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as an imprudent youth myself, i found the work to fruitful for the endeavor of research, although i am not wholly obliged to credit it as a masterful work of american literature, it is in many senses conventional, not only in message, but also with regard to style.
I am 59 years old. I wish I had read it when I was 18. Though written in 1853, it contains guidance and advice that would be prudently heeded by any young man (or woman) today. I strongly encourage every young person to read this lecture. I also strongly encourage every parent to read it, for the benefit of your child. Be aware, that at the time it was written, America was primarily Christian, and there are references to Christian scripture. If you are Christian, this should create no difficulty.