Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Life Lessons Of A Harvard Reject
I recently got a notice of a high school reunion. Has it really been 40 years since I graduated? If you do the math that makes me about 40, RIGHT? One of the people working on the "project" mentioned he had written a book. I remembered Peter Bennett from high school. He was one of those kids that has a whole list of activities in the yearbook. I know, because I just checked. I also just checked my junior high school yearbook and he went to the same one I did. So I knew him from school, but I doubt I said too many words to him over those years.
I spent my ninth grade year overseas, mostly living in the Kingdom of Tonga. I graduated a semester early and spent most of the time I was in high school my senior year going to college at Pasadena City College. I was in a big fat hurry to get out in the REAL world. So I don't know if anyone going to the reunion will know me or care, but Peter and I were in quite a few classes together over the years. I don't remember which ones, but I think we were in all the honors classes there were at the time. Well, to be honest, not so much the MATH classes for me. Didn't like it, didn't care. Took enough for the nursing program I was heading for and then quit after Algebra II. Then I switched to journalism....But I digress.
I was pretty impressed that Peter Bennett had written a book that was published. Wow! How cool is that? Someone I used to know in high school is a published author! Yes, I know Ralph Leighton wrote "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman" among others, but I went to school with his brother, not Ralph. So now I know a published author...sort of... and I had to READ it. Over conversations on Facebook he let me know I could buy an e-book version for my Nook. So I did. Now I wish I had bought a hard copy, so I could lend it. There is a way to lend my Nook books, but I have never tried it and don't know how.
This is the kind of book I would give to graduating seniors. It is chock full of inspiring and truly interesting quotes from famous people that are just right for the point he is trying to make. Life Lessons From A Harvard Reject sounds, at first glance, like I should feel sorry for Mr. Bennett. The fact that he went on to Stanford notwithstanding, I think not getting accepted into Harvard was the first time he didn't get what he was working towards. For super driven and super successful young man, this was a blow. I don't know if he started collecting quotes then and later compiled them in this book, but it was put together in such a way that I kept stopping and saying to myself, That is so true. Or, What a good point!
I started writing down quotes that I loved and thought pithy and important. I filled several pages in a notebook and then realized I didn't HAVE to write them down. They were already in this book! All compiled in such a way as to help the reader find a path to success, even when climbing over the obstacles of failure. In fact, the point of the book is that failure IS the path to success. No successful person ever sailed all the way to the pinnacle of their profession without a few stumbles along the way. Stumbles that they learned from and used to become better. Don't stress about failure, USE it to improve the next time.
I liked the easy to read style of his writing. It wasn't pompous or preachy, but written as if he was speaking to you. It was organized into clear chapters with subheadings so that you could always go back and reread a section if you wanted to remind yourself of a point.
I am so glad I liked this book. I told Mr. Bennett on Facebook that I had bought it. He has kindly refrained from writing back and asking, "Did you like it? What did you think?" On the other hand, there is the strong possibility that he forgot I bought it. But I didn't think about the awkwardness of running into him at the reunion and trying to find an excuse about not reading his book, or worse, not liking it. So now I can go and enjoy myself and try to see if I recognize all those old people. I liked his book and I can honestly tell him that. Good job, Peter!
NOW, what is your NEXT book going to be about????