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13 Life Lessons From 'The Hobbit'

I've seen his books on the shelves of famous playwrights and industrious farmers. They loved the Hobbits more than anyone else in Tolkien's tales. There's something about the character of the Hobbits that makes them live inside us in a profound and lasting way.
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FILE - This publicity film image released by Warner Bros., shows Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in a scene from the fantasy adventure "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." Late prospects for Oscar contenders, include Steven Spielberg's “Lincoln,” Tom Hooper's “Les Miserables,” director Kathryn Bigelow's “Zero Dark Thirty,” and creator Peter Jackson's “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first in his three-part “Rings” prelude. (AP Photo/Warner Bros., James Fisher, File)
FILE - This publicity film image released by Warner Bros., shows Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in a scene from the fantasy adventure "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." Late prospects for Oscar contenders, include Steven Spielberg's “Lincoln,” Tom Hooper's “Les Miserables,” director Kathryn Bigelow's “Zero Dark Thirty,” and creator Peter Jackson's “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first in his three-part “Rings” prelude. (AP Photo/Warner Bros., James Fisher, File)

Throughout my life I've never gotten over that sense of happy surprise at discovering someone else who loves Tolkien. I've seen his books on the shelves of famous playwrights and industrious farmers, successful businesspeople and cutting edge computer scientists. All of these men and women shared something in common: They loved the Hobbits more than anyone else in Tolkien's tales. That's because there's something about the character of the Hobbits (and not the characters called Hobbits) that makes them live inside us in a profound and lasting way. In my book The Wisdom of the Shire [Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, $22.99] I show how our lives can be better if some of the traits of the Hobbits become our own.

Here are 13 pieces of advice gleaned from the Shire: