The Wisdoms Project

What, Why, When and How

“A Forward to this Project”

A lot of people write their autobiographies or memoirs.  I guess it is because they have something to say and want someone to hear it.  Well, I have something to say….a lot of somethings….and as you know, I have been saying those somethings all my life….so why should I stop now?

In this case, my “somethings” are mostly other people’s somethings.  For over fifty years, I have been collecting aphorisms, philosophies, maxims, proverbs, poems, witticisms, lyrics, truisms and other writings by famous and not famous people. I found them in books, newspaper articles, plays, TV shows, speeches, magazine stories, interviews, fortune cookies, radio talk shows, concerts, bumper stickers, etc. 

My collection consists of a great deal of “acquired wisdom” that I find meaningful and helpful in living my life in the manner that I think is right.  Some of this wisdom has helped me greatly through some pretty serious crises in my life.  There’s also a lot of fun and entertainment here….which is the way I like life.


In 1994, I developed a very fast-growing and deadly cancer.  Prognosis: three-to-four months.  Some fine doctors, nurses and medical techs along with a very loving and caring wife (plus some luck, perseverance and fate) saw me through some surgery, three months of kidney dialysis, six weeks of radiation and eight months of chemotherapy.
A couple of weeks after my diagnosis, I started to design and write my own funeral.  I’ve always liked to be in control and for me that means right up to the end….and then some.  I set about to select my favorite “wisdoms” to be read by my family and friends at my funeral service.

I found that I had so much acquired wisdom that I started to plan a two-day funeral and seminar so that everyone could share these great ideas….complete with food, wine, music and of course, cemetery tours….with me, somehow, as the tour guide!  Then I thought, why should I make everyone wait until I die before they get to look over, consider and enjoy all this fine wisdom? 

So I decided to compile, edit and collate my collection and publish “The Wisdoms Project.”  I printed 100 copies of a 164-page book and gave them to family, friends, the 23 medical people who were treating me and to others that were in a serious life crisis (dying, arrested, bankrupt, seriously ill, depressed, burned out, divorcing, foreclosed, rejected by college/job/lover, addicted, fired, with sick children, etc.)  

Well, instead of me dying, my cancer died.  It was replaced however, by congestive heart failure (partly due to two heart attacks I had when I was 34) and some pretty painful and serious arthritis (partly due to the chemotherapy necessary to fight the cancer).  As Gilda Radner said….“If it ain’t one thing, it’s another!”

In early 2010, I found that I had acquired hundreds more “wisdoms” from various sources.  I culled the old and new collections and discarded hundreds of wisdoms because of their lack of quality or their redundancy. I decided to greatly expand the original “Wisdoms Project,” utilize the computer for wider distribution and offer (still for free) these ideas to everyone interested.

There’s a lot of serious stuff here interwoven with a good deal of funny stuff, whimsical stuff and plain old nonsense.  A little bit of opinion from me.  A lot of wisdom and fun from a lot of other people…. some you’ll recognize, some you won’t.

A major purpose of all this is to make you smile, chuckle or laugh…. to lighten your day for a few minutes.  If I can do that, then I feel good and I like to feel good.  So, help me out here, will ya’!

I organized all the acquired wisdoms into categories by topic.  Each topic is really a “chapter” of my life. There are 58 of them covering over 1500 pieces of wisdom on 61 webpages. (In printed book form, it would be about 400 pages.)  Much thought went into the order in which each acquired wisdom was placed within its chapter and the order of the chapters themselves….I wanted them to relate and flow.

Much introspection went into the writing of the chapter introductions….my thoughts, my philosophy, my “wisdom.”  I wanted them to be honest and insightful as to my opinions, principles, values and manner of thinking and living.  And I wanted them to be brief….which was very hard for me to do.  I decided to let the selected wisdoms elaborate for me.  (Must be getting old.)

Scattered throughout this book are 22 wisdoms in the form of song lyrics.  I love popular music and over the years have reveled in the melody and, in some cases, the wise lyrics of many songs.  I have identified the title and lyricist of these songs and given you a sampling of the sentiment they express. To get the full enjoyment of these “wisdoms,” you might want to listen to the song while reading the complete lyrics.  That way you’ll capture the full emotion of the songs.  Be sure to sing-a-long….it’s good for the soul.


Four of my acquired wisdoms have been major influences in my life:

1.  My level of self-esteem is based on the lyrics of the British musical  playwrights Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley:  “Just once in a lifetime….I’m going to do great things.”  Please see the chapter on “Self-Esteem”  for more of the song and my personal interpretation of it.

2.   My primary attitude toward others is summarized by the philosophy of Etienne de Grellet….the nineteenth-century French-American Quaker missionary and social reformer: “I shall pass through this world but once….let me do good now….”  Please see the chapter on “Kindness” to understand why I feel that the operative word of the author’s message is “now.”
3.  The attributes of decisiveness, achievement and leadership that have propelled me through my business and personal life are anchored in Johann von Goethe’s revelation that “The moment one definitely commits oneself”….the boldness of that commitment brings forth genius, power and magic to help you succeed. The chapter on “Action” passionately and poetically details this truism.
4.    The driving force inside of me is verbalized by American President Calvin Coolidge’s truism:  “Nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance.”  Please see the chapter on “Perseverance” for the lesser attributes according to Coolidge plus 43 more wise thoughts on this subject from Churchill, FDR, Einstein, Confucius, Mike Ditka (?!) and others.

       Finally, I want to express many thanks to some special people for their fine efforts and advice in bringing this book to fruition.

Anne Isaacs and Lisa Isaacs carefully typed a large number of pages.  Anne also was always there to let me try out ideas on her.  Anne’s honesty was very helpful.  Marc Isaacs also provided some helpful advice.

Geraldine Magers reviewed the finished product and looked for website navigation, copy and design problems. 

Susan Becker created and maintained this website and proposed many different graphic elements for me to choose the final look. By the way, if you’re interested in an intimate and intense oil painting of your Companion Animal by Becker, check out

In closing, here is a Chinese proverb that I cherish and pass on to you as both a wish and an urging:

May You Live In Interesting Times!
(The Chinese don’t say good times or bad times, but interesting times!)

And may you be happy….and enjoy!
E.D. Isaacs
Questions or Comments, Please Email Anne Isaacs:

Postscript Concerning This Ebook
1.    Although I have searched and strived to give the proper credit to the authors of these wisdoms, there are many thoughts here for which I do not know the name of the true author.  If you do, please let me know.
2.  You certainly have my permission to reproduce any of these wisdoms and comments for yourself and/or your family and friends.  After all, as some wise person once said: “An idea belongs to those who use it.”
3.  Special  note to the living authors of the wisdoms in this book and the estate managers of deceased authors of such wisdoms whether identified in this book by name or not:  If you wish or require that specific permission be given by you in order for your wisdom to be included in this book , please consider this as the request for that permission.  On behalf of myself and all the readers who will benefit from your wisdom, I sincerely thank you.  If you require additional compensation, please know that no reader of this book is being asked to pay for this book and that I as writer, compiler, designer, publisher and distributor of this book am taking no money to do so. If you still want compensation for your wisdom to be included in this free book, please contact me.  I will immediately remove your piece of wisdom from this book and its website.

4.   A very valiant effort was made to make this website easily-readable, eye-appealing and letter-perfect.  However, sometimes between our uploading and your downloading, HAL The Computer Grinch plays some mysterious and uncontrollable tricks so that the copy or graphics you see is not what we intended.  If this happens with your computer, I’m sorry....but it’s not our don’t even think of asking for your money back.

5.  If some of the “acquired wisdoms” or some of my opinions expressed in the chapter introductions or this whole book sounds as if I am preaching or assuming a superior attitude, please consider this:  Although I strive for perfection, I am not perfect.  Although I believe in all these wisdoms, I sadly often ignore many of them.  Although I would like to act and live always adhering to these wisdoms, I do not.  I try….like you try.  And like you….I usually succeed.  That’s all.  That’s enough.    

E.D. Isaacs’ Ideas on Better Handling of Serious Illness

I have lived through two, serious heart attacks, stage four cancer, total kidney failure and now have congestive heart failure and arthritis. Here are my six ideas to better handle serious illness that I presented at a Cancer Survivors Day event.

Always remember that it’s your body, your life, your decisions.  Do (or don’t do) what you believe  is right for you.  Get an Advance Health Care Directive form (also called a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care) from a doctor, hospice or the internet that specifies how you want to be treated if you are unable to say so verbally at a later time.  Give this completed form to your doctors and close family members.

Use doctors who specialize and deal everyday with just the problem you have.  Medical treatments are complicated and new ones are being devised all the time.  You want doctors who read all the medical journals and attend the seminars of their specialty and your malady.  And if your malady involves more that one system and /or organ, get those different specialists to talk together with you at the same time.  Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion….even if you have to pay for it yourself….and if your specialist objects, get another doctor!  (Remember, you are entitled to a copy of all your medical records, lab reports and x-rays whenever you want them.)

Get lots of understandable answers….or get new doctors and nurses.  Be knowledgeable about your situation, treatments and alternatives.  (Remember point #1 above.)  Don’t put up with medical people who just help you physically, but not emotionally.  If you’re going to have a rough time physically, you might as well insist on having it a little easier mentally.  (Hospital nurses, especially operating room nurses, have a lot of insight about the local doctors.  Ask them.)


One of my specialists told me (after I was in remission) that when I was diagnosed not one doctor in a hundred would have given me six months.  Remember, medical science is an inexact science.  But when you truly have had enough (for whatever reasons you choose), know that it was a great ride and that those that you love will get along very nicely with just their memories of you….just as you have after your parents died.


Doctors who dispense their services from ivory towers, do so because their patients put them there.  Respect your doctor’s training and knowledge, but encourage a relationship that also involves friendship.  After the second visit, use his or her first name (when alone with your doctor) and ask your doctor to do the same.  Friends are more open, more comfortable and more time-giving with each other.

Think of the immense joy you can bring to someone and their family with absolutely no pain, no cost, no effort from you.  Note it on your driver’s license and put it in writing for your doctors and family members.  What a way to make your life extra worthwhile!