MUST READS FOR MEN

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This is one of the few books in which I underlined things, made notes, and returned to re-read sections. With survival stories, we may think of success in such words as luck or survival skills but the author shows us that survival vs death follows patterns that are present in all life and death situations. This book prompts reflection on  preconceived ideas or behaviors and what it takes to survive a crisis. 

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I love this book and found it intriguing. People do mysterious things that not everyone will understand. Christopher graduates college, packs up his car, says goodbye to his family, and leaves. He changes his name, and never contacts his family again. His final adventure leads to death in the Alaskan Wilderness. Moral of the story: Don't leave for adventure with the intention to never speak to your family again. Some prodigals don't make it home. Take conscious and concrete steps to value and spend time with your family now. You never know if that chance may be taken away. 

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We have a problem in America. We can't hide from it and we can't pretend it's getting better. Stamped From the Beginning takes a head-on look at racism, clearly showing us this ugly truth; racial discrimination in our country has led to racist ideas further leading to ignorance and hate.  The Golden Rule applies to everyone, not just groups who are like one another. The messages and history within these pages cause an introspection that is necessary and long overdue. 

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I am not a mountain climber but felt as though I were on the trail with the best of them as I read this book. Krakauer grabs the reader before giving them a violent shake which awakens them not just to the adventure itself, but the author's personal trauma as he copes with the loss of twelve lives on his journey through Everest. This book is written just a few short months after the tragic 1996 climbing season while the images are still vivid, and emotions still raw. 

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Coming Soon

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How can you not love a story where a 67 year-old grandmother tells her family she is going for a walk, and the next time they hear from her, she is 800 miles into the Appalachian Trail with only a shower curtain, her tennis shoes, and a few items to get her by. The book includes great descriptions of her personal encounters during an era (1955) where times were certainly different. She is endearing, sincere, friendly, tough, and has a candor that can be appreciated by anyone. Sports Illustrated agreed and covered her story with an article in their magazine. She was met with reporters and crowds all throughout her journey. This mountain was not her only battle conquered in life. She overcomes so much more. 

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As a husband and a father, this journey hit me on an emotional level causing me to pause and gain a better understanding of a widow's heartache and the leadership she misses from her husband now gone. While she fights to overcome some of the biggest mountains she has ever climbed, her daughter faces an 8th open-heart surgery. Reading about what God did and how He did it, made me want to seek Him and consciously expect Him to show up in my own life in unique and powerful ways. 

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A book about baseball is seldom just a book about baseball. Mike Matheny, a 13 season MLB catcher and a seven-year St Louis Cardinals manager, shares how his old-school methods of coaching little league establishes a foundation of character education in boys that help develop them into the men they will become. Matheney provides 8 specific keys to better the reader's own growth and character development. He is a great storyteller and shares amazing anecdotes from his exciting career. 

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There are MLB managers and then there is Tommy Lasorda. You can't separate the love of the game from the people you love in the game. While some focus on the goal of winning, Tommy focuses on the how of winning, which leads his team to success time and time again. Lasorda's powerful examples of positive words and attitudes are proven to work on the field and in life. The impact of Tommy Lasorda has been felt among his team, his fans, as well as at the hospital wing to which he made substantial donations where he regularly visited to check up on patients and staff. 

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This is not just the well-known story of Geraldine Largay's disappearance on the Appalachian Trail, but a bird's eye view from a mountaineering guide, orthopedic PA, and a member of the search and rescue team. He shares Geraldine's personal journal entries during her last days with the utmost respect and gives a great picture of who she was as a person. He takes great care in walking us through her final moments with sensitivity while using her experience as a learning opportunity to help keep others safe.