Author: M. J. Dougherty

Publisher: the Hodge Podge House Publishers

ISBN: 978-0-9972864-3-4

                                       Emerging from Financial Collapse

The title of this book is misleading. This book has not been written by a “total failure”. It has been written by one, who, even after being maimed financially by life circumstances, carried on with life, and emerged out of the tsunami with his self worth not only intact but also significantly enhanced.

The author, M.J.Dougherty (called MJ for short) grew up in the small town called Clark’s Summit, a suburb of Scranton, Pennsylvania. After  a few years of adventures and travel in Europe, especially in Ireland, he met his other half in a budding architect called Pete. MJ and Pete returned to Scranton where Pete got a job in an architectural firm and MJ started a wine bar.

The bar went well enough to pay the bills for the couple. Gradually, both of them felt the need to publicly acknowledge their relationship with a wedding ceremony. They figured that the  profits from the bar would be enough to cover the wedding expenses. Unfortunately, the transparency of their sexual preference dissuaded many of their customers from frequenting the bar, despite well calculated attempts to attract more people, and their efforts were not fruitful. In the end, the only option they were left with was for MJ to move to Los Angeles, near some of their closest friends Ian and Karen James. Karen found a job for MJ as an extra for Hollywood movies.

Financially they were not very lucky. Pete joined MJ in LA where they could both support themselves. The sale of the bar was a disaster and involved a lot of unnecessary unpleasantness and MJ had to file for bankruptcy. However, MJ’s acting career blossomed, so much so that he rejected a job as a bank teller for the former, even though the latter would have meant a higher and more permanent salary.

To cope with the challenges of his new profession, as well as to adjust to his altered social circuit as a result of his financial meltdown, MJ started going to a physiotherapist. The later  portion of the book describes the process started by  the discoveries unravelled by the counselling. This part of the book is clearly a byproduct of the self talk initiated  by the therapist that made him see his experiences in a new light. At the end of this book, MJ has spelt out “The Top Ten Lessons from a Total Failure”.

MJ has given a very honest account of how he emerged from financial dissolution in this book. In the writing of this book, he has neither glorified his experiences, nor has he overtly disparaged them. That which stands out in this book about MJ’s career, is that, he himself, despite having great adversity, does not feel he is a failure, even as he knows that the external would almost certainly regard his social position as a measure of his self worth.

This book makes one thing very clear. It is that the writer of this book cannot be a “total failure”. The reading of this book will impart hope to many who find themselves bereft of a job and wish to emerge from being a victim of circumstances over which they have no say, to being  a conscious navigator through them.

This book has been written by one who understands adversity and  how to deal with it.

Warmly recommended, especially to those who find themselves  at a turning point in their lives.