Life & Philosophy

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life advice

Image via onmugul
Image via onmugul

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the second woman to serve as a justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. Below are a few inspirational excerpts from her New York Times article ‘Advice for Living,’ as adapted from her forthcoming book My Own Words. Her life’s advice is a continuation of what others told her when she was growing up.

On-self reliance

First, a mother who, by her example, made reading a delight and counseled me constantly to “be independent,” able to fend for myself, whatever fortune might have in store for me.

On the power of words

At Cornell University, my professor of European literature, Vladimir Nabokov, changed the way I read and the way I write. Words could paint pictures, I learned from him. Choosing the right word, and the right word order, he illustrated, could make an enormous difference in conveying an image or an idea.

On listening and marriage

“In every good marriage,” she counseled, “it helps sometimes to be a little deaf.” I have followed that advice assiduously, and not only at home through 56 years of a marital partnership nonpareil. I have employed it as well in every workplace, including the Supreme Court. When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.

At 83 years-old, this ‘Beyoncé of the Law’ doesn’t plan on retiring anytime soon.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Advice for Living

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.