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If there’s one thing I’ve learned – Book Review

If there’s one thing I’ve learned – Book Review

If there’s one thing I’ve learned – Book Review
by James Green

We can all learn something from the people around us. And with that in mind, author James Green posed one broad question-If you could go back and change anything in your life, what would you do differently? That single question and its varied answers take readers on a journey into the lives of 87 people from all walks of life.

Each has a true story to share. The stories are well written and capture the naked truth behind people’s regrets and triumphs. By dividing the stories categorically, the reader benefits from stories about dreams, the one who got away, careers, relationships, friends & family, money, education, kindness, perspective and time.

Each story is told in first person, which really helps connect the reader and story teller. Green does an excellent job of peering into other people’s reality and offering the reader wisdom, advice and important life lessons by simply allowing the person to speak openly. While the author doesn’t pass judgment on any of the storytellers, he does manage to share a few personal stories of his own, throughout the book, all of which give the reader a chance to learn the author is a pilot and someone who was once fearful, but now takes life by the horns.

It’s rare that a book moves me the way in which this one did. I found myself deeply touched by a father openly regretful about breaking a promise to his young son. Years later, he and his son barely speak and as the story closes the father says, “You wanted to know if there was anything in my life I wish I could have done differently. Well, I wish I had gotten out of bed and gone fishing with my son.”

Then there’s the lighthearted story of Mary, a retired school teacher who loved her career. She feels fulfilled and glad she selected a vocation that suited her. “The idea is to choose something you can be passionate about. If you can do that, then your job becomes a part of you. If you can do that, you’ll never really have a job.”

Curtis, retired Commander in the U.S. Navy gives readers an eye opening reality check as he tells of a trip he spent years planning with his wife,but kept putting off. In an ironic twist of fate the trip is abruptly cancelled when his wife learns she has cancer and has only a month to live and can’t travel. Curtis honors his wife in death, by drastically changing the way he and his kids live. He says, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you’re not guaranteed a tomorrow. With that in mind, I’ve done some things I never would have done before. It felt good to do them too. You know, life is just too short.”

I highly recommend this book for anyone. I believe it will meet you where you’re at in life. For the graduate ready to conquer the world, it offers a fair amount of practical advice and for the person who’s spent years just existing, a chance to prove it’s never too late for change. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that we truly can learn from the experience of others-good and bad.