Book review: the recession-busting “Traveler’s Gift” by Andy Andrews

One of the great reasons to attend seminars is that you just don’t know whom you’ll encounter there.

Last month I had the good fortune to attend Mark Victor Hansen’s Mega Book Marketing Seminar.  As I was getting my network on in the lobby, someone asked me, “Aren’t you going to go see Andy Andrews speak?”

‘Um, who?,’  I thought to my jaded self, and clearly my interlocutor read my mind from the look on my face.  “Oh, he’s terrific – you should definitely go check him out.”

Well, awright, fine.  If Mark and this here guy think Andy’s cool enough to be on the podium, I’ll go see what he has to say – for a few minutes.  Then I’ll slink right back to the lobby and continue schmoozing.

Needless to say, I did not return to the lobby before I had heard every last word Andy Andrews had to say.  Not only were his words uplifting and inspirational, but Andy is one riotously funny dude (he’s also a stand-up comic).  AND I bought two of this books, breaking my ‘thou shalt not acquire random trinkets at seminars, especially if they come in book form’ rule.  They were the only two items I bought at the seminar (which, mind you, is a tough thing to do, since *everyone* is selling you stuff).

This book review is on The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions That Determine Personal Success, which constituted the core of his seminar talk.  The premise of the book goes something like this: David Ponder, a 46-year old formerly successful executive, is out of work and in dire financial straits – so bad that he can’t even afford to pay for the medical care his daughter so urgently needs.

In a moment of dispair, he has a car accident.  But right before impact, he’s transported to a dreamlike state in which he visits seven great individuals in moments of crisis – two US Presidents, an ancient king, a Civil War general, a European explorer, a family in hiding from the Nazis, and an archangel (what’s a good story without an archangel?).  Through these vignettes (which, incidentally, taught me some interesting factoids about U.S. history), Andy lays out the Seven Decisions.  They are:

1. The buck stops here. Adversity is preparation for greatness.

2. I will seek wisdom. I will choose my friends with care.

3. I am a person of action. I can make a decision and I can make it now.

4. I have a decided heart. My destiny is assured.

5. Today I will choose to be happy. I am the possessor of a grateful heart.

6. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. I will forgive myself.

7. I will persist without exception. I will find a way where there is no way.

I don’t want to give too much away, since part of the driving force of the book is the surprise of each subsequent historical encounter, and what the mentor has in store for the protagonist.  Each story is well-illustrated with historical detail and quite poignant.  Whoever you are, you’re bound to see some aspect of your life reflected in the mentors’ crises and decisions.

Because of the novel’s engaging nature, you don’t feel as if you’re reading a self-help book (read: dryyyyy).  I believe stories are far more effective learning tools than straight didactic media, and they stay with you far longer.  Andy also has a more didactic book called Mastering the Seven Decisions (which I’ve only skimmed), in case you learn better that way.

With the consequences of the economic downturn on the minds of so many people, this novel is particularly timely.  First of all, the crises the characters are involved in are on such a scale to make most of our challenges seem minuscule in comparison.  This alone empowers the reader.  Second, the Seven Decisions are just solid through and through.  Just one of them – “I will persist without exception” – is enough to transform your life.

The book’s a quick and pleasant read – shouldn’t take more than a Sunday afternoon to polish it off.  The feeling after reading this book is one of liberation, peace and empowerment –  that “you know, I can do this beyond a shadow of a doubt” feeling.

I recommend it to anyone who could use a little boost of the spirit and a little oomph to get you moving.  It’s also beautifully designed and makes for a nice gift.

Before seeing Andy Andrews in person, I knew nothing about him.  Having witnessed his lighthearted and soulful approach, I’m now a fan of his work.  After reading ‘The Traveler’s Gift’, I expect that you will be, too.  His book is available on Amazon and at bookstores.

Categories: Book Reviews spirit