Monday, July 6, 2009

The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success - Andy Andrews

This review comes from our sometimes guest reviewer, Melissa Paul, who says that she is always pressed for time. Here is a quick book review from this (temporarily single) working mom of two.

Summary: This modern morality tale by gifted writer and speaker Andy Andrews teaches seven fundamental strategies for creating a successful life.

Much like the bestselling books by Og Mandino, this unique narrative is a blend of entertaining fiction, allegory, and inspiration, with just a touch of self-help. Gifted storyteller Andy Andrews gives us a front-row seat for one man's journey of a lifetime.

David Ponder is at a crossroads. Having lost his job and the will to live, he has been supernaturally selected to travel through time, gathering wisdom for future generations. Visits to historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln, King Solomon, and Anne Frank yield the Seven Fundamentals for Success that will impact the entire world. A visit to the future reveals the result of David's journey, the fruits of his labor.

Ultimately, like David, readers will see how the perspective of our own circumstances is dramatically altered when we glimpse the "big picture" of life. (Summary from - photo from

My review: In short, this is a business book very thinly disguised as short fiction. It is hard to believe the hype that this book has received, obviously from people who don’t often read good fiction.

David Ponder is pondering the point to his existence (get it?) and crashes his car. Instead of being transported to the hospital or morgue, instead he finds himself magically beamed to meetings with noteworthy historical characters like Abraham Lincoln and King Solomon. His guides visit with him for a few moments before giving him a scroll on which they have each written a decision for success (not too sure King Solomon would write “decision for success” but whatever).

Conceptually, this plot was a good idea; however the coupling of Ponder’s time traveling and the self-help was disjointed, distracting and crippling to the story. Essentially we have a poorly written fictional work mashed together with some very solid suggestions for positive self talk, although truly none of those are exactly bolts of brilliance from the heavens (spoiler: included after the rating). Andrews might have better utilized a ghost writer to give flesh to the flat characters and breathe life into his story idea. While reading this I was constantly trying to rewrite it in my head because it could have been really great.

My rating: 2 stars

Sum it Up: Doesn’t live up to its potential.

SPOILER ALERT: Here are the seven decisions from the book and the character who imparted the wisdom:
1. The buck stops here. (Harry Truman)
2. I will seek wisdom. (King Solomon)
3. I am a person of action. (Civil War Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain)
4. I have a decided heart. (Christopher Columbus)
5. Today I will choose to be happy. (Anne Frank)
6. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. (Abraham Lincoln)
7. I will persist without exception. (The Archangel Gabriel) ~ ya, I rolled my eyes at that too!

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