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.

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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.

 

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People of the Second Chance: Book Review

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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.

Book Review: Cardinal and Gold

Some things just go together: peanut butter and jelly, Oreos and milk, salt and pepper… you get the point.

Steve Delsohn combines two of my favorite things: football and history.  Delson’s book, Cardinal and Gold: The Oral History of USC Trojan Football, is a creative approach to share a narrative.  The author interviews prominent players, coaches and staff of the USC football program (from multiple decades) and uses their words to tell the story.

The individual testimonies, although very different, create a 360 degree view of the situation.  Even if you have no interest in football, the storyline of the USC program over the decades is compelling and a page turner.  My takeaway is this: the push for glory reveals the true character of the men who tell their version of the story.  It’s a “pull the curtain back” narrative that will inspire you, make you cringe, or feel other deep emotions.

Two drawbacks of the book.  First, some of the language is sketchy and should prevent young readers from diving in to the book.  Second, two of the most famous characters from the USC program are absent from the book.  I wish the author could have secured quotes from Pete Carroll and Reggie Bush, so we have to let other speak on their behalf.

If you like football and biography, this is a good read.

The Apache Wars Book Review

Have you ever built up an experience in your mind so much that the thing you built up could never live up to your expectations?  Me too.  My hope for The Apache Wars was far too high for the material.  The subject matter piqued my interest, but the book never did deliver for me.

Usually, I enjoy history.  I especially like learning about places where I have lived.  Hutton’s book had too many details and characters for me to keep straight,  Even though some of the places are familiar to me, I could never keep his references straight.  Maybe if he had a timeline or more maps I could have followed more closely… maybe…

The storylines never had a good pace or rhythm.  In fact, the book felt more like a text book with lots of technical references that really didn’t add much to the development of any story.  The Apache Wars is too long and has more detail than the casual reader (like me) wants to sift through.

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

The Happiness of Pursuit – Book Review

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This is my story.  No one can take it from me.  And that has made everything entirely worth it. The Happiness of Pursuit

Have you ever thought, “There has to be something more than this!”  If so, you might be ready for a quest… according to author and adventurer Chris Guillebeau in his new book The Happiness of Pursuit.

Guillebeau has an amazing way of inspiring and making his subject matter seem reachable.  A lot of inspirational stuff seems to be about a person who is superhuman where I say at the end of the book, “Wow!  That was incredible.  Too bad I could never do that.”

The Happiness of Pursuit has a plan to take a global quest where the quest seeker only has to save only $2 a day for a year (no need to be superman to do that!).

I have to admit, I’m a little jealous of the work Chris Guillebeau does.  He travels the world (well, he literally visited every country in the world on his quest) as research to write a really inspiring book.  But, he doesn’t spend the entire book talking about himself.  He also reached out to other fellow quest followers and shares what does and doesn’t make a good quest.

Over the past five years I have been interested in the idea of “telling a better story” with my life.  Gillebeau doesn’t just talk about the need to do something inspiring, his book actually lays out some practical guidelines (or principles) for making a real quest happen.

If you feel like you need to do something more than what you are currently doing, or if you have  burning passion to make a real difference… you need to get this book!  You won’t regret taking a new pursuit, especially if you realize that the real reward is the happiness you experience along the way.

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.

 

Born for This Book Review

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Discovering what you want to do with your life is complex.  Some people never get it figured out.  Others know exactly what it is and seem to go after the “calling” with a passion.

Hundreds of books cover the topic of “doing what you love.”  A lot of those books aren’t very practical.  Or, after 200 pages I find myself thinking, “I already knew all of that… and it still doesn’t help me figure out my calling!”  If you want a fresh approach to discovering your vocation, I suggest you get a copy of Born for This by Chris Guillebeau.

Guillebeua’s style is easy to read and even inspiring at times.  Included with his practical text are several free online assessments and documents to help you apply his material.  If you are an entrepreneur type, this book is especially geared toward you!  Born for This also has great suggestions for ways to improve your current situation if you feel like that thing you are “supposed” to do with your life.  The suggestions and ideas about “reframing” your life and career are worth the read.

I’m planning on keeping this one handy to reference when I get “stuck” with what to do next in my career.

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.

A Review of Nonsense

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Sometimes the anticipation of a thing is more interesting than the actual thing itself.  My hopes were pretty high for Holmes’ book Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing.  Although it’s not terrible, I could never quite get into a rhythm reading a book of endless psychology tests and illustrations.  In fact, many of the sections left me scratching my head… and I finally concluded, “I’m just not smart enough to understand this part of the book.”

At other times, I really found the research fascinating.  Holmes has a few anecdotes, like the 50 day standoff in Texas (a section about the fiasco of the Branch Davidians in Waco) that shed a lot of light on living in ambiguity and uncertainty.  But, I really had a difficult time finishing the text because I’m still not sure how to apply the majority of it to my life and thinking.

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.