Review: A Simple Man’s Psychology: The Book of Second Chances
Reviewer Paula Buermele is the author of The Dream Catcher Tour and has extensive experience in corporate writing, process documentation, and writing training materials.
Paula is a member of the Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association and the Metro Detroit Creative Writers group. To read more of Paula's Reviews CLICK HERE
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Author: Marvin Szukalowski
Just having the courage to write “A Simple Man’s Psychology: The Book of Second Chances” rates high in my evaluation. While the target audience seems to be primarily men, women will also find this work fascinating as it offers a rare glimpse into what a man is thinking.
Szukalowski has an entertaining storytelling style lending an ease to the reading that almost makes you forget its purpose as a leadership and growth guide. His play on words, as in the chapter titled “How Well Hung Are You?” suggests an entirely different topic from the one he expounds upon in this chapter. By the time you’ve gotten this far into the book, however, you no longer have preconceived notions of what to expect from Szukolowski. The journey from one topic to another is unpredictable; therefore you keep your eyes open so you don’t miss anything.
The scope of topics covered includes reflections on
many experiences and the values extracted from those experiences.
While these are experiences personal to the author, readers will find
them to be common themes and will likely see themselves in many of
them. His use of examples and metaphors to introduce various topics
and the free verse poetry that concludes each chapter give the reader
a solid path to follow. A blurb on the back cover, “Come take
a walk with me and we can talk along the way” sums up the reader
experience very nicely.
A good example to demonstrate the flavors in this book is served by the chapter “The Truth About Birthdays.” Szukalowski takes us back to his tenth birthday and a decision that changed every birthday after that. Who among us doesn’t remember that one birthday that seemed to be a turning point for all that followed? In his case, it was his decision about what to tell his mother regarding the choice of his birthday cake that crystallized for him the compelling importance to be honest. In a charming and inoffensive way, we share in the lesson he learned from that birthday and are encouraged to review our own decisions about what to do in similar circumstances.
Some chapters are difficult to read as they encompass
topics that we prefer to avoid. “Marlboro Matt” is such a
chapter. Szukalowski takes us through the final weeks of his father’s
life, at a level of detail that forces us to watch even though it is
difficult. Telling the story of his father within his own story
reveals to the reader one of the most important “stepping stones to
leadership and growth” and serves to further the author’s goal to
“stimulate growth through personal rebirth.”
Other chapters treat less serious subjects yet still deliver a lesson learned and a guideline to pursue. “Above and Be Blonde” is one such chapter. My favorite line in the whole book is in this chapter, but I will not spoil the fun for readers of this review. It is sufficient to warn that skipping this chapter will cost you some delightful reading and a model on how to get along with a stepdaughter.
I recommend “A Simple Man’s Psychology” to anyone, well okay, any man, who would like some solid insight on how to get where he is going in life. I also recommend it to women who are mystified by how men arrive at various conclusions and decisions and more than once have had to ask themselves: what was he thinking? All readers will find keys among these stories that fit secret boxes in their own lives.