4 out of 4 stars
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Something Happened Today: A Collection of the Unexpected by Paul E. Kotz was inspired by Kotz’s desire to leave something inspiring for his daughters to read. Indeed, the title itself is a suggestion to look for a miracle every day. The collection is drawn from personal experiences. The stories, eighty in number, have been categorized into the following headlines: “Everyday Gifts,” “Everyday Life,” “Growing Up,” “Kindness,” “Society Today,” “Mentoring,” “Unexpected Surprises” and “Advice and Perspectives.”
Under the headline “Advice and Perspectives,” “What Brings You Happiness?” is an insightful look at the ingredients of happiness. Kotz promptly notes that it is the little things that seem to make him contented, like the sunshine in his face while walking around a lake, or the morning drive while listening to that special song that sparks a memory. In a more reflective manner, though, he learned a great deal from Buettner, who traveled the world in search of the keys to happiness. According to Buettner, there are six areas that we should focus on that lead to ultimate happiness: home, self, financial life, social life, workplace, and community. Other must-read stories in Kotz’s book include: “The Power of Encouragement,” “Actions Speak Louder than Words,” “Making mistakes is Okay” and “Pick Others Up.”
Kotz’s blend of philosophical insights are realistic, persuasive, unwavering, and refreshing. He’s managed to create content that brims with his personality. A personality that’s, to a greater part, been influenced by his long experience in the teaching profession. As an illustration, the story “Each Day is Precious,” focuses on the events of 9/11/2001. As he recalls, and while teaching, the news of an airplane hitting the World Trade Center was shocking to his class. At that moment, and remembering his teenage years, he would reflect on what possibly could be going on in his students’ minds, considering that keeping calm and patient is quite a chore in itself. As he would later say, “This day changed me,” hence were innumerable more throughout the world.
Kotz’s tone is animated, appreciative, humorous and inspirational. Furthermore, his series of stories, narrated in rapid succession, makes the book fast-paced and fun to read. There is hardly time to be bogged down by complex actions or lengthy descriptions. As a matter of fact, Kotz thinks the book’s brevity is one of its strengths, and I agree. Besides, as he discovered in the story “Funeral Talk in the Hot Tub,” “People are dying to talk to you!” To impart useful knowledge that they have gained over the years.
Pragmatism permeates every page of this book. This is important because Kotz’s positive experiences have on occasion been possible in view of the help he has drawn from others. He admits that countless people have put him back on the path when he got lost. Consequently, even the editing seems to be professionally done. I only came across two non-distracting errors – a missing comma and a misplaced period. Plus, one case of a wrongly used word in a sentence.
I recommend the book to anyone who needs encouragement in life, as is often the case with the best of us from time to time. The book can also make an excellent gift to a friend or a relative. Conversely, maybe only a proud person will find it unsuitable to them. I rate the book 4 out of 4 stars as it didn’t come short in any of the assessed parameters.
Something Happened Today
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