3 out of 4 stars
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With his book, Heart to Beat, Dr. Brian Lima plugged into the self-help genre in a very astounding manner. He is a successful cardiac surgeon with a long list of achievements in his line of work. Although he is used to writing scientific articles, (“having published nearly 80 articles in peer reviewed journals and numerous book chapters”) Heart to Beat is his first written work outside the field of medicine.
The book consists of 215 pages. It is divided into three sections, which are further subdivided into several chapters. Throughout the book, he gives a detailed account of the things that he went through, the lessons that he learned, and his message to the reader in a vivid manner.
I loved that he made me understand that he was not another motivational speaker who has it all figured out about what I need to do to succeed in life. He put it clearly: “I don’t pretend to have all the answers, nor do I profess to be an expert in the genre of self-help. When it comes to success and overcoming adversity, I can only share what did and didn’t work for me.” He made the book more of a memoir (full of lessons) than a self-help book, which I really appreciated.
Being a cardiac surgeon, he coined his success factor around the ‘Heart Way’, which is his version of ‘more than the hard way’. It is one thing to have a certain way of approaching things, and it is a totally different thing to present that way to other people in a manner that they can understand and apply it in their pursuit of success. I am glad that Dr. Lima managed to put his ‘Heart Way’ in a very simple yet very realistic manner in this book.
I loved the way the author presented his life experiences in the book. For instance, being a renowned cardiac surgeon does not mean that everything in his life is all smooth and great. Just like any other person, he has experienced some hard knocks from life. He lost both of his parents to diseases that could have been treated. His inability to help them at their hour of need crushed his soul and spirit. Also, due to his single-minded pursuit of becoming a top cardiac surgeon, he admitted that the failure of his first marriage was his fault since, to him, it was just a commitment on paper. He never put in the hard work that every marriage requires to flourish. He learned the lesson the hard way.
Reading this book was quite hard. I had to put up with Dr. Lima’s sports analogy, which he made sure to use very frequently to drive his points home. I wish he had thrown in other creative ways of explaining his points in this very impactful book. After reading about three-quarters of the book, I got this: "My critically acclaimed writing aside (kidding obviously), our journey together has been pretty boring if we’re being brutally honest with one another.” It was a case of accepting the message and overlooking the flaws of the messenger (which were not many anyway).
The book seemed professionally edited. However, it had some errors (slightly above ten) that prompted me to deduct a star. The editor might have easily skipped them due to the “pretty boring” aspect mentioned above. That said, I gave Dr. Lima’s Heart to Beat 3 out of 4 stars. I highly recommend it to all young people: those in high school and college irrespective of their race, religion, and social status. It will teach them the art of resilience and staying true to one’s goals. It also contains in-depth information about the recent developments in heart surgery. Healthcare professionals will love it. If you are looking for an action-packed book, this is not the book for you.
Heart to Beat
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