Friday, July 18, 2008
Caught In The Headlights - review
by Shirley Bahlmann
First of all, whoever thought up the great title gets a gold star.
This book has the great premise of examining things you think you want and putting them in such a light that you can finally see them in a different way, like the unglazed bottom of a beautiful, shiny pottery bowl. That dried clay is what it’s really made of. The subjects are as varied, and familiar, as success, happiness, and creating the perfect body, which are three of the ten values presented for in-depth discussion.
Phillips’ format is an unusual mix of instruction and light-hearted aside comments that put me in mind of a motivational speaker. At times the styles didn’t seem to mesh, but it was entertaining. He includes original cartoons, which actually touched my funny bone or gave me pause for introspection, and original poems, which did not. (No offense, Barry. Do like I did and get some lessons in meter from author Rick Walton, okay?)
This book, though small, (106 pages) is packed with information, more than my brain would hold in one reading. I recommend it be read slowly, perhaps even a chapter a week, in order to soak it all in. Also, since I was particularly drawn to certain chapters, such as Forgiveness and the serendipity analogy (well done, Barry!) I believe that this book would offer other favorite chapters if re-read at a future time. Basically, you’ll come away with what you need.
I also like the way the chapters are presented as “Pursuits,” followed by the “Lesson” and finally, “So, what do I do about it?” This is a very helpful format for readers like me who have a tendency to lose information on a previous page with a simple turn of a leaf.
To borrow a phrase from Barry, get your hands on this book, let the ideas work in your heart and mind, and “get peace quick.”
Shirley: Hey, Barry, thanks for zooming over to visit with me on this overpass. Um… don't you think your car is parked a little too close to the traffic lane? I'm pretty sure your side mirror just had a near death experience with a semi. Do you want to move it?
Barry: It'll be just fine. I keep spare mirrors in the trunk, just in case. Not to look at myself mind you, but I do have three teenage daughters… enough said.
Shirley: Your book covers a wide range of life changing topics. When did you get the idea to write this book?
Barry: A couple of years ago. The ideas just kept percolating until I just had to write it.
Shirley: You tell a lot of anecdotes from your own life. Did anyone take exception to having their name on the printed page?
Barry: Family members were a little nervous, I suppose. After all they know my personality – who could blame them. I didn't tell many people that I was actually writing the book. Forgiveness is always easier than permission! They were all okay in the end, so I've dodged that bullet, at least until the next book!
Shirley: Whoa. I think traffic is picking up. Watch your toes! It appears that you've done a lot of public speaking. Can you tell us a little about your background in communication?
Barry: Did you see that guy pointing at us from that convertible as it drove by? You'd think he had never seen two people standing on a freeway overpass before. Anyway, Communication… I've owned a training company and taught major corporations professional skills such as leadership, problem solving, and even public speaking. I've owned a computer magazine, and written for Glenn Beck's Fusion Magazine. I guess those all fit that bill.
Shirley: Hey, look, there's someone who just turned on their headlights. So where did you get your title?
Barry: Uhhhh… uhhhh… must… look… away… must… stop… staring… Whew! What was that? Oh, the title. It just came to me somehow.
Shirley: Whose idea was it to meet at the side of the highway, anyway? Oh… never mind… I just thought it was a fitting place for your book title. So, last of all, before total darkness falls, what do you hope to accomplish by putting this book out there?
Barry: First, I hope people are entertained. Next, I hope they can learn from what I've experienced and hopefully navigate through those issues a lot easier than they would have otherwise.
Shirley: Thank you so much for your time… oh, my goodness, isn't that your car merging into traffic? Who's at the wheel? Could that… no… those aren't… antlers, are they? I thought that buck was road kill.
Barry: They're here again? I thought they wouldn't follow me onto a freeway. That's why I met you here. Ever since this book got published, they just keep showing up. I thought they wanted a copy of the book, but it looks like they want my car!
Shirley: Come on, there's plenty of room to take you home in my armored tank. It merges like a dream. (Patting Barry's shoulder.) It's all right, Barry, put it in perspective, man. Cars aren't everything. And just think what it will mean to that deer's future. No longer to be caught in the headlights, now he'll be the one behind those twin eye-beams. It's a whole new life.
Caught in the Headlights
Trade Paperback: 116 pages
Publisher: Cedar Fort (June 2008)