Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Daily Six - John Chappelear

Subtitled: Six Simple Steps to Find the Perfect Balance of Prosperity and Purpose. This is small but powerful book - 130 pages. I picked it up on impulse at the Olsson's bookstore at Reagan National Airport back in August when I was flying down to stay with my mother. As it turned out, my mother was moved to Hospice the day after I arrived and this book was one of two that I read while sitting in her room for a week as she slowly slipped away. My mother was a great one for saying that everything happens for a reason: good or bad, whether you can figure it now or perhaps only later, there's a reason.

Written by an entrepreneur who made and lost both a fortune and his family, the text rings genuine and authentic. This is his journey to rebuilding his life and doing a better job the second time around. This book is in fact as transforming as it claims to be. Or I suppose it can be transforming if one is open to the message about re-focusing life pursuits in a way that is both spiritually as well as financially rewarding. The two things that struck me the most from this book were the concepts that happiness can be found through gratitude, and that our life goal should be the pursuit of being someone and not something. My mother understood both of those principles without ever reading this book and it's how she lived her life.

The second book I read while sitting there at Hospice was The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. I had actually gotten the book for my mother based on's recommendation, which kept popping up when I selected books for her that I had already read and loved. My mother liked the book so much that my sister-in-law Carol read it, then insisted that my brother Tom read it, after which Tom said my sister and I ought to read it, so Wendy got it first and I got it last.

While not a business book per se, The Glass Castle is a story so well told that I can't imagine who could walk away from it untouched in some way. I don't believe I could do adequate justice to try and describe this memoir, but the lesson I think it had for me and my family is that it's possible to overcome the most adverse of circumstances and make the choice to embrace what is good about your family and your life, and let the rest go. As a family, we have done that to a great degree. But not to the degree in which Jeannette Walls has. What happens to us in life, and how we feel about it and how it affects us, is really about choice. My mother understood that happiness is not something you earn, or deserve, nor is it a gift that's given or something someone else makes you feel. It's a choice. And she chose it over all of the other options even when things were terrible. Jeannette has chosen it as well and this book is a wonderful telling of an amazing life's journey.

I highly recommend that the two books be read in tandem as I think it makes the message of each more powerful.

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