About ramblingrhino

"Every life is a story. Whether it is a story worth telling and talking about, though, is up to you."

Book Review: The Only Negotiating Guide You’ll Ever Need


Ever wonder how some people manage to get whatever they want?

  • The best price on a used car.
  • Better promotions at work.
  • Pay raises.

Somehow, they manage to always be at the right place in the right time… and you do not.

True, some people are lucky, or they have killer good looks and can charm the skin off a snake.  If you are not blessed with dumb luck, or charm, maybe there is another way to getting what you want – ON PURPOSE.

Stark and Flaherty believe they have the answer.  In their book: The Only Negotiating Guide You’ll Ever Need, the authors list 120 negotiating tactics to sell your ideas and successfully negotiate a deal.  It’s not all about business tactics either.  From negotiating a better price at a garage sale to choosing a restaurant with your spouse, this book has it all.

Although the content is easy to read, I found myself getting a little overwhelmed with all of the solutions.  Also, my copy is paperback, so it’s hard to quickly reference strategies and keep all of them straight.  All in all, it’s an interesting read and has lots of practical advice.

I’ll definitely keep it handy the next time I go to a car dealership to negotiate a better price (that is, if I can successfully convince my wife and kids to go to the restaurant of my choosing before we go car shopping).

Many books I read and review come directly from publishers. Please note, however, that I am not paid to review any of these books, and that everything I say about a book is my own opinion.


Book Review: I’ll Push You

Great friends are hard to find.  It’s easy to make friends in good “seasons” – but finding one who will weather the difficult storms of life is rare.  Why is it so hard to find good friends?

Patrick Gray and Justin Skeesuck take friendship to a whole new level.  Their new book, I’ll Push you: A Journey of 500 Miles, Two Best Friends, and One Wheelchair addresses what true friendship looks like.  Actually, “friendship” is too soft of a word.  Their commitment to each other is extraordinary.


Why are these guys special?  Justin was diagnosed with a progressive neuromuscular disease where he is unable to use his arms or legs.  Patrick never abandons his friend… in fact, he agrees to a crazy plan to push his friend 500 miles through rough terrain in Spain.

To get a really good feel about their journey, check out this video on YouTube: http://woobox.com/965dan/j4h92q… you’ll be inspired just by the trailer!

I’ll Push You is one of the best stories I have read in a long time.  It’s about authentic relationships, deep faith and a willingness to push the boundaries of what humans think is possible.  It was so good, I finished on a cross country flight… and I think it’s best read in one or two sittings to keep up on the details of their journey (they travel the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain).

Get this book!  Your perspective on life will change.  These guys will challenge you to be a better person.


Portrait Revolution: Book Review

Capturing someone’s image on a sheet of drawing paper is no simple task.  You can either capture a likeness or not.  Good portraits should be more than an exercise in skill… the real “magic” happens when a soul comes through the artwork.

My middle child (she’s 16) is growing in her skills as a portrait artist.  She is growing in her skill every year.  So, I decided to order the book Portrait Revolution for her to add to her collection of art books.  Every artist needs to study other artists with skills beyond their own.  Portrait Revolution is filled with new ideas and techniques for her (and other budding artists) to grow her skills.


Just about every medium is represented in the book, and the tips and techniques are useful – especially for those with a love of portraits.

Shameless plug… my daughter is finishing up some of her portraits to start her own “business” this summer.  She wants to draw YOUR portrait.  As you can see from the few I’m posting here… she’s really good.

Ask your millennial who the people in the portraits are… they will recognize them right away!

Email me, jshanselman@gmail.com, and use “Portrait Revolution” in the subject line of your email, and she will draw your favorite person’s portrait (or even your portrait) for $20.  She normally charges $35, but you can be one of the first people to help her get launched in her career as an artist.

Remember, email me right now and get your $20 portrait!

Many books I read and review come directly from publishers. Please note, however, that I am not paid to review any of these books, and that everything I say about a book is my own opinion.

We Stood Upon Stars: Book Review

We Stood Upon Stars


Some things in life sneak up on you.  Not all of those moments are good.  However, if you aren’t open to learning something new, you will miss a lot of beautiful and rewarding moments.

When I opened Roger Thompson’s book, We Stood Upon Stars: Finding God in Lost Places, I was lost in wonder (and yes, that sounds a little sappy coming from me, but this book hit me at the right moment in life).

If the book had been sold to me as a “guide for men,” or as a “spiritual quest” for Christians, I would have steered clear.  A lot of those kinds of books are the same, and I’ve read too many to count.  Ironically, this book is exactly a spiritual quest for men… and I loved all of it.

I think I enjoyed the book because the author shares some of my passions.  Thompson loves travel (especially in National Parks), motorcycles and a few other things I enjoy – it almost felt like hearing from an old friend.  Like me, he isn’t a “handyman” and he articulates the same insecurity I have around not being mechanical.  The author is able to take his insecurities and make sense out of them a way that speaks to me… and I was really inspired by the end of the book.

If you’re serious about getting more out of life… you should go get a copy of this book today – and then get in touch with me to compare notes!

Many books I read and review come directly from publishers. Please note, however, that I am not paid to review any of these books, and that everything I say about a book is my own opinion.

People of the Second Chance: Book Review


Everyone has a story… and it matters… a lot.

Mike Foster’s new book: People of the Second Chance was a great reminder about the power of story.  Without spoiling the content, Mike reveals a troubling story from his past… and I was captivated by his response to it.  Like most of us, Foster explains how we believe the lies we tell ourselves about our most shameful stories.  We either minimize the damage, or we allow ourselves to define ourselves by our shame.

Half way through the book, I found myself thinking differently about my past mistakes and the shameful secrets I allow to shape my current story.  What do I need?  The same thing most of us crave: a second chance.

I’ll admit, some of what Mike does is kind of quirky and even corny.  At the same time, it’s genuine.  The core content of the book is solid.  Sometimes we just need a reminder that we’re valuable, loved and everything about our past mistakes is redeemable.

Need something that will make you think and provide a deep sense of encouragement – get a copy of this book.

Many books I read and review come directly from publishers. Please note, however, that I am not paid to review any of these books, and that everything I say about a book is my own opinion.

Brady vs Manning Book Review


As a Denver native, I bleed orange and blue.  Seventeen years ago, when my oldest child came into the world, at a hospital in the middle of Denver, I introduced her to John Elway (the greatest quarterback of all-time).  Of course the introduction was only virtual.  We watched the story of the  Broncos’ first world championship.  As I held my first born in my arms, I whispered to her (as she slept peacefully) that the Broncos were finally champions and she was a very lucky girl to be born into Broncos’ nation.

I hoped, even though Elway retired, that my children could witness a live Super Bowl victory… but my hopes seemed to be in vain.

Denver spiraled downward in the post-Elwat era.  2004 and 2005 were one of the most humiliating years for Broncos fans in the playoffs.  Peyton Manning was shredding most teams with his arm – including the Broncos.  As I watched him hang 41 points on the Broncos one year (2004) and 49 the next (2005)… I loathed the site of number 18 and the horse shoe on his helmet.

And then… Manning miraculously became one of the good guys by suiting up for the Orange and Blue and leading us to a Super Bowl 50 victory.  My kids did not wait a life time to witness a Bronco championship.  And, they saw the work of the second greatest quarterback work his magic in a Blue and Orange helmet.

As a Bronco, Manning drug Broncos’ nation into one of the greatest rivalries of the NFL: Brady vs. Manning.  Tom Brady was not the focus of the average Broncos fans’ hatred.  We saved our deepest feelings of hate for the Raiders.  But now… we had a new team and opposing quarterback to hold in contempt.

Gary Myers portrays the scope of the Brady/Manning rivalry in small vignettes.  The book is a fascinating peek into the world of what makes Manning and Brady tick.  Although I am a converted Manning fan, I was more impressed with the back story of Brady’s journey to the NFL.  You’ll have to read the details in the book, but if anyone would NOT have made it to the NFL (especially to the heights he has risen) it would be Brady.  Manning faced the pressure of expectations set unreasonably high, and Brady faced the weight of people who doubted him.

Maybe my interest in this book is tied closely to my love for the Broncos.  After all, Myers chronicles their journey to Super Bowl 50.  It was exciting to relive that moment as a Bronco junkie.  However, I think most sports’ fans will like this one because it clearly demonstrates two very different approaches of two all-time greats.  I came away with an appreciation of their authenticity.  In other words, they were the best version of themselves, and that is what makes anyone become their best.

If you like football, and have even a remote connection to the teams Manning and Brady suit up for on Sundays, get a copy of this book.

Many books I read and review come directly from publishers. Please note, however, that I am not paid to review any of these books, and that everything I say about a book is my own opinion.

Story Genius: Book Review


Anyone else tired of the barrage of emails with infomercials about writing a “best selling” book?  Me too.  Naturally, it all sounds so simple and easy.  Flip open your laptop and start pounding out the story buried deep in your brain (and heart… sniffle…).  If you think you have a great novel inside of you, please ignore the guys selling the “get rich writing a book” scheme.  The only ones getting rich are the guys selling the scheme.

On the other hand, if you really want to write and produce a good story, consider checking out Lisa Cron’s new book entitled Story Genius.  Cron is a little crass, but she makes solid points with her “colorful” language.

Her book opens with a discussion about the science of story.  As a big fan of story, I found what she had to say refreshing and interesting.  A lot of what is on the market surrounding the concept of story isn’t very insightful because too many people are crowding into that space.  Cron goes past cliche and really delves into something useful for writers.

Story Genius works for me because it combines good theory with practical application.  The last two thirds of the book include the steps needed to take advantage of story telling science.  Who knows, it may even help me finish writing that fable I have bouncing around in my mind!

If you want to write a solid fictional work, Cron’s book will help you get headed in the right direction.

Many books I read and review come directly from publishers. Please note, however, that I am not paid to review any of these books, and that everything I say about a book is my own opinion.