Book Review

What I know for Sure – Oprah Winfrey

In this world there are either people who love Oprah or can’t stand her. I happen to be one of those a-ha people who absolutely adore her, so much so, she’s been crowned my role-model. So when Oprah talks, she speaks to my soul, when she writes, her words bring tears to my eyes and when she passes on her wisdom, I want to be the sponge to take it all in.

During a live interview in 1998 to promote her movie “Beloved”, Oprah was asked the question by the late Gene Haskel, “Well, what do you know for sure?” There are few things that render the Queen of Talk speechless, however this question did just that and took her fourteen years of soul-searching through her vast experience in living an extraordinary life to reveal her wisdom in a beautifully crafted book of personal revelations.

The book is divided into segments of splendor – joy, resilience, love, gratitude, awe, clarity and power. In every segment, Oprah elaborates on private moments that changed her thinking and gave her life meaning. In Joy, Oprah shares simple pleasures that bring her contentment. What stood out for me was her infinite love of reading that established her broadcasting career and flung the doors of success open. Reading remains a treasured past time and a sacred indulgence.

In resilience, I loved her frankness on secrets and shame. For many years Oprah guarded a secret which eventually became public and naturally she held her head in shame thinking the world would berate her – yet nobody did. The lesson learned was “When you have nothing to be ashamed of, when you know who you are and what you stand for, you stand in wisdom.” – a truly a-ha moment for me!

In the love segment, Oprah demonstrates her best life lesson on finding love, not only in romantic liaisons that women seem to believe complete them, but seeking different forms of love through interactions with neighbours, friends, children and even with strangers. She believes the connection with others can bestow blessings of compassion, understanding, empathy and caring which ultimately fulfil the love we crave.

One of my favourite segments in the book has to be gratitude. Oprah believes that when faced with the worst possible scenario in life, being grateful offers one perspective. Gratitude can transform any situation, convert negative energy into positivity and the more it’s practiced, the goodness it radiates. I have taken her advice and adopted writing in a gratitude journal, capturing special moments I’m thankful for. Even after the most horrendous day, I can still find glimmers of hope and jotting them down warms my heart.

Another precious gem gleaned in the gratitude segment is the acceptance of age. Oprah professes that if one is blessed with another year, you should be immensely grateful, for so many people don’t have the opportunity to reach your age. She proclaims we can’t hold on to the person we were years ago for we constantly evolve, we need to accept the years we accumulate for they carry experience and wisdom. We ought to own the age we become, embrace it and hold it in reverence. Because of you Oprah, I look forward to turning forty this year!

A stand-out segment has to be possibility. Oprah conveys through her own work experience how seeking her passion and following her dreams led her onto the path of fulfilling her life purpose. Reading her inspiring words, I couldn’t help become teary-eyed, for so many of us aren’t true to ourselves and continue to do jobs that drain our spirit, demands so much of our time, leaving us depleted, depressed and angry with the world. We are afraid of moving in the direction of our dreams for fear of failure, the unknown and the terror of beginning again. Oprah believes that if you follow your dreams with all your might, work hard towards achieving your goal, take the leap of faith and release it to universe – sweet blessings will bloom, bringing fulfilment and joy!

In awe, Oprah speaks to the miracles of life. She practices meditation, is in tune with her spiritual side and embraces nature. She takes nothing for granted, is mindful of the priceless gifts surrounding her, opens her heart to as many people as possible, bringing about immense happiness and success. Like Oprah, I too practice meditation and try to incorporate it twice a day for I believe it puts everything into perspective and helps me to find peace in a chaotic world.

In clarity, Oprah sheds light on her own struggle with losing weight and how tortured she felt in trying to be an acceptable size for herself and all the critics out there. Through age and wisdom she came to the realisation she’s not her body and the number on the scale doesn’t define who she is. She struck the balance to healthy living by loving her body and the manner in which it functions, taking care of it through exercise, feeding it what it needs, which holds her in good stead and offers her glowing health and energy. I salute you Oprah!

In Power, Oprah packs a punch on a range of issues, but what caught my attention was heeding your spirit – feeding your mind with thoughts and ideas that open new possibilities, allowing you to keep growing and learning, for this is why we are here ultimately. Here is one of her remarkable quotes: “When your life is on course with its purpose, you are at your most powerful. And though you may stumble, you will not fall.” – Wow!

Oprah owns these beliefs, having learned many valuable lessons from her discussions with ordinary people on her shows, from the books she loves and the countless people she has helped along the way. She has become more successful than she ever thought possible and yet this isn’t what she imagined for herself – all she wanted was to be a good communicator and help others reach their true potential and yet the rewards of her steely determination and hard work paid off exponentially.

I read this book at a time when I wasn’t feeling positive about my life with everything that has transpired over the past few weeks and the last thing I felt like being was optimistic about the future. Yet this is exactly what it did for me, it found a way to uplift my soul and gave me the much needed nudge to pursue my passions with all the vigour and courage I can muster. I too like, Oprah want to succeed in life and follow my dreams and this can only happen if I completely believe in myself and decide to make it happen with the grace of God by my side. For what you believe, you can achieve – this I know for sure ❤


  1. Great Review Sumi! You recommended I read this book whilst I was visiting and after reading the first 3 chapters I only started getting into it… I never completed reading this book as I was reading The fault in our stars and I was between books at that time so hopefully I will get a chance to read this book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sis! I will definitely send the book your way, you have to read it all, I know you will love it just as much as I did. Love you 🙂


  2. First of all I admire your writing…your wisdom and your trust in life to carry on in a positive and shining manner. well done my dear friend….

    Liked by 1 person

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