Does Anyone Else Struggle to Identify with the Author?

Use this forum to discuss the January 2018 Book of the Month, "And Then I Met Margaret" by Rob White
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Gunnar Ohberg
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Does Anyone Else Struggle to Identify with the Author?

Post by Gunnar Ohberg » 21 Jan 2018, 15:30

I am not holding anything against Rob White personally; in fact, I am very happy for him and his successes. However, I did struggle to empathize with him as he was learning lessons that involved running with the bulls, declining helicopter rides, doing tricks in a biplane, and lending out his Porsche. I related more with him during the first half of his book (his childhood), which I would argue made its lessons feel more effective. Again, I am not disparaging his wealth, I'm only exploring the relative nature of his lessons. What do you all think?

-Gunnar

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Post by story3girl » 22 Jan 2018, 11:32

I definitely agree with you. This is a book about a very specific lifestyle and one not many people can relate to.

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Post by kandscreeley » 22 Jan 2018, 11:36

I can understand where you are coming from. However, even if I don't run with the bulls, I think that there are lessons we can still take away from his experiences. Plus, I think the main point of the book is to be aware of those around you that would teach YOU life lessons.
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Post by BookishCreature » 22 Jan 2018, 12:16

kandscreeley wrote:
22 Jan 2018, 11:36
I can understand where you are coming from. However, even if I don't run with the bulls, I think that there are lessons we can still take away from his experiences. Plus, I think the main point of the book is to be aware of those around you that would teach YOU life lessons.
My thoughts exactly. Like Gunnar, I identified more with the author in the first half of the book, but I still enjoyed the main points of the later chapters.

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Post by psychopathycathy » 22 Jan 2018, 13:42

I agree with this a lot, as I really feel a large disconnect with that sort of lifestyle, but at the same time it's very interesting to read about how someone could work their way upwards, and the life lessons are still interesting!

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Post by jwalker73 » 22 Jan 2018, 18:50

I also struggled with relating to his stories, mainly as his goals were completely different to mine, as were his priorities. While he told of some valuable lessons, they were not told in a context that I could personally identify with.

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Post by jaylperry » 22 Jan 2018, 21:01

I could relate with his journey all the way through his teaching career. I relate, too, with the desire to start something new and big. But mostly, I relate to the issues of his inner life––the struggles, fears, anger, cockiness––that show through even in the most unrelatable specific circumstances.
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Post by Al Chakauya » 23 Jan 2018, 08:11

By reading Rob's book I could easily relate to his stories from the first to the last. His stories are full of encouragement and positivity- traits which I really need right now. I can easily relate to these stories because they are everyday stories for everyday people.

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Post by AliceofX » 23 Jan 2018, 08:29

I completely agree with you. For me, it wasn't just his lifestyle but his whole attitude that was off-putting. He came off as very self-centered and not self-aware at all. Even the whole Margaret thing didn't seem to change him at all. A lot of the book seemed like he was just bragging.

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Post by prenaramesh » 24 Jan 2018, 01:05

I am completely different from the author in every possible way. I am a woman of color, who grew up in an overcrowded city, in a developing country. I still think the life lessons are relevant to me, and I liked reading the book. But I didn't identify with him at all.

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Post by Christina Rose » 24 Jan 2018, 01:15

Admittedly, I also find it very difficult to identify with the author. Even the myths highlighted could be a little off-putting, such as believing kindness is an act of self interest. However, I do think the reader can take a step back and gain a little something from the stories. If nothing else, perhaps we can all become more aware of the impact others have on our own growth and development.

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Post by pinklover » 24 Jan 2018, 06:35

story3girl wrote:
22 Jan 2018, 11:32
I definitely agree with you. This is a book about a very specific lifestyle and one not many people can relate to.
I got your point. Other readers cannot relate to some of his memoir but you will get few lessons from it. I cannot relate some of his story but my mind enjoyed imagining what the author wanted to picture out. :tiphat: Some are funny and it made me laugh..
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Post by RebeccasReading » 24 Jan 2018, 10:45

I agree, but I also think part of the theme is that we can learn the same lessons in all of our everyday lives (whatever boring or exciting things we may be doing!)

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Post by kwame1977 » 24 Jan 2018, 12:37

I don't hold anything against Rob White. I see him running with bulls as leisure . Despite his busy schedule, he had the time. He was not swallowed up in his wealth. He mingled with the common in society.

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Post by RASchneider » 25 Jan 2018, 10:19

I identified closely with his experience growing up in a mill town (mine was a mining town), being the only person to go to college (we had more than one, but I'd say 80% stayed to work the mines), and struggling with impostor syndrome at a major university. THOSE are good stories. I identify with their authenticity.

Beyond that point, it becomes clear (to me) that the reason for writing the book is to attract clients to his business (Motivational Speaking). Concluding the book with a web address inviting readers to continue their self-help journey cheapened every worthwhile message in the story. Again... IMO, YMMV, FWIW, etc.

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