"What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?" -- Robert Fulghum
Robert Lee Fulghum (born June 4, 1937) is an American author, primarily of short essays.
He has worked as a Unitarian Universalist minister (at the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship in Bellingham, Washington from 1960-64 , and the Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Church in Edmonds, Washington amongst other communities well into the 1980s).
During this same period he taught drawing, painting, and philosophy at the Lakeside School in Seattle. Fulghum is an accomplished painter and sculptor. He sings, and plays the guitar and mando-cello. He was a founding member of the authors' collective rock-and-roll band, "Rock Bottom Remainders". Previous to his professional careers, he also worked as a ditch-digger, newspaper carrier, ranch hand, salesman for IBM, and singing cowboy. He grew up in Waco, Texas.
He came to prominence in the US when his first collection, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (1988), stayed on the New York Times bestseller lists for nearly two years.
Throughout this collection, subtitled "Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things," Fulghum expounds his down-home philosophy of seeing the world through the eyes of a child.
His prose style is very simple and direct, and finds life-affirming maxims in such mundane matters as zoos, leaf-raking and dusting.
"All I really need to know... I learned in kindergarten.""And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world it is best to hold hands and stick together.""Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.""Clean up your own mess.""Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.""I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.""I've always thought anyone can make money. Making a life worth living, that's the real test.""If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience.""If you want an interesting party sometime, combine cocktails and a fresh box of crayons for everyone.""It will be a great day when our schools have all the money they need, and our air force has to have a bake-sale to buy a bomber.""Play fair. Don't hit people. Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.""Share everything. Don't take things that aren't yours. Put things back where you found them.""Sticks and stones will break our bones, but words will break our hearts.""The examined life is no picnic.""The world does not need tourists who ride by in a bus clucking their tongues. The world as it is needs those who will love it enough to change it, with what they have, where they are.""To be human is to keep rattling the bars of the cage of existence, hollering, 'What's it for?'"