4 out of 4 stars
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And Then I Met Margaret, by Rob White, is a delightful read. White tells the stories of the perhaps surprising, atypical gurus in his life who have taught him invaluable lessons from his childhood until now. In his own words, these gurus have taught him that "luck isn't something that happens to me; luck is something that happens through me."
When I first picked up this book, I thought that what awaited me was a compilation of stories ready to help me be successful in my career life. While the lessons in this book are indeed applicable to one's career, I quickly learned that this book is not the typical "here's how to succeed and make millions" book; rather, this book is an invaluable guide for anyone who wants to lead a happy, successful life, whether that life involves a career or not.
Rob White tells the reader the story of his life through short stories, paying homage to those who have taught him life lessons that not only have helped him become successful first in a teaching career and then in real estate, but that he also has paid forward to help others. I love how each story starts with a myth White believed ("Just get it done, that's good enough"), the real lesson he learned from someone ("Pay attention and do your best -- that's what's good enough"), and how, sometimes years later, he taught that lesson to someone else. Who knows how many people have learned from the Aunt Theresas, Mr. Lampkins, and Margarets of the world. It is incredibly satisfying to think about.
Based on the title, I expected Margaret to be the last and most surprising character that we meet in White's book. While she is the youngest and has much to teach us "grown ups" who think we're all-knowing, she doesn't appear last. She does, however, appear at a pivotal point in White's story, getting the credit she deserves at just the right time.
The book is a fast read, but not in a bad way. Each story is so engrossing and entertaining that before you know it, you've read the book straight through without putting it down. Time has flown by. You've learned the true value and application of patience, grace, mercy, putting yourself in others' shoes, and when the wrong thing at the right time is the right thing. What's more, you feel like you are an old friend of Rob White. His book reads like a conversation friends may have while sharing a drink on the front porch.
The book was well written and clearly professionally edited. I didn't notice any grammar or spelling errors whatsoever. The language was clean and easy to follow, but not overly simplified. White's smart and skillful word choices enabled his characters to live through his words, and make the reader feel as if he or she is standing right next to White as he realizes his candy thievery has been witnessed or as he fears the wrath of Mr. Lampkin after a college mate accidentally trims the Dean's prized rose bushes.
And Then I Met Margaret was a truly enjoyable read, fully deserving of the four out of four stars that I give it. I really loved the short story format; I could read one story while in the waiting room or while taking a quick 10 minute break from work. While anyone will enjoy this book, I think those who are at a crossroads in life or need a bit of encouragement will be especially inspired.
And Then I Met Margaret
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