Review by Marieke Otten -- And Then I Met Margaret

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Marieke Otten
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Review by Marieke Otten -- And Then I Met Margaret

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[Following is a volunteer review of "And Then I Met Margaret" by Rob White.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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And Then I Met Margaret: Stories of Ordinary Gurus I’ve Met is a book by Rob White. This non-fiction book was published by Mind Adventure Press.

In this book, Rob White takes you along on the journey of his life. Starting out in his hometown, a small rural community, where almost everyone goes on to work in a factory. Even though this also seems to be the easiest option for Rob, he decides to go to University and goes on to become a successful teacher, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and writer. On this journey, mistakes are made, but mistakes are also fixed. Problems arise, and solutions are found. Through this whole process, Rob gets some inspirational and helpful advice from places where you would not expect to find it. Although the description of this book almost sounds like a self-help book, in my opinion, it is closer to a memoir with a focus on inspirational life lessons learned along the way.

One surprising aspect of this book was the introduction. It starts with a list of well-known self-help gurus, which disappointed me slightly: From the description of the book I expected it to be very original, and not a list of already known writers, even if they did have inspirational stories and ideas to tell. However, after this list, the writer makes it clear that this book will not be about those known inspirational characters but will instead be about people Rob White has met during his life, who offered him inspirational new insights without him knowing he needed them.

The lessons posted in this book are all focused on self-improvement, but there are more underlying motifs that can be found throughout. Most of the lessons learned are centered around trusting, and believing in yourself, staying humble and honest, and not giving up. After he replaces the myth he used to believe in, by a truth learned from the people around him, it is also a common theme for him to pass this lesson on. These factors combined cause the stories to be tied together nicely because there is some comparison to be drawn between them.

When reading the book, one of the most noticeable things is the structure: each chapter is a story that can stand on its own. The chapters start by stating the myth that is about to be debunked, and end with a repetition of the myth, and the truth that was found in the chapter. Personally, I was a bit torn by this approach. Although ending the chapter with the essential message of the story is a clear and concise way of summarizing the chapter, it is a slightly crude ending and lacks the refinement that can be found in the rest of the writing. However, this does not diminish the quality of the rest of the book and can be seen as a very subjective preference that will differ with every reader.

Overall, I would rate this book 4 out of 4. Rob White manages to tie important life lessons and inspirational messages, into a coherent, interesting, and rousing story, without at any point sounding like he is bragging, or lecturing the reader.

And Then I Met Margaret
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