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Author:  Ray Hickey

ISBN-10: 0615194834

ISBN-13: 978-0615194837

I was very impressed with the candor and honesty with which Ray Hickey told the story of his life in this book.  I have seen men like him on almost every job that I have held in my life:   Good men who are honest and have a strong work ethic.  But you don’t see so many who have gone to the heights that this man has.

Ray Hickey started as an engineer trainee under trial by fire basis (he’d had no experience on neither river barges nor sea going barges before, he only had training in diesel mechanics) but by the time his career had ended Ray had gone on to own the Washington state based company Tidewater Barges, the largest river barge company West of the Mississippi, having bought out the original owners 100%.=

In my younger days I was in the United States Navy for a spell.  Many of the barging stories that Ray tells on his way up the ladder remind me of those days I had at sea.  He has spun his tales in a positive fashion, never speaking ill of anyone, at least that they did not deserve it, and giving credit to many people who were due credit.  You can also see that part of Ray’s secret to success was to surround himself with hard working people who were honest and loyal and he showed them exactly the same honesty and loyalty.  Like, Ray Hickey when he first joined the company, many of these people had varied backgrounds and didn’t necessarily have barging experience.  Many of these people stayed on working with Ray for decades, which speaks volumes about the man. 

There was one really interesting point that Ray Hickey kept trying to get across that many of our today’s success gurus would totally disagree with:  You don’t need specific goals in life to rise to the top.  Just work hard and lead a simple and honest life.  Who am I to say that he is wrong about this?  I personally believe that people who have specific goals will, and do, go much further than those who don’t.  But I recently read another book by a self made billionaire, Sam Wyly, who also interestingly made the same claim.  He had no goals to get where he got.  Both were men with relatively poor backgrounds who worked their ways into wealth.  This common trait they shared provided much food for my thought.

The style of the book was simple, straightforward writing.  You have a real feeling of honesty when you read about Ray Hickey’s life.  Anyway, I will have to say that I am impressed with Ray Hickey and I found his book to be fascinating.  He has had a blessed life and I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to review this biography.

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