Book Review: Life is a 4 Letter Word

One comment

Life is a 4 Letter Word

By: Dr. David A Levy

Genre: Nonfiction

Rating: ✨✨✨✨

Bookish Tip: Do not read straight thru. It will be better to read one life lesson a day.

Special thanks to Suzy Approved Book Tours for providing the advance copy in exchange for an honest review

Remember the childhood dread of getting a shot? Or more grownup fears, like being exposed as an impostor? Or the pain of saying goodbye to a beloved pet, having your trust betrayed, or falling in love with the wrong person?  

Over his 60-plus years, and varied careers as a therapist, professor, author, actor, and media consultant, Dr. David A. Levy has lived through everyday experiences—embarrassing moments, distressing episodes, moving encounters—that nearly everybody can relate to.

In LIFE IS A 4-LETTER WORD: Laughing and Learning Through 40 Life Lessons Dr. Levy shares the stories from his lifetime journey that have stayed with him and carried him through life’s challenges.

In midlife, Dr. Levy started collecting meaningful anecdotes from his past and, when they seemed relevant, sharing them to encourage and engage his patients and students. “I was struck by how frequently they resonated with others,” he reflects. “I came to realize the impact of these stories is a result of their being both real and personal.”

Presented in chronological order to trace the arc of his life, growth, and development, Dr. Levy’s slice-of-life tales offer deep insights, drawing on his expertise as a veteran psychologist, and the wisdom of both hindsight and maturity—as well as the ability to laugh at himself. Each story offers a valuable nugget or moral. But this collection of reflections on familiar yet often overlooked, and sometimes willfully forgotten, experiences isn’t preachy or prescriptive. Written in a style that’s engaging, humorous, warm, and friendly, LIFE IS A 4-LETTER WORD aims to entice others to look back on and find meaning in their own humbling attempts, impulsive decisions, silly mistakes, and happenstance occurrences.

Starting with the story of the routine shot Levy dreaded getting at age six and culminating six decades later with his near-dying father’s surprising final request, LIFE IS A 4-LETTER WORD tells widely relatable, touching, and often funny stories about high school football games, bosses from hell, and the frustration of trying to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. From his tales of youthful angst and hubris, early career blunders and misjudgments, and misplaced loyalty, envy, and loss, Dr. Levy offers his enduring takeaways, including:  

• When you have to face the inevitable, it’s best to just get it over with.

• You only know you’ve gone too far when you’ve gone too far.  

• A healthy dose of cynicism is a potent antidote against gullibility.

• The answers to some questions are destined to remain unknowable.

• With age, the absence of catastrophic news is great news.  


Life Is A 4 Letter Word by Dr. David A Levy is an insightful, humorous novel that provides real life experiences with every day life lessons.

Each life lesson is told in a few short pages through humorous commentary and storytelling. I found myself nodding in agreement, smiling or reminiscing about when I first learned a lesson throughout the entire novel. Life Is A 4 Letter Word makes for a wonderful conversation piece – perhaps even a coffee table book. Some of my favorite lessons include:

  • The two best healers are Mother Nature and Father Time.
  • Learn when to trust facts over feelings.
  • Love is a self-evident truth.
  • The journey can be more satisfying than the destination.
  • The experience of betrayal accentuates the value of loyalty.
  • Love something enough to let it go.


We could all use a little reminder every now and then. Life Is A 4 Letter Word would make for an awesome holiday present too.

About The Author

DR. DAVID A. LEVY is an award-winning Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine University, where he has been teaching since 1986. He received his BA in theater arts from UCLA before earning two MA degrees and his PhD in psychology. In addition to two bestselling textbooks, diverse research studies, and a widely acclaimed self-help book, Tools of Critical Thinking, he has published numerous satirical articles. A sought-out media consultant for psychological perspectives on current events and insights into issues in the mental health field, Dr. Levy has appeared on more than 70 broadcasts on major networks, including CNN, PBS, NPR, and NatGeo. He has also worked as a director, producer, writer, and actor in films, television, and stage. He received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Performance in a Network Television Series and was a guest star on the popular sitcom Cheers, where he portrayed the leader of Frasier’s low self-esteem group (a role which he adamantly maintains is not type-casting). He lives in Santa Monica, California.

Social Media:



Twitter: @davidlevyauthor

What Others Are Saying

David Levy has nailed what it means to glean all the greatness out of life’s masterful lessons in his new book, Life Is a 4-Letter Word! Laugh along with him, as I did, while drinking in these warm hearted anecdotal stories that will help you keep life in perspective.”  –Kristine Carlson, co-author of the Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff books

“Dr. Levy’s brilliant, touching, and humorous collection of stories showcases his well-honed, multi-faceted skills as a storyteller, educator, and psychologist. Readers will delight at the relatable snapshots of people, relationships, and events and find wonderful treasures of expertly distilled learning points embedded within.”–Judy Ho, clinical and forensic neuropsychologist, professor, and author (Stop Self-Sabotage)

“Meticulously crafted, these engaging, funny, and often moving vignettes perfectly set up the brief but potent shots of distilled wisdom that follow.” –Drew Erhardt, psychologist, co-developer of the Moodnotes and MoodKit apps

“This is a very special book that I predict will find thousands of eager readers. The stories combine David Levy’s wonderful sense of humor with insights and wisdom about life. It is well written and a kick to read!” –David N. Elkins, psychologist and author (The Human Elements of Psychotherapy)

“Professor David Levy’s book is insightful, profound, funny, and thoroughly original. Meaning in life is everywhere, he reminds us, and whether it changes us profoundly or sails right over our heads, it’s nice to know it’s there.” –Lewis Colick, screenwriter (October Sky, Ghosts of Mississippi, etc.)

“David Levy’s warm, funny and wise reflections on his life’s journey offers both comfort and hard-won advice for readers looking to improve their own lives.” –Dennis Palumbo, therapist, screenwriter (My Favorite Year), and author (Daniel Rinaldi Mysteries)

“Chicken soup, with a few dashes of Tabasco, and laced with scintillating humor.” –Eric Shiraev, cultural psychologist, George Mason University

1 comments on “Book Review: Life is a 4 Letter Word”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.