4 out of 5 stars
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And Then I Met Margaret, by Rob White
4 out of 5 Stars
I give Rob White’s “And Then I Met Margaret” four stars. The book is interesting in its insights, but not really anything new. He encourages readers to gain insight into their own lives by paying attention to the small encounters we all have daily.
Rob White was a poor kid, born in a mill town, who typically thought financial success wasn’t in his future. He made it through college, against expectations, to become a teacher. He began investing in real estate and made a lot of money. But, money, unsurprisingly, did not bring him happiness. He always felt that something was not as the way it should be.
During middle age, he began seeking out others, gurus if you will, who he thought possessed the key to happiness. Famous gurus like Deepak Chopra, Werner Erhard, Alan Watts, Stephan Covey, Marianne Williamson, W. Edwards Deming. Etc. He attended retreats to clear his mind and focus. He walked through fire to prove he could focus. His desire was to eliminate any self-limiting myths that he had held dear.
He ultimately found that happiness, success and inner satisfaction begins with the individual, an awareness of one’s self. But sometimes, he tells the reader, an ordinary event, an ordinary person, can give us great insight into our own lives.
His first example is his own old maid Aunt Theresa, who, through card games when he was a child, and by letting him win, taught him how to sometimes shoulder the blame for others, how to be compassionate rather than blaming.
Rob tells how, after reading hundreds of motivational books, he could break through a half-inch pine board with his bare hand, just by focusing, believing in himself, thinking he could do it. And, he gave motivational speeches to convince others that they could take control of their lives and minds in the same way he had done.
In front of fifteen thousand people in Las Vegas, he planned to become a “big star.” He called an unlikely, un-athletic woman from the audience to demonstrate that anybody could break the pine board with the right teacher, the right concentration and motivation. He, Rob, with the video cameras rolling and his image projected onto the big screen, was planning on becoming a star when he pulled off this stunt. Unfortunately for him, something happened to spoil the whole demonstration, potentially bring him humiliation, which brought him rather than the woman he was supposed to have taught something, a lesson.
One of Rob’s chapters is about his encounter with Margaret, a seven-year-old, second-grade girl who, he assumed, would be deeply impressed with his entrepreneurial skills as a new restaurant owner and equally impressed with his restaurant and shiny, stainless steel Wolf range and his expensive Sub-zero refrigerator. As it turned out, though, the kids were more impressed with the warm-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies and milk offered them on their tour. When he asked for questions, he got one from little Margaret that forced him to re-evaluate his values.
Rob White wants the reader to “come to a new understanding about how to win at life.” He is certainly a good example as he grew from a poor kid, to a teacher, to a successful entrepreneur. He encourages self-evaluation to gain a deeper understanding of self.
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