Book Review: The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews

The New York Times has called Andy Andrews a modern-day Will Rogers and I think that’s an apt comparison. Andy has an incredible amount of wisdom and he has a gift for sharing it in a simple, easy to understand, often humorous way that cuts straight to the heart. He has quickly become one of my favorite authors.

Andy’s first major best seller was The Traveler’s Gift. Interestingly, this book was rejected by 51 separate publishers before Andy finally found one to take it. The book spent more than four and a half months on the NY Times best seller list and has been translated into more than 20 languages.

The Traveler’s Gift tells the story of David Ponder. David was a successful, hard-working executive who lost his job when his company was bought out. He hits rock bottom when the doctor says his daughter needs her tonsils removed and he is jobless and out of money with no way to provide for her surgery. He is driving wondering what to do when his car slides off an icy bridge and he is knocked unconscious.

While he is out he is transported to 7 different periods of history where he meets famous historical figures as they are preparing to make decisions that would define their legacy. These leaders share with David seven decisions that will determine personal success.

His first stop is with President Harry Truman as he is preparing to make the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Harry shares with David the first decision, The buck stops here. This decision is about accepting responsibility for my past. By accepting responsibility for my actions, I also take responsibility for my future success. We do not always make the right decision but God does give us the ability to make a decision and then make it right.

From there David is transported to the throne room of King Solomon from whom he learns “I will seek wisdom.” From Joshua Chamberlain he learns “I am a person of action.” From Christopher Columbus, “I have a decided heart.” From Anne Frank, “Today I will choose to be happy.” From Abraham Lincoln, “I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit.” And finally from the angel Gabriel he is given “I will persist without exception.”

This is a exceptional book, one I think everyone should read, particularly young people. There are two books that my wife and I have found so foundational that we buy them in bulk and give away as gifts. The first is The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. We decided several years ago that anytime we give a gift at a wedding that part of that gift would be a copy of this book. Money fights are the #1 cause of divorce in America and we believe that if people follow the advice in Dave’s book it will go a long way toward making sure they have a successful marriage. The second book is The Traveler’s Gift. We determined that we will give this gift as a part of any gift we give to graduates. We believe if they embrace the principles that Andy sets forth, they will find success in life.

I started this blog out of the hope of helping as many people as I possibly can get themselves out of debt and back onto a solid ground financially so that they can not only change their family’s future but also be a blessing to all they come in contact with. While this may not be a strictly financial book, the decisions that Andy presents can be applied to all areas of your life including your finances.

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