By George Saunders, author of Congratulations, by the way (Random House, February 2014).
About a year ago I was asked to give a convocation speech for Syracuse University. A graduation speech is always a risky gig. Nobody’s sitting out there thinking, “I’m so excited to be graduating, because I get to hear the speaker!” So I thought I’d better (1) be brief and (2) tell the truth. In considering what advice I could give to a roomful of beautiful, well-educated young men and women, I realized that the only thing I had that they didn’t was that additional 35 years of being alive. More specifically, I started thinking about regret-looking back over those years, what did I really wish I had done differently? The answer was: I regretted almost nothing except my failures of kindness. Continue reading