Monday, August 25, 2014

What Counts Most is How You Finish by Shelia Payton

I have a great book on tour with iRead Book Tours this month, and it's reviewed here by guest blogger Laura Hogan. I met the author at BEA and liked her immediately. See why my guest blogger, who read the book, thinks the advice is worth paying attention to.

What Counts Most is How You Finish: Thoughts on Living Life to the Fullest by Shelia Payton
ISBN: 978-1165364982
Published January 26, 2012
Trade paperback, 274 pages

What Counts the Most is How You Finish has a great deal of advice, organized as short essays grouped into 7 categories, including: Being You, Taking Care of You, Dealing with People, Overcoming Challenges, Staying Focused, Achieving Success and Making a Difference.

Since the author is not a psychologist, counsellor or therapist, but rather a woman who has earned success in areas as diverse as journalism, entrepreneurship and teaching, it has a fresh and practical perspective. For example, the chapter entitled “How to Be Tough-Minded Without Being Hard-Hearted” has some specific and interesting counsel on how to distinguish between people who are ‘asking for help because they are really trying to stand on their own two feet’ and ‘those who are asking for help because they don’t want to take the initiative to stand on their own two feet’ [italics mine]. It is kindly straight talk for both the helper and (indirectly) for the ‘helpee’.

Payton encourages the development of deep-seated kindness and positive focus in an unjust world. She frankly acknowledges that there are situations wherein people will deliberately throw obstacles in your path or even well-meaning people will act on baseless assumptions, but emphasizes that we can turn even these situations to our advantage.

The repeated theme of ‘learning is never wasted’ is excellent and the author reveals how to apply this counsel as she relates various personal experiences, from seeking out extra credit work to get the grade deserved or dealing with being passed over for promotion by people she had trained.

Many of the essays would be a good ‘jumping off point’ for discussions with pre-teens through to young adults, perhaps being less intimidating than a more typical self-help book. It is not clinical or trite, but rather editorial in nature, with the observations and experience of someone who lives with integrity.

Ultimately, the gist of the book is to encourage people to develop a life plan and then to cultivate the ability and the habit to consider the consequences of their actions (both for themselves and others) before making the decisions that will help them to achieve their goals. Its positive message also includes encouragement for those who find themselves in the predicament of having to work to correct previous bad decisions. What Counts Most is How You Finish is not the self-styled guru’s answer to everything—it's meant to stimulate meaningful and lively discussion….and it does a pretty good job.

Note: This book is rated C = clean read.

About the Author:
Shelia Payton is an entrepreneur, former newspaper reporter, corporate manager and educator who spent all of her early life and much of her career in a time when people of color and women in this country were pushing for greater inclusion at all levels of society, and seeking greater opportunities to live life to the fullest.

Like others in her generation, Shelia had to face and overcome barriers to entering and succeeding in non-traditional jobs, and create a place in civic and leadership settings. Also like others in her generation, Shelia’s motivation has not just been about what she can accomplish for herself, but also how she can open up opportunities for future generations. Shelia’s current focus is on creating books, plays and music that build human connections by breaking down barriers and stereotypes.

Visit Shelia's website:

Reviewed by Laura Hogan (guest blogger)

Disclosure: Thanks to the author and iRead Book Tours for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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