, you will surely cherish this collection to inspire your own life.

Amy Kellestine headshotAmy Kellestine is an educator, engineer, Arati life coach and entrepreneur living in Edmonton, Alberta. She spends her free time camping, gardening, and volunteering for causes such as Cystic Fibrosis and nature conservation. She is a devoted mother and is passionate about helping others and writing.

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