3 out of 4 stars
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‘And Then I Met Margaret’
Rob White’s book, ‘And Then I Met Margaret’ is inspirational to the world of coaching and mentor-ship. He uses practical, day to day human interactions to bring forth new learning. He simply exudes the pleasure of being keen enough to understand what happens every day and pick out numerous lessons which then help him become a better person. As Rob aptly puts in the introduction, there are ‘gurus in our midst’; people who enable us to see the world with new eyes, understand and respect the way of life other than their own. He chooses to rise above the limits that seem to drown him in his hometown, waking up to the realization he can go beyond the horizon to pick out what can work best for him in sheer determination.
He did not live a super life that is flawless but made decisions to learn and use the learnings in his next ventures, an example is in the eleventh chapter, ‘The $50K Lie’, when Rob was duped clean by a person, Tim, for ignoring the inner voice and its warnings. He was carried away by the deal that would have tripled his investment in the year.
Self-satisfaction is realized when Rob grabs and eats one of Philippa’s Hostess mini-cupcakes is very apologetic when he finds his own cupcakes, but only after Philippa is gone. He discovers the importance of being content with who he is while is at the center of a conference showing off one of his new learnings and his wig instead chooses the floor as a better host compared to his head.
All this while, Rob focused attention to his experiences, feelings and learnings and used these to teach others to be better people at planning and executing. And then he met the ‘guru in the red dress’, at the Devon on the Commons. Margaret remained unperturbed by Mr. White’s enthusiasm about the restaurant and drew his attention to her red dress, signaling that other people’s opinions and mindsets mattered, too; that there was more to life than the self and our own view points, that we can appreciate those around us even as we cheer them on.
This book offers everyday lessons in coaching and mentor-ship irrespective of one’s sphere of influence. It inspires to look beyond the horizon, to push ourselves to the limit, to try to new things, to dare to go against the grain to rise above the very obstacles that beset us. These obstacles could range from our culture and belief systems and norms that tend to define how far we can reach with ourselves. It challenges us not have to be stagnated, make a better life for ourselves and others, to be open to new ideas that come to mind. Each of its chapters propelled me to look at what I have in hand and what I can do to make my life better. It has been a reminder of the story of Moses in the Bible, ‘what do you have in your hand?’ It has challenged my mindset to see what opportunities present themselves in every day interactions with people and situations that are more often beyond our control.
A lesson in itself on challenging viewpoints, the ‘guru in the red dress’ tipped the train of thought and seemed to unbalance the whole book that mainly focused on what we learn and teach to others. It evoked a new outlook coming at the very end; it was like beginning a new book at the end, and maybe a reminder to my person of the need to look out to others and affirm them and all that matters to them. She chose to shift focus to herself other than listen to what Devon on the Commons had to offer. Margaret marked a new territory to the beautiful chapters that had been previously shared.
I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars because anyone undergoing daily struggles and needing encouragement to start over from where they are can easily relate to it. Each of the chapters in the book can be used to create a new lease of life to whatever life throws our way. This book would appeal most to youth, especially in my country Kenya, whose struggles are real in poverty and unemployment, to see that which is beyond the horizon.
And Then I Met Margaret
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