The author of the book “30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans” asks people these questions to know their thoughts on all the big issues of life - children, marriage, money, career, aging:

  • What are some of the most important lessons you feel you have learned over the course of your life?
    • If the person has difficulty getting started, try this follow-up question: If a young person asked you, “What have you learned in your X years in this world,” what would you tell him or her?
  • What kinds of advice would you have about getting and staying married?
    • Follow-ups:
      • What’s the secret of a long marriage?

      • What mistakes should young people avoid regarding getting and staying married?

      • What advice would you have for a younger couple thinking of calling it quits?

  • What kinds of advice do you have about raising children?
    • Follow-ups: What mistakes should people avoid in child rearing?
  • Do you have any advice you can share about finding fulfilling work and how to succeed in a career?

  • Some people say that they have had difficult or stressful experiences but they have learned important lessons from them. Is that true for you? Can you give examples of what you learned?

  • As you look back over your life, do you see any “turning points”; that is, a key event or experience that changed the course of your life or set you on a different track?
    • Follow-ups: What are some of the important choices or decisions you made that you have learned from?
  • What would you say you know now about living a happy and successful life that you didn’t know when you were twenty?

  • What would you say are the major values or principles that you live by?

  • Have you learned any lessons regarding staying in good health?

  • What advice would you give to people about growing older?

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