Author: G. R. Howard

Publisher: Rockwelder Press

ISBN: 978-0-9972373-4-4

                                                   Originality in Action

This is a simple book I wrote with the idea that anyone could pick it up from a coffee table in a doctor’s or dentist’s office, off a bookshelf, off the Internet, or anywhere, for that matter and within a couple of pages, be inspired.”

This is a book with a very original format. “Inspiring” is a word that aptly describes its’ contents, especially in combination with the fresh and unusual format.

This book chronicles some of those success stories that legends are made of, and which came into being after going through a turbulent and sometimes prolonged churning process, before they made an indelible mark on history.

The focus in this book is to present a short account (one page) of 107 particularly interesting achievements, emphasizing, in each case, the opposition and the odds stacked against the same. Preceding the text, on the left hand side of the book, are cleverly chosen comments made by doubters, who were proven “wrong” in the long run. The comments that have been chosen are  designed to make the maximum possible impact.

Every person who ever amounted to anything, every dedicated dreamer, every do-er, every person who was set on accomplishing something of importance, did so in the presence of those who said he could not do it. Every one of them.”

The first story that is documented in this book is that of the battle between David and Goliath. Goliath is reported to have said to David, “Come to me and I will give thy flesh to the fowls in the air and the beasts in the field”. We all know how THAT ended.  

The next in line is Thomas Alva Edison. His teacher wondered if it was worthwhile  keeping him at school. Whereupon his mother took him away to be educated at home. Edison went on to be the most well known inventor of all time

Other stories that figure prominently are Henry Ford whose father wondered why anybody would prefer a mechanical contraption to a horse, Albert Einstein, who failed in Physics, Oprah Winfrey, the Beatles in general and John Lennon in particular, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Louis Pasteur for the germ theory, Steve Jobs, Ted Turner of CNN, Beethoven’s ninth symphony, generals George Washington, Robert Lee and Ulysses Grant and actors, Charlie Chaplin, Sophia Loren, Marlon Brando, Audrey Hepburn and Dustin Hofmann to name a few. Literature is represented by William Shakespeare, Rudyard Kipling, James Joyce, William Faulkner, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Politicians mentioned include President  Lincoln for his Gettysburg address, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. A large number of heroes  in sports are mentioned, among them Roger Bannister, Cassius Clay, Bjorn Borg and Wilma Rudolph.

The achievements listed in this book are not confined to human beings alone. Television and Internet were both dismissed  as non entities, the latter by no other than Bill Gates. The  same goes for Rock ‘n Roll music, the Chevrolet Corvette, and the Xerox copier. Two racehorses also find mention, viz. Seabiscuit and Secretariat.

My personal favorite  entries in this book fall in the motion picture category.  These are “Gone with the Wind” and “The Sound of Music”. Both ideas were dismissed by “experts”, the first on the ground that no movie on the American Civil War ever made any money. The second was dismissed on the ground that it was  too “goody- goody for words”

All in all, this book is a paean to the triumph of the human spirit, which, when confronted by difficult odds, changes the rules  to reach the finishing line. For me, personally, these stories personify the optimism palpable in President Obama’’s 2008 campaign “Yes  we can”, even though, with hindsight, much of that optimism has petered out.

Given  our love for success stories, this book is sure to find a wide readership and a pride of place on many a bookshelf, to be read and re-read again and again.

Strongly recommended to one and all.