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About the Book

Everyone has a story. Laurie Koss has five hundred and fifteen.

In her page-turning new book, the award-winning Canadian artist has crafted a memoir like no other. Each page of Lessons Learned is a single story concluding with a thought-provoking quote.

Perfect for today’s busy lifestyle, Lessons Learned is unique because the reader can choose to enjoy the stories chronologically like a novel, flip to a random page to uncover which lesson they chance upon, or read one-story-per-day for a daily dose of inspiration.

The thought-provoking quotes that complete each story originate from diverse literary, cultural, and historical sources. They make Lessons Learned a one-of-a-kind experience as the reader is encouraged to take a moment at the end of each page to ponder the lesson or to have a laugh.

Koss’ childhood stories begin in 1960’s Vancouver, B.C., with topics spanning from her budding interest in art to her keen intuition and family ghost stories to the tumultuous family dynamics created by a loving but alcoholic parent. With each story—and each life lesson learned—readers witness the coming-of-age and self-discovery of a young artist determined to create the life she dreams of living.

But life rarely goes as smoothly as we plan. Following the dips and successes of her romantic life, family, and career, Koss also illustrates the unexpected heartache of a life-altering illness and ongoing struggles with friendships—and the spiritual growth that can arise when we’re open to learning from these experiences.

Offering a blend of introspection, vulnerability, and creativity, Koss brings to life universal experiences that connect us all, interspersed by unique and often hilarious “Only Me” moments.

Koss’ storytelling takes the reader on an unforgettable journey from 1960s hippies to the 2020 pandemic. Her tales are a time portal to various eras and a reminder that we, too, have stories and history worth sharing.

Story by story, quote by quote, Laurie Koss entertains with self-effacing humour, compassion, and insight, proving there is a lesson to be learned in every moment life offers.

Lessons Learned is a collection of short stories to treasure, savour, and share with loved ones. It is sure to become a must-read for those seeking a refreshing, laugh-out-loud, heartfelt, and entertaining book.

Praise for Lessons Learned:

“What a beautiful and insightful memoir. I loved every minute I spent with it.”— Lisa Peterson

“I thoroughly enjoyed Lessons Learned from start to finish! I loved the one-page story format and how the quotes “put a bow” on each page. I can’t think of anyone this book wouldn’t appeal to!”— Holly Bobyn

“I loved the flow, the insights, the story-telling, and the descriptors in Lessons Learned.  Words that came to mind while reading are: brave, vulnerable, joyful, uplifting, funny, and raw—just to name a few.”— Michele Morris

“I loved many things about Lessons Learned—especially the fact that each page is a story in itself. Laurie describes situations vividly, and I felt like I was right there with her! The quotes she chose were so appropriate and amazing. I found the book easy to read and each story made me feel like I wanted more!”— Maureen Murray

“It is a rare treat to read such a revealing book! Laurie describes her life’s lessons so openly and honestly. I felt the pain of her tough lessons and laughed along with her at the joyful ones. She truly has a gift for writing, and it made her book such a pleasure to read.” — Lynn Sparling


5-star review from Reader Views: “Lessons Learned: From the Short Stories of My Life” by award-winning artist Laurie Koss is one of the most inspiring memoirs I’ve read this year. The transformative nature of her life story can help you sort through your own thoughts and feelings as you travel along your personal journey. The life lessons captured here are true lived experiences that most readers will be able to relate to on some level. It’s memoirs like this that transcend the meaning and nature of autobiography and become a near self-help guide. We learn so much from others, and this book is just one shining example.

Koss is courageous and honest in sharing her ups, downs, and nuggets of wisdom that she experienced and earned. The layout is easy and inviting–a short autobiographical story on each page, with a quote. Each story is numbered in super large print, making it easy to find favorites. From the beginning story where she talks about not realizing she was from a dysfunctional family, all the way to the very memorable entry #314, where she, as a mom, now asks her sister, “Who am I?” like a lot of mothers do when they feel like they have lost their original identity. Her sister Jane’s answer is one a lot of mothers should hear.

The life lessons contained here are many and varied, sure to touch readers all over the world. Some of the stories are more serious than others, but they are balanced out with good-natured fun–over 500 stories in all. The stories are inspiring enough, but if you want even more wisdom, encouragement, and inspiration, there are quotes too, gleaned from a myriad of sources. Quotes can offer big messages in just a few words. This is another reason I like Koss’s book: it’s how she tells intricate, involved ideas in a short space.

Even though it’s a life story, you could randomly pick a page and get something very meaningful out of it. If you’re in the mood for a memoir that includes ghost stories, dysfunction, art, romance, career, illness, spiritual growth, and slices of life that you can relate to, “Lessons Learned: From the Short Stories of My Life” by Laurie Koss is a must-have for your personal library. — Tammy Ruggles


5-star review from Readers’ Favorite: Lessons Learned is a collection of short snippets that give the reader a glimpse into the life of Laurie Koss. The variety of topics, ranging from stories about herself, her mother, her son, and others, shows the close family bond Koss shares and the events in her life that made it entertaining and interesting. I absolutely love how Koss ended each one with a quote that was relevant to life in general and to the story itself. I recommend Lessons Learned to anyone who enjoys a wide selection of quick-read stories that are both fun and true. I would be hard-pressed to choose a favorite, and I have no doubt that those who read this book will agree. I hope this talented author will compile more pieces like this so that readers can relate and learn valuable lessons. — Amy Raines