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Publisher's Summary

Joining the ranks of Tina Seelig's What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20, Clayton Christensen's How Will You Measure Your Life, Mary Karr's Now Go out There, and George Saunders' Congratulations, by the Way is an insightful guide that reveals the secret to pursuing a rich, fulfilling life: the art of asking (and answering) good questions.

In his commencement address to the graduating class of 2016, James E. Ryan, dean of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, offered remarkable advice to the crowd of hopeful men and women eager to make their marks on the world. The key to achieving emotional connections and social progress, he told them, can be found in five essential questions:

  • Wait, what?
  • I wonder if...
  • Couldn't we at least?
  • How can I help?
  • What truly matters?

"Wait, what?" is at the root of all understanding. "I wonder if..." is at the heart of all curiosity. "Couldn't we at least?" is the beginning of all progress. "How can I help?" is the basis of all good relationships. And "what truly matters?" gets you to the heart of life. By regularly asking these questions, Ryan promises, you will be prepared to enthusiastically answer yes to one final - and, ultimately, most important - question: "And did you get what you wanted out of life, even so?"

In this thoughtful, illuminating book, Ryan builds upon his wildly popular and universally praised address, which has been viewed more than four million times online. Wait, What? offers further insights into the art of asking good questions, highlighted by hilarious and surprising anecdotes from Ryan's personal and professional lives as well as stories from politics, popular culture, and social movements throughout history.

Engaging and inspiring, Wait, What? will change the way you look at yourself and the world and, in the process, help you get what you want most out of life.

©2017 James E. Ryan (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Must Read

Extremely thoughtful book that you can read in a night or weekend. It's humorous, real and meaningful, and Dean Ryan does a great job telling his own personal stories. I highly recommend this book - and intend to give to my family, friends and colleagues.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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wonderful book!

Loved it! Great mix of humor and sobering life lessons. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking to explore the power of questions.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Impressive

This book is one of the powerful books. I loved it ! I recommend this book for everyone!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mira
  • somerville, ME, United States
  • 04-19-17

wonderful book , thoughtful and inspiring.

really enjoy this book. simple but has some very deep thought-provoking content. not just good for one read, is worthy of one's personal library. this is a book I want my children to read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Just full of awesome!

I have often asked "wait, what?" sarcastically. This book shead light on how meaningful that question really is when posed properly. Additionally the remaining quetions I found very convicting and challenging. A very thought provoking conversation. This book is a conversation. Very well written and the narration is spot on.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great book

A must read! I would love every high schooler to have as required reading. Loved it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Life's essential questions.

Simple and beautiful. Most of us go through life seeking answers to life. What this book has illustrated was that the answers to life lies in the questions that are asked.

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Simple, funny and right to the point

I loved that book! It’s easy to follow and not overwhelming. A must read/listen if you’ve always wondered how to ask better questions, the key to all relationships!

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Important considerations for life

This had me know I am a great question-asker. It had me see the importance and value of questions; great and constant questions. It challenged me to be even better.

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Well-written and fully engaging

Well worth your time and attention ... Truly moving and potentially life-changing. An excellent book.

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  • Mr. Ben D. Bailey
  • 10-22-17

Great book

wait what is a book everyone should listen to or read. one that truly matters.

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  • Kwesi R.
  • 05-28-17

One to keep coming back to

The author was very easy to listen to and his stories quite compelling. The questions had a lot to them as well. Being a short book in sure I'll be returning to this one to help unpack the material more.
Worth it.