4 out of 4 stars
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And then I met Margaret by Rob White is an inspirational memoir that chronicles the author’s rise to success from humble beginnings. Rob grew up in a small town where most of the young men ended up working in the local factory after finishing high school, but Rob wanted more out of life and dared to be an outlier by aspiring to go to college - even though he had no means of paying his way through college and, once there, he felt completely out of place. Through chance encounters with people whose inspiring words or actions left an imprint on his life, Rob succeeded in graduating college, overcoming his self-doubt and many of life’s challenges to become a successful entrepreneur and millionaire.
I would describe the author as a “Collector of Wisdom”; a man with a unique ability to discern a good piece of advice and know how to apply it to his current situation. The more Rob observed the benefit this brought to his life, the hungrier he got for more inspirational wisdom and his search took him far and wide. His immense capacity for empathy appears to have left him with an irresistible passion for mentoring, and he is lucky to have lived long enough to see many of the people he inspired become positively affected by his words and make a turnaround in their lives. Writing this book seems to be the author’s way of further spreading the word.
Each chapter of the book recounts an awakening moment in Rob’s life that constituted a turning point in his life: from the earliest lesson he learned from his aunt Theresa, who taught him the beauty of compassion and empathy in the first chapter of the book, to the extraordinary lesson he learned from Peter, a peanut vendor, who defied death by simply refusing to die in the last chapter. Then, there’s the truly profound lesson from a Maasai woman who demonstrated man’s powerful ability to summon the forces of the universe to create his own reality, among many other interesting stories. The lessons in each story are easy to decipher because each chapter opens with a caption of the myth the author believed and closes with a statement of the truth he discovered after the experience. The author also gives numerous examples of how applying some of the wisdom he had learned positively affected his life and that of others.
Although the author has sought the guidance of many renowned spiritual gurus in his journey of personal development, it is the lessons from chance happenings and encounters with ordinary people that had the deepest impact on him. These ordinary gurus helped the author to abolish many of the false and limiting beliefs he held and embrace truths that were essential for his transformation to higher levels of living. Amongst such encounters is the story of Margaret, an elementary student whose self-absorbed innocence gave the author a major reality check. The value of self-awareness and humility appears to be so important to the author that he culled the title of the book from his encounter with young Margaret.
Rob’s stories are full of wisdom and motivational words; it is almost impossible to read the book without taking down notes. The book was of tremendous inspiration for me personally, and I think it’s because I resonate with Rob’s life story. Like the author, I know what it’s like to be caught between two worlds; to neither fully belong here nor there - not to mention the constant self-doubt and fear of failure that comes with daring to be different in aspiring for a better future. Of the many insightful stories in the book, the one that I found most inspiring was about the author’s chance encounter with Rose Kennedy in his youth. In his unworldly state, Rob was oblivious of who she was but her message to him struck home. Through a well-crafted dialogue, she taught him that the world is a level playing field, whether one is born privileged or poor the real determining factor in success is believing in oneself. Having faith in oneself puts one right in the game.
I was completely taken by the author’s unassuming simplicity and down-to-earth style. Despite being a memoir by a self-made man, the author writes with an authenticity that doesn’t make him come across as egotistical or self-serving. He is painfully honest about his flaws and gives a sincere account of his misdemeanors, human weaknesses, and moral dilemmas. His honesty and humility is refreshing and makes his stories believable and easily relatable.
The book is beautifully written and its chapters are well organized in a chronological order that makes it easy for a reader to follow the developments in Rob’s life. The stories are engaging and each one culminates in a unique piece of wisdom that could potentially be transformational for an individual. In my view, the book looks professionally edited, although some typos and missing words got through; however, this did not take away from my reading experience. I honestly couldn’t find any fault with the book and, therefore, will not hesitate to rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I believe people in search of self-improvement or those seeking to discover their true potential will benefit from the book’s valuable and impactful lessons. Those who already have an understanding of the metaphysical universal laws, such as the law of cause and effect or the law of attraction, are more likely to appreciate the book’s teachings.
And Then I Met Margaret
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