4 out of 4 stars
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And then I met Margaret…
Rob White Mind Adventures Press
Rob White grew up in small town America, but went on to become highly successful in real estate, motivational speaking and the restaurant business. In this book, he tells of lessons he’s learned along the way, through stories about people he’s met who taught him. As he describes them, the “unexpected gurus who inspire us to raise the bar higher on our own goals and aspirations”. This could be someone in a grocery store adding a penny to a bowl to cover his childhood “theft” of a penny sweet, to a con man robbing him of $50,000, to a peanut vendor who decided he wasn’t ready to die.
Each chapter is a different, self contained story which begins with a myth he once told himself. For example, “kindness is an act of self-interest”; and ends with what the experience and person he met taught him, “kind acts demonstrate the height of love". Although broadly chronological, the chapters are short, which makes it easy to read and with the ability to dip in and out, or re-read certain chapters easily. Each one has its own sense of being a vignette or short story of it’s own, with a moral at the end.
Rob describes place and characters beautifully and the prose flows in a way that makes it readable and enjoyable to read. It's at its very best when the characters being described, the “unexpected gurus” are everyday people, met by random chance, and the childhood stories are particularly vivid and poignant, for example the Toeing the line chapter where life in small town America is vividly brought to life with small rituals - walking like your father; making the order in the coffee shop - and Rob’s small decisions to do things differently, like getting a hair cut in another town, prompt him to believe he can make bigger steps.
In some later chapters, even though it’s clearly striving not to do this, it did fall slightly into more typical motivational book territory, where success feels equated with business, entrepreneurship and money. Often motivational books fall down here for me because, however true the message may be, it has a hollow ring to it. However, even at these points, the book remained readable and the stories and characters kept it interesting and engaging. Rob is a captivating narrator, and it’s clear the overall message of the book is the opposite of that: it’s small acts of kindness that can teach, and that we should all be keeping our eyes and minds open for the unexpected gurus we encounter daily.
I’d rate this book 4 out of 4 for the quality of the writing, and recommend it to anyone looking for a motivational read, or a bit of uplifting about humanity.
The book is very professionally written and edited. I only picked up a few minor errors.
And Then I Met Margaret
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