The Power of O

Can you find the secret to happiness on daytime TV?

If you tune in to “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” you know the eponymous host gives lots of advice. Exercise. Diet. De-clutter your home. Read books. Buy leopard flats. On and on. For many people it probably goes in one ear and out the other, but not for Robyn Okrant — at least, not for the 12 months of 2008.

During that year Okrant lived every aspect of her life as Oprah directed on her television program, in her magazine and on her Web site.

Why? Okrant, a Chicagoan who grew up in Plymouth, N.H., says she recognized that, of all the cultural influences on American women, Oprah’s is perhaps the single most prevalent one and that she could learn from the mega-star’s advice to “Live Your Best Life.”

No doubt the self-described writer-director-performer-yoga teacher also thought she could turn the experience into a cool book, which she did [“Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk of the Queen of Talk,” Center Street/Hachette Book Group, $24.99]. The basis of the book is a year’s worth of blogs (, where she chronicled the ups and downs of her social experiment. The book has detailed charts of her “assignments” — get clear skin, watch show on past life regressions with an open mind and learn to accept all people, to name a few — and the time it took to complete them.

So was Okrant living the “Best Life” she could live by year’s end? Not to give away too much, but Okrant definitely had second thoughts about following someone else’s prescription for living, even if it’s the much-admired Oprah’s.

The book is well-written, an easy read and, yes, instructive.

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