''The Measure of Our Success'' | EW.com

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''The Measure of Our Success''

''The Measure of Our Success'' -- Marian Wright Edelman's best-selling book enlightens readers with life lessons

While politicians are busy talking up ”family values” this year, Marian Wright Edelman has actually got the nation reading about them. In the 97 pages of her best-selling The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours, Edelman, 53, offers ”Twenty Five Lessons for Life.” Drawing upon her experience as the daughter of a Baptist minister in segregated South Carolina, as the first black woman to practice law in Mississippi, as a wife and mother, and as founder and head of the Children’s Defense Fund — a nonprofit research and lobbying organization dedicated to improving the well-being of the nation’s children — Edelman has heartened a good many Americans.

Her book, now in its eighth printing (230,000 copies), has spent 11 weeks on the best-seller lists and fetched its publisher, Beacon Press, an impressive $425,000 for paperback rights. Edelman’s life lessons are short (No. 13: Be confident that you can make a difference; No. 19: Try to live in the present) and they don’t preach so much as inspire. At least one politician’s wife seems responsive. ”This book is from the heart of a woman who practices each lesson she preaches,” says Hillary Clinton, a Defense Fund board member. ”It struck a deep chord in me as a mother trying to raise a daughter in difficult times.”