Best Self Magazine

Emeralds of Wisdom: Life Lessons From The Wizard of Oz

Somewhere Over The Rainbow: Life Lessons from The Wizard of Oz by Peter Guzzardi. Photograph of a paint rainbow by Markus Spiske
Photograph by Markus Spiske

Insights from Oz can guide your journey from helpless to empowered, lost to centered, from looking for answers out there to finding them within

I’ve spent a lifetime working with brilliant people. I’ve edited Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, a dozen titles by Deepak Chopra, and bestselling books by the likes of Douglas Adams, Queen Noor, Byron Katie, Carol Burnett, Arianna Huffington, Paula Poundstone, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Then one day I had a revelation. All the wisdom I had encountered by editing these thought leaders was right there in a film I first watched when I was eleven years old: The Wizard of Oz

I mentioned this to a publisher who liked the idea, so I embarked on a five-year archaeological dig, a frame-by-frame hunt for wisdom in the most-watched film of all time. What did I find? Lots of illuminating gems of insight, like “There are no mistakes, only lessons,” and “When you ask for help, don’t be shy.” Then my pickaxe struck something even more substantial: nine massive chunks of wisdom that I identify as Emeralds, each of which is linked to an iconic moment in the movie. 

A Blueprint Within A Dream

As you’ll recall from the film, Dorothy’s

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