Twelve Life Lessons from Little Women


1. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger: “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

2. Learn from your mistakes: “Don’t cry so bitterly, but remember this day, and resolve with all your soul that you will never know another like it.” 

3. Secrets, secrets are no fun: “I don’t think secrets agree with me, I feel rumpled up in mind since you told me that…” 

4. Money isn’t everything: “I’d rather see you poor men’s wives, if you were happy, beloved, contented, than queen’s on thrones, without self-respect and peace.”


5. Choose whose opinions to care about: “Jo’s eyes sparkled, for it’s always pleasant to be believed in; and a friend’s praise is always sweeter than a dozen newspaper puffs.” 

6. But sometimes you need caffeine more than praise: “I’d rather take coffee than compliments just now.”

7. Everyone has to grow up eventually: “We’ll all grow up Meg, no pretending we won’t.” 

8. Always listen to your mother (especially if she is Marmee): 


9. Find a good work/play balance: “You may try your experiment for a week and see how you like it. I think by Saturday night you will find that all play and no work is as bad as all work and no play” 

10. Sometimes girls really do like bad boys: “I’m afraid I couldn’t like him without a spice of human naughtiness.”

11. And real men rarely live up to fantasies: “She preferred imaginary heroes to real ones, because when tired of them, the former could be shut up in the tin kitchen till called for, and the latter were less manageable.” 

12. If you don’t make plans for the future, you might die of scarlet fever: “If God wants me with Him, there is none who will stop Him. I don’t mind. I was never like the rest of you… making plans about the great things I’d do. I never saw myself as anything much.”


13. Be kind to those less fortunate: “Don’t laugh at the spinsters, dear girls, for often very tender, tragic romances are hidden away in the hearts that beat so quietly under the sober gowns, and many silent sacrifices of youth, health, ambition, love itself, make the faded faces beautiful in God’s sight.”

Bonus Lesson: Even thought Little Women is one of my favorite books, it has some pretty outdated/messed up ideas about morality and gender roles. Also, learn from Jo’s mistake. If Theodore Lawrence asks you to marry him, do not pass go, do not collect $200, say yes and hop on the next boat to London.

Let me know your favorite lessons from this classic in the comments. And if you still are in need of some life lessons, try these posts:

12 thoughts on “Twelve Life Lessons from Little Women

  1. I thought you would have saved this post for my birthday – but even though out dated it still has some good life lessons

  2. LOL yes definitely to the bonus lesson about Jo and Laurie. Well, I don’t mind that she refused the first time, because neither were ready. But he should have come back and asked again! (And not in a letter while her sister is sick.)

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