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Nora Ephron’s secrets to a good life

In her new book, “I Feel Bad About My Neck,” the writer of “Sleepless in Seattle” writes about being a woman of a certain age. Read an excerpt.
/ Source: TODAY

Nora Ephron has had quite a life. She has received Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay for such favorite films as “When Harry Met Sally,” “Silkwood,” and “Sleepless in Seattle.” She wrote the novels “Heartburn” and “Crazy Salad.” And in her younger days, she was an intern in the Kennedy White House — but points out that the president, a notorious womanizer, never made “a pass” at her. On , she admitted she figured out Deep Throat’s identity years before he revealed himself as the anomymous source in “All the President’s Men,” even though her ex-husband, Carl Bernstein, the book’s co-author and Washington Post reporter, didn’t divulge the secret to her.

Bragging that she’s not one for discretion, Ephron tells her life secrets in her latest book, “I Feel Bad About My Neck.” The 65-year-old reflects on her life, growing older, and finding the perfect purse for all her stuff. Ephron will appear on “Today” to discuss her book on August 2, and will answer readers’ questions in an online interview on the same day. In the meantime, here’s an excerpt:

What I Wish I’d Known

People have only one way to be.

Buy, don’t rent.

Never marry a man you wouldn’t want to be divorced from.

Don’t cover a couch with anything that isn’t more or less beige.

Don’t buy anything that is 100 percent wool even if it seems to be very soft and not particularly itchy when you try it on in the store.

You can’t be friends with people who call after 11 p.m.

Block everyone on your instant mail.

The world’s greatest babysitter burns out after two and a half years.

You never know.

The last four years of psychoanalysis are a waste of money.

The plane is not going to crash.

Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age of thirty-five you will be nostalgic for at the age of forty-five.

At the age of fifty-five you will get a saggy roll just above your waist even if you are painfully thin.

This saggy roll just above your waist will be especially visible from the back and will force you to reevaluate half the clothes in your closet, especially the white shirts.

Write everything down.

Keep a journal.

Take more pictures.

The empty nest is underrated.

You can order more than one dessert.

You can’t own too many black turtleneck sweaters.

If the shoe doesn’t fit in the shoe store, it’s never going to fit.

When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.

Back up your files.

Overinsure everything.

Whenever someone says the words “Our friendship is more important than this,” watch out, because it almost never is.

There’s no point in making piecrust from scratch.

The reason you’re waking up in the middle of the night is the second glass of wine.

The minute you decide to get divorced, go see a lawyer and file the papers.


Never let them know.

If only one third of your clothes are mistakes, you’re ahead of the game.

If friends ask you to be their child’s guardian in case they die in a plane crash, you can say no.

There are no secrets.

Excerpted from “I Feel Bad About My Neck,” by Nora Ephron Copyright © 2006 by Nora Ephron. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.