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Book Review of: Unsinkable

How to Bounce Back Quickly When Life Knocks You Down

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Review of Unsinkable, by Sonia Ricotti (Hardcover, 2011)

(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)


I found this book to have good advice on how not to let life's blows defeat you, and good examples of people doing exactly that. Not all of the advice and examples resonated with me, but some did and probably those that didn't will resonate with another reader. Or even be life-changing.

One example that I especially found inspiring begins on page 107. Ms. Ricotti calls it her Oprah Story (Oprah Winfrey). I've never seen a single episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show and wouldn't know Ms. Winfrey if we happened to meet in the grocery line. But I do know of her reputation for promoting literacy (hurrah!) and specific books.

Ms. Rocotti had committed to a speaking engagement, about a year ahead of time. But other things happened in her life, and as the time for the speaking engagement approached she felt a loss of relevancy. She really didn't want to go. She had negative thoughts about this. Her mental state was what she called "staring at a closed door." She was interpreting this situation as negative, instead of looking at it as an opportunity. Not just to do the best possible job of speaking to those people she had promised to speak to, but to do something else fruitful in this locale.

The event was in Chicago, which also happens to be Oprah Winfrey's home base. Small problem: She didn't know anybody in Ms. Winfrey's organization. Her solution was to do some research online, identify people in the Winfrey organization, and write to them. She didn't have their e-mail addresses, but through trial and error figured those out.

What happened was she got a meeting with a producer, and it went exceedingly well. Her speaking engagement was to a health club, and it turned out he used to be a personal trainer. He was also a published author, and he made a phone call on her behalf during the meeting. That led to her getting her first book published.

It's not a "good luck" story, and it's not a story about being idiotically optimistic. It's a story about identifying what you want to do, and then making it happen. A consistent theme throughout this book seems to be a theme I encounter in my own experiences. You can choose to just give up, or you can choose to make things work out for you. On that latter choice, you might have only a partial plan. But if you start doing, you can see what to do next. One step leads to another.

This book contains many real examples of real people just not giving up. They didn't have great luck, in fact many had really bad luck. But they didn't let that stop them. The key, I think, is purposeful persistence.

This book consists of 7 chapters in 169 pages, Conclusion, Epilogue, and Resources. It also has an appendix that provides the biographies of the people who contributed their stories of overcoming adversity. The book is also indexed, and it contains the author's bio.




About these reviews

You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?

I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have to say about a book, why bother?

And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would suspect.

This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.

My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader about the book.

A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book review.

About your reviewer

  • Books are a passion of mine. I read dozens of them each year, plus I listen to audio books.
  • Most of my "reading diet" consists of nonfiction. I think life is too short to use your limited reading time on material that has little or no substance. That leads into my next point...
  • In 1990, I stopped watching television. I have not missed it. At all.
  • I was first published as a preteen. I wrote an essay, and my teacher submitted it to the local paper.
  • For six years, I worked as an editor for a trade publication. I left that job in 2002, and still do freelance editing and authoring for that publication (and for other publications).
  • No book has emerged from my mind onto the best-seller list. So maybe I'm presumptuous in judging the work of others. Then again, I do more describing than judging in my reviews. And I have so many articles now published that I stopped counting them at 6,000. When did I stop? Probably 20,000 articles ago! (It's been a while).
  • I have an engineering degree and an MBA, among other "quant" degrees. That helps explain my methodical approach toward reviews.
  • You probably don't know anybody who has made a perfect or near perfect score on a test of Standard Written English. I have. So, a credential for whatever it's worth.

About reading style

No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate. But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for review.

Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading, and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.

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