You Learn  by Living by Eleanor Roosevelt

You Learn by Living
224 pages; Westminster John Knox Press
This is basically a collection of advice Roosevelt gave to people who wrote to her after she left the White House. Some of her comments are a little out of date—it was written in 1960—but what she writes about fear and courage apply as much to life today as when the book was published: "We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up' 'discovering we have the strength to stare it down." I order 15 copies at a time and dole them out to friends who are going through a rough patch. A book like this reminds you that real greatness is not something people are entitled to—it's something that's earned.
— Laura Linney