"Success in life and business begins by focusing on death."
That is the first sentence in the book Gut Check: Confronting Love, Work and Manhood in Your Twenties. written by Tarek Saab, college graduate, business professional and former contestant on The Apprentice! When I read it I figured that there must be a lot of wisdom in someone so young to have already discovered that key fact of life.
I first heard about this book on Catholic Radio where it was recommended as a great summer read. Considering the title and the fact that I have a 21-year-old son, I thought this might make an appropriate birthday gift for him, but I wanted to read it first.
And I was glad I did. Mr. Saab takes us on a journey from a drunken, rowdy college student (unfortunately at a Catholic College) to lonely albeit prosperous business professional. Through the years from college student to independent business man Saab describes what it was like to be with the crowd, doing the "normal" activities for "kids" his age and yet feeling alone, empty, and unfulfilled, and especially frustrated and confused about his role as a man in relationship to women.
I don't want to give too much away but a few things stood out for me. Despite the lost morality of his college years, Saab does have a some brief spiritual and religious experiences that help to anchor him and at least keep him somewhat in touch with his Catholic faith. A brief encounter and wise words of wisdom for a priest on the campus was life changing.
Saab also writes a list of goals and ideals that he wants to strive for particularly in his spiritual life. The rest of the book is pretty much about losing focus and then coming back to these goals again.
I think anyone in their 20s (or 30s or 40s and perhaps 50s) could see a bit of themselves in Tarek Saab's experiences, but I think the main audience 20-something men may find it particularly inspiring and encouraging. I'll let you know what Calvin thinks of it - if I can get him to read it! (He's getting it for his birthday celebration tomorrow!)