Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Power of Adversity by Al Weatherhead with Fred Feldman

The Power of Adversity by Al Weatherhead with Fred Feldman
Publication date: April, 2008
Hampton Roads Publishing Company
162 pages (ARC)

What led you to pick up this book? I requested this advanced reader from Lori at Jane Wesman Public Relations because it sounded like the kind of book I need to read.

Summarize the plot but don't give away the ending. The Power of Adversity is a self-help book about dealing with life's challenges, subtitled "Tough Times Can Make You Stronger, Wiser, and Better". The author's goal is to share what he's learned from his own battles in both his business and personal life, including alcoholism, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, the loss of his father's company and the venture into his own manufacturing business.

What did you like most about the book? I like the author's attitude. Positive thinking books are something I read periodically, particularly when I feel like things are looking a little bleak. The author has some sensible advice about dealing with adversity, in part, by treating other people more kindly. For example, he suggests that driving nicely(letting people cut in), giving your time to charity, etc., will help make you feel better as you endure challenges.

What did you think of the characters? The book was partly a personal narrative about the challenges the author and his family have faced. I thought he had a slightly shallow view of his own experience and how it might apply to readers' difficulties. He grew up privileged but with a cold, pragmatic father. When Al Weatherhead was ready to join his father's company, his father wanted to send him to the production line(I assume to learn the business from the bottom up). Al thought his father was punishing him and left home, moving from one dead-end job to another. Having just viewed the movie The Ultimate Gift, and not having experienced swanky schools or privilege, I saw the young Al as spoiled and ungrateful for opportunity. He's now in his 80's and eventually built a thriving business of his own, but he went through a lot of heartache and still doesn't see his father's decision to place him in a lower position rather than straight into management as one that could have been beneficial to him. That bugged me. Otherwise, I thought he sounded like a pretty interesting and tenacious guy.

Share a favorite scene from the book: I'm going to stick with generalities. I particularly like what he has to say about kindness to others and seeing problem solving as one of life's joys. He talks about how we all face adversity and that it's simply a part of life and we should use adversity to make ourselves better people.

In general: The author's experiences are rather unique and his suggestions only partially apply to my current challenges, but I thought he offered some decent advice. The writing was a bit heavy on cliches and I think the author has a slightly unrealistic viewpoint to offer to the general populace. And, yet, I'm glad I read it. The book is a quick read, good for when it's difficult to concentrate because one is facing adversity and having difficulty focusing. I appreciated the brevity.

3/5 - Some good advice, couched in cliches but worth the time to read if you need a little positive injection while going through rough times.

First DNF of 2008: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I decided The French Revolution is just not what I need to read about, right now, so I've substituted The Pickwick Papers as my Dickens entry in the "My Year of Reading Dangerously" challenge. Good decision. The Pickwick Papers is pleasantly goofy.

2/3 Finished with: The Bleeding Dusk by Colleen Gleason and hoping to finish that one, today. I love Colleen's writing. So far, this third novel is every bit as gripping as the first two.

Laughed my head off reading: "Equestrian Excursion to Diamond Head" by Mark Twain, from A Hawaiian Reader, Vol. 1, last night. Here's a favorite passage:

The landlord of the American said the party had been gone nearly an hour, but that he could give me my choice of several horses that could easily overtake them. I said, never mind--I preferred a safe horse to a fast one--I would like to have an excessively gentle horse--a horse with no spirit whatever--a lame one, if he had such a thing.

Hope everyone has a terrific weekend!

Bookfool, off to read


  1. I hope you have a good weekend too, Nancy.

  2. Thank you, Wendy! :)

  3. I'm looking forward to your thoughts on The Pickwick Papers. I've never read it and often forget about it when I'm out shopping for classics, but pleasantly goofy sounds right up my alley.

  4. Andi,

    I haven't gotten very far into The Pickwick Papers because I'm immersed in The Bleeding Dusk, but so far it's really fun. There's a great little scene where a fellow starts babbling about how great a cold steak is for a black eye (because he's just broken up a fight) and then he starts to ramble about how a lamppost also works nicely but it looks a bit odd holding your eye up to a lamppost for 30 minutes. And, I thought, "Oh, yeah. This is what I want to read!"

  5. I'm reading Pickwick as well. :)

  6. Eva,

    Yippee! We can compare notes. :)

  7. Bookfool, I'm sorry you are having tough times right now. Best wishes. I haven't been the most faithful blogger of late. Have you shared with us what's happening or is it not something you want to share? Just want you to know that I'm cheering for you.

  8. That's too bad about A Tale of Two Cities. I'm not too far into it yet so haven't really formed an opinion yet either way. Good news about Bleeding Dusk though. I think I may just have to pre-order it so I can get my hot little hands on it asap.

  9. I've never read The Pickwick Papers and so look forward to your review!

  10. Cheya,

    I noticed you posted another message saying you've caught up, so no need to explain. As to being "faithful" about blogging - sometimes life interferes with blogging, doesn't it? Fortunately, people tend to show up when you post.


    I loved the writing; I just realized that the setting was certainly not going to lend itself to the words "upbeat" and "fun"--the things I'm looking for in a book, right now. The Pickwick Papers is really light-hearted and silly, so it works better for me.

    I finished The Bleeding Dusk, yesterday -- couldn't put that sucker down. If you enjoyed the first two, you'll love the third. :)


    It's going to take me forever to read The Pickwick Papers (my copy has 701 pages, I believe) but it's such a fun, fluffy book. Dickens had a great sense of humor. :)

  11. LOL re: the lamp post. That's so bizarre. Love me some Dickens.

  12. Andi,

    That's what I love about Dickens. He's so off-the-wall, sometimes.


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