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Posted April 28, 2001
Many people in their middle-aged years (often between 35 and 45) decide to recapture their youth. For some, this means divorcing one's spouse and marrying someone much younger. For others, this means taking up sky-diving. Yet others take up landscape painting. In each case, the behavior is a response to the sense that time is getting shorter and that one had better gather some rosebuds while one still can. It was with that presumption about Another Shot that I picked up this book. What I found in this book was different from that sentiment, being rather a kind of desire to seek the perfection that had been missed so far instead of a blind seeking for lost youth. The results as reported here are fascinating. Have you ever wondered what if you had done A instead of B? If so, Another Shot will take you in interesting ways down some of those corridors of second guessing. The book opens with Mr. Kita recounting a story about Jeff Bezos thinking through how Mr. Bezos would look back on his life if he were 80. Mr. Bezos reportedly concluded that he would be better pleased with himself if he had tried great things and failed than if he had never tried very much and succeeded at small things. Mr. Kita was 40 when he had these thoughts about Mr. Bezos's self-examination. In a period of a year, Mr. Kita explored the following 'what ifs' (1) He had not been cut from his high school basketball team. (2) He had become very rich. (3) He had asked a beautiful woman who spoke to him out on a date. (4) He had kept his first car. (5) He had kept his hair and its original color. (6) He had had a good relationship with his mother. (7) He had had a strong religious connection to God. (8) He was still at his sexual peak. (9) He had been able to say good-bye to his father, when he died. (10) He had become a surfer. (11) He had not had to work so hard. (12) He had become a target shooter. (13) He had developed his body into a thing of beauty with exercise. (14) He had overcome his fears of heights and lightning. (15) He had won the big prize in the games at a carnival's midway. (16) He had proven he was a 'real man' in traditional ways. (17) He had taken better care of his health. (18) He had better cared for his first dog. (19) He had found a hero. (20) He had experienced his wedding more intensely. The book is organized around these twenty thoughts, with an afterword that explains the cumulative effect of these searches. Each section reminded me of a George Plimpton book involving a different sport. Mr. Kita shares Mr. Plimpton's talent for finding unlikely ways to experience what seems unattainable. The efforts were often very expensive and time-consuming. In most cases, he was able to get help with the finances, but he had to quit one job to try being totally without work. Mrs. Kita deserves a gold medal for going through this. Before the year was over, Mr. Kita was hiring private detectives to track down cars, trying out for his old basketball team with teenagers, working out with Jack LaLanne, visiting a psychic, hiring a butler, writing to the woman he had met so many years before (she did not reply), going to a 'sexuality playshop' with his wife, taking a grueling survival training course, taking surfing lessons with his son, spending $86 at the carnival, visiting a different church every Sunday with his family, having his whole body imaged and evaluated, going to the gym, going to Hair Club for Men, and retaking his marriage vows at the end of 1999. The results were interesting, but Mr. Kita's observations about the results were even more so. For example, he said that the survival training was so rigorous that he could not really recommend it to anyone, but that it was so life-changing that he felt everyone should do it. I know other people who have said the same thing. In other cases, he realized that you really couldn't go back. But you could go forward and doWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.