Giving Back

Memories, Reflections, and Lessons Learned

Non-Fiction - Inspirational
150 Pages
Reviewed on 10/10/2021
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Author Biography

The author felt a strong desire to “give back” what he had learned over his 78 years and collated 50 short articles he had written on a variety of topics, the majority of which had been previously published. Giving Back, Memories, Reflections and Lessons learned was the result, and a work of love.

After retiring from the Yonkers public school system, where he was a teacher and administrator, Edward A. Joseph started working as a freelance writer. His nonfiction work has appeared in regional newspapers and magazines, as well as national magazines and books, including Inventors' Digest, Elks Magazine, Vibrant Life, Angels on Earth, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and The Saturday Evening Post.

His first book, The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Teacher, which is about his career as an urban educator, is available as an eBook at Google Play Books, as well as a print edition at

He has two grown children, and lives with his spouse, Susan, the love of his life, with their French bulldog, Louie, in the Park Hill section of Yonkers.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite

Giving Back: Memories, Reflections, and Lessons Learned by Edward A. Joseph is a solid and well-written collection of unique, informative articles and essays that touch the heart, teach life lessons, and entertain. There are fifty articles in all and they have appeared in publications such as Chicken Soup for the Soul, Vibrant Life, the Saturday Evening Post, and more. Novels are great vehicles for readers who like to spend a lot of time on a story, but there is something to be said for the short piece, which is perfect for those who prefer the short form, who don't have time to read long novels, or who just like a lot of gems in one place that you can pick up and put down whenever you want. Joseph's succinct, lean style and personable way with words will make you an instant fan.

This author invites you into his world with examples of how to give back, make a difference, and make the most of a situation. He is a teacher in every sense of the word, as well as a naturally gifted writer. You can always learn from the truth, even if it hurts. An example of this would be in the very first story, about his daughter coming back to live with him, and the mixed feelings he initially had. Then she began to help him edit his book, and she told him how to improve in specific areas. In time the process helped both of them in ways they couldn't foresee. Some writers may have glossed over the painful truth to make it sound more golden than it was. But because of his honesty, emotions came to the surface, natural conflict unfolded, and the story ended in satisfaction. Daring to be vulnerable pays off for Joseph time and time again throughout the fifty selections. From penguin puzzles to Kegel exercises, there is something here for everyone. For a volume of short stories, essays, and articles that offer wisdom, tears, insight, and humor, Giving Back: Memories, Reflections, and Lessons Learned by Edward A. Joseph is the perfect gift to give yourself or someone else.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” I love this quote from Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Obviously, Edward A. Joseph feels the same connection to his stories that both Maya and I feel to ours. He used this quote in his book, Giving Back: Memories, Reflections, and Lessons Learned, to head the last section called Didn’t Make the Cut. These stories have not been previously published, but they are important to him and his writing life. The other stories included in his book have been well read, having been published in such auspicious publications as The Saturday Evening Post, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and many others.

Edward A. Joseph’s story format is always short, perhaps what one might describe as a flash story. Although they’re short, the stories are packed with life lessons, interesting tidbits, anecdotes, and, of course, a dash of humor. Some stories will bring tears to readers’ eyes; others will allow the reader that simple ‘aha’ moment. The stories are well structured, with the requisite beginning, middle, and end plot structure. The author uses dialogue sparingly but effectively. Of all the stories, happy, sad, contemplative, and funny, I think the one that attracted me was “A Halloween Experiment,” a story that deftly teaches readers of all ages the power and courtesy of honesty while, at the same time, the story entertains. The ending was completely (or perhaps not so completely) unexpected. These stories are to be savored, one at a time. They can be read in minutes, but their message and life lessons will bring the reader back time and again.

Pikasho Deka

Giving Back: Memories, Reflections, and Lessons Learned is a collection of 50 articles written by Edward A. Joseph over the course of his career. The articles have been previously published in prominent senior citizen newspapers and national magazines and books such as Vibrant Life, The Saturday Evening Post, and Chicken Soup for the Soul. Encompassing a wide array of topics and subject matter, Joseph uses his experiences of a lifetime to tell enriching tales inspired by personal experiences and of those close to him. There is an article where Joseph talks about his fitness regime and diet. In another one, he recalls his attempts to learn Spanish and an alarming one where he found himself on the receiving end of scammers on the internet. He also puts his experience as a car salesman for one day on paper.

There is a sense of intimacy to the articles that make Giving Back a thoroughly enthralling read. Each carries the personal touch of Edward A. Joseph's real-life experiences, which adds an extra layer of authenticity to the stories and makes them relatable. The more I read, the more I found myself immersed in Joseph's writings. His prose is minimalistic and flows smoothly. The rhythmic bouts of wit and humor throughout the book keep you entertained all the way. Despite being targeted toward senior citizens, Giving Back has plenty of content to appeal to readers of any age group. If you're in the mood to relax with a thoughtful book in your hands, this is the perfect one for you.

Dr. Jordan Alexander

Drink coffee, eat dark chocolate, don’t drink and drive; just a few of the common sense messages you’ll find in Giving Back: Memories, Reflections, and Lessons Learned by Edward A. Joseph. The author blends heartfelt moments like remembering his late mother – the Dragon Lady – with a message of hope and love, with practical advice on healthy living, the realities of growing older, and why Sudoku may help as you increasingly forget where you left your keys. The author adds a dose of humor, famous quotes, and personal experiences in fifty short stories; easy to pick up and read in under five minutes. As a family man and former teacher and administrator, Joseph has a wealth of experiences to draw upon. I enjoyed the story of how he met his wife – with a small issue around a stolen boat – and how Susan, the love of his life, and his children factor strongly in his lived experience.

Tackling sensitive issues from colorectal cancer to Alzheimer’s, Kegels for men and why you shouldn’t put off seeing the ophthalmologist, Edward A. Joseph reminds us that our health warranty runs out after forty. We need to invest in our health and put our energy into what is meaningful to us. It is why he is still golfing, bowling and, at 76 years old, finished first in the 200-meter dash at the Empire State Senior-Masters Games. Each topic covered in Giving Back becomes less daunting with Joseph’s own experience supplementing his research and advice. His stories entertain and inform while providing practical tips for living a healthier life. No wonder many of the articles appeared in national magazines and books, like Chicken Soup for the Soul. I may personally take on his philosophy of stating your age as forty-eight (every year). His advice is interesting; his stories real and experiences relatable. A must-read for retirees, those considering retiring, and anyone wanting to grow old gracefully and in good health.

Cassie Widjaja

Giving Back: Memories, Reflections, and Lessons Learned by Edward A. Joseph is an inspirational collection of short, relatable articles. Most of these fifty articles have previously been published in senior citizen newspapers. However, some works have been published before in national magazines and books for the general public, such as Vibrant Life, The Saturday Evening Post, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and many others. Based on the author's various life experiences, this book aims to offer advice and entertain.

"Knowledge gained through experience is far superior and many times more useful than bookish knowledge." This quote by Mahatma Gandhi perfectly describes Giving Back: Memories, Reflections, and Lessons Learned as the author, Edward A. Joseph, offers priceless life advice for anyone at any age based on his many experiences. My favorite chapter has to be The Best Sermon I Ever Heard because I believe that being honest about your struggles sets off a chain reaction, where others are also inspired to share their story, and we can help each other out. I also love how Edward's simple but compelling storytelling draws me into the stories. Each short story packs a punch and is memorable on its own. The length of these stories is also just right. They are easy to pick up and read after a long day at work as the vocabulary used is often seen in day-to-day life and is easily understandable. For anyone looking for an inspirational and quick read, this book is definitely for you!