4 out of 4 stars
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The book And Then I Met Margaret, Stories of Ordinary Gurus I’ve Met is a compilation of personal memoires by Rob White. This autobiography is colored with humorous recollections of author’s past. The stories reveal his life in a chronological order, and each experience is an honest confession of mistakes made and lessons learned from family and teachers, friends and foes. Each essay is a philosophical view on humility, generosity, honesty and other virtues.
This collection opens up a window-view into a personal journey of Rob White, a teacher and businessman. To clearly underline how experiences changed his opinions, author starts each chapter with the statement that represents his starting point of attitudes, values and believes that he refers to as The Myth I believed. Stories that follow are his transformational experiences because they markedly changed the way he thinks about others or his own actions. I found this repetitive format quite effective, as in a self-improvement manual where one can use each chapter to help focus on a different aspects of attitudes, one at a time. The author’s personal transformations are actually remarkable, especially considering that none of these were in any way required for him to improve his own welfare. I can only conclude that it is White’s inner impetus to become better human being that pushes him through these undertakings. Certainly, without an attempt to break off from tradition and to dive into an unknown territory, a truthfully transformational change in anyone’s life wouldn’t be possible.
Intriguingly, I found that author’s Realities discovered, placed at the end of each chapter, are applicable to situations that many encounter daily. Much more than a wealth and fame he has achieved, I was interested in a personal growth of Rob White as a human being, because this is something applicable to everyone. For example, kindness is often overlooked and undermined by our busy whereabouts. I loved the story about White’s Aunt Theresa and her perseverance to encourage confidence in a little boy. Although it took many years for White to truly understand Aunt Theresa’s deep conviction, thanks to all her efforts he was able to grow confidence and courage for the future. Aunt Theresa knew well, to put her pride and a trill of winning second to the unwavering kindness and love for the children. I hope that every child meets a selfless guru like her.
Humility, is not commonly learned quality, or often practiced discipline in a professional life. I was touched by the story of The Massai Mother, an equally disturbing and teachable lesson. The author resists a temptation to call for help when encountering a sick child and, instead, becomes a passive observer of an ending life. White admires strength of a grieving mother as she accepts the loss of her baby as her gift back to the nature which they are a part off. The loss of a child could be one of the most devastating experiences to the parent. Although I was not certain that the author truly had the same feelings that parent would have, he certainly did experience humility as a new state of mind. Clearly, he understood how the fate of human race is tightly intertwined with, and remains inseparable from the forces of nature. We should be more often reminded of how crucial our connection to the environment is.
In this beautifully written autobiography, we follow how Rob White fights demons of insecurity, self-acceptance and integrity. I would recommend this book to my family and friends, and anyone interested in character self-improvement. In my opinion, this book can help anyone to better understand actions of those around us. I think that a unique value of this work is not only in recommending hard work or excellence, but in carrying a message of hope for success. There are a very few grammatical errors, such as repeated or miss-typed words. I welcome the honesty in self-reflection this work presents and for this reason I rate this book with 4 out of 4 stars.
And Then I Met Margaret
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