Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Mountain Vision -- A Book Review

I thought I'd save reading Jeff Evan's book Mountain Vision: Lessons Beyond the Summit, till the perfect day—a day where I could have enough time to devour it all at once. Today I did that.

After getting on the U.S. Marine Corps' equivalent of an Army's CH-47 Chinook helicopter on a flight from Ramadi to al Asad, I had plenty of time waiting for the C-130 transport plane.

The irony of the Chinook became evident while reading Jeff's adventures amid the high mountains to include his ascent up Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. A Chinook is a name for a helicopter with two giant propellers, but it certainly got its name from the powerful gusts of wind that swoop downward off the tops of the mountain peaks.

As I read I found myself totally engrossed. It was captivating, full of suspense and adventure. In each wonderful chapter Jeff intertwined a lesson on leadership. The likes of Norman Vincent Peale (The Power of Positive Thinking), Zig Ziglar and Andrew Carnegie popped into mind. I've read self-help and motivational messages from them all. But Jeff Evans' words were uniquely different. They captured me. Not just because he is a friend, but he's cleaver, witty and entertaining. His messages were genuine. I have even a greater respect for this man now. I knew many of the stories, but...WOW!

Jeff didn't ask me to write this. In fact, I wasn't going to write anything for a few weeks; I needed a rest from blogging. But as I read and laughed out loud many times, and even cried while reading Chapter 27, I found myself wishing my son was old enough to read Mountain Vision. I found myself thinking, during the short breaks when I was forced to stop reading, that I would want to share this book with every one of my family members and friends.

There are millions of books in the world, but of the many hundreds or thousands of books I've read, this book is one of the very best. I don't mean to embarrass my friend or sound like a sycophant or in any way sound other than totally sincere when I say that this book should be mandatory reading for every student, every teacher, every sports team, every business group, congregation, military unit, police department, and in short, every parent and every child.

I've started off my New Year right by reading Mountain Vision: Lessons Beyond the Summit.

Reading Jeff's messages made me want to improve my life, be a better person, be kinder, work harder, etc. He eloquently explained through his larger than life triumphs and conversely his devastating troubles on the mountains how failure can actually help us improve if we let it. His generosity, humility, selfless service and his life are—and will be—an example to me and countless others for many years to come.

It's my hope that many thousands more will be able to hear him speak as well as learn about his life and example by reading—devouring—his written words.

It's not just that he did the unimaginable by leading a blind man to the top of Mount Everest, it's that he has made his life a successful journey. As I said before, there are still true heroes in the world and Jeff Evans is one of them. I'm honored to know him and call him my friend.

P.S. This makes me want to go climbing with my son and teach him Lessons Beyond the Summit.

P.S.S. You can visit Jeff's website at www.mountain-vision.com or order his book from Amazon.com.

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