Seven Days in Utopia: Golf's Sacred Journey [NOOK Book]

Overview

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
starring Robert Duvall and Lucas Black

This book is about influence and inspiration and a deeper, more profound way of looking at life. The story is based on thousands of athletes who author and performance psychologist Dr. David Cook has counseled, and the great mentors and teachers from whom he has learned.

...
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Seven Days in Utopia: Golf's Sacred Journey

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Overview

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
starring Robert Duvall and Lucas Black

This book is about influence and inspiration and a deeper, more profound way of looking at life. The story is based on thousands of athletes who author and performance psychologist Dr. David Cook has counseled, and the great mentors and teachers from whom he has learned.

Told through the lives of two characters—an eccentric rancher with a passion for teaching truth, and a young golf professional at the end of his rope looking to escape the pressures of the game—they represent each one of us in our various stages of growth. And through them we are reminded that, in life, we must be willing to coach and be coached.

Life is never the same once you’ve been to Utopia.

“Read it. Devour it. Keep it as a reference book. You’ll be glad you did. Golf’s Sacred Journey is a remarkable and encouraging story with an entirely different approach on how to succeed in your golf game.”
—Zig Ziglar, leading motivational expert and bestselling author

“This book is full of wisdom that will enhance your game and I believe it just may change your life.”
—David Robinson, NBA MVP, 1992 Olympic Gold Medalist, Two Time World Champion
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310336198
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 8/16/2011
  • Sold by: Zondervan Publishing
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 105,239
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Author, speaker, entrepreneur, and mental training coach are the roles Dr. David L. Cook has assumed over the past two decades. His clients have included NBA World Champions, National Collegiate Champions, PGA Tour Champions, Olympians, and many Fortune 500 companies. His articles have been featured in Golf Magazine, Golf Illustrated, and Golf Tips. David is Chairman of the Board of Utopia Films and served as executive producer for the Seven Days in Utopia motion picture. He is a Baylor University graduate and received a PhD in Sport and Performance Psychology from the University of Virginia. He and his wife, Karen have been married for over 29 years, have two daughters, and live in Fredericksburg, Texas.
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Read an Excerpt

Golf's Sacred Journey

Seven Days at The Links of Utopia
By David L. Cook

ZONDERVAN

Copyright © 2011 David L. Cook
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-33549-8


Chapter One

A FORK IN THE ROAD

how can a game have such an effect on a man's soul?

It was a scene all too familiar. I had entered this tournament with high hopes. This was going to be my breakthrough. Finally, after years of hard work and practice, my time had arrived. I entered the last round of this mini tour event within two shots of the lead. With an errant shot here, and a poor club selection there, and a three putt on the par five that I hit in two, I came to the back nine needing to make something happen. A 36 on the front left me three back with nine to go.

I began to press as I headed into the final nine. I knew better, but the adrenaline seduced my logic. Unbeknownst to me, I had just engaged the melt-down sequence.

On the tenth I pulled my shot slightly into the trees left. I pulled it because I feared the water hazard to the right. I found my ball in a small thicket of oaks. I figured I had to make a move on this nine so I decided to take a risk. After all, half the field birdied this hole on the previous day.

I saw an opening between the trees, so I tried to hit a low hook and get home in two on this short par five. Instead, it caught a limb and kicked deeper into the trees.

I couldn't just chip out now. I would be giving two shots to the field. My playing partner stood in the fairway with an iron in his hand seeming to be irritated that I was taking so long. I made a quick decision to thread the needle one more time. If I hit the green, I would still have a chance for birdie. My swing was fine but the grass behind the ball flipped the club head slightly shut, and my shot hammered a big oak, ricocheting into an area of deep grass left of the thicket. I was still out, so I hurried to find my ball. I knew it was there. I felt a panic brewing when I couldn't quickly find the ball. The grass was well above my ankles.

My playing partner was looking back at the group pushing us from behind. He was becoming angrier by the moment, not wanting our group to be put on the clock. I motioned to him to go ahead and hit. He did, and walked off in a huff after missing the green to the left. Like I had anything to do with it. He didn't come over to help. He couldn't have cared less; it wasn't his problem. His job was to beat me.

I looked back at the tee. There were two groups waiting now. I was holding up the entire field. I could feel my heart racing, the cotton was gathering in my mouth. My time was up. I had to return to the trees and drop another ball. Hurriedly, I dropped the ball without scouting out the best scenario for my drop. It landed on bare ground and bounded a few feet, resting in front of an exposed root. From my vantage point, the ball looked as if it had rolled more than two club lengths, allowing me to drop again. But I wasn't sure.

I heard the guys behind me yelling to hurry up. I saw my partner up the fairway gesturing to a rules official. I quickly grabbed a club, a seven iron, and proceeded to punch out. I picked a large opening, and without a plan in mind, hit the shot for the narrow neck of the fairway. I caught it a little thin, sending the ball scurrying across the fairway. Surely it would stop. It caught a burned out area and continued to roll toward the water hazard. I was crumbling inside. Surely this must be a dream.

The official drove up and asked why I was taking so long. Before I could answer, he said that I was on the clock and it was ticking. We went to find my ball. There it was inside the hazard, slightly nestled in greenish-brown slime at the edge of the lake. I had about 175 yards to the green. I knew I could advance it, and I felt like I might be able to get it to the green. The question was where to stand. It was wet and marshy where I needed to take my stance. On any other day I would take my shoes off and get after it, but the clock was ticking and the official had no sympathy. I grabbed a six iron and went in after it. My shoes were sinking in the mud, but I felt that I had to hit this shot. I wasn't going to wimp out now. As I took the club back my right foot sank up to my ankle. My balance was off, but I couldn't stop the swing. I tried to compensate, but there was no chance for a recovery. The club hit two inches behind the ball, catching the slime and mud. I felt the pain shoot through my left wrist all the way up to my shoulder as the club came to an abrupt stop in the thick goo. The ball moved forward a couple inches slowly sinking in the slimy water.

My shoe came off as I tried to step out of the mud. There were now three groups on the tee behind me. I was so embarrassed I wanted to quit. The official said to drop a ball and hit while he graciously helped retrieve my shoe. My shirt was covered with slime, my six iron was caked with mud, my right foot was shoeless, and I was still 175 yards from the green. My caddie threw me another ball. I dropped it and took a swing almost before it had stopped rotating on the ground. My barefoot slipped causing the ball to go low and left. It wound up in the left bunker, with a left-tucked pin. It didn't matter at that point; I was just trying to keep my sanity.

The official gave me my shoe, which was covered in dark brown muck and felt as heavy as a brick from all the water it had absorbed. I threw it to the caddy and continued to walk up the fairway with one bare foot. My playing partner had putted out for birdie and was waiting impatiently on the next tee, letting me know from his body language that I was ruining his day.

I hurriedly reached my ball in the bunker. I had a downhill lie with the green sloping away. The pin was tucked close in on the left, and a lake stared at me across the green. I was numb except for the sensation of tears building in my eyes, clouding my vision. I gave it my best shot, barely avoiding the lake. I took three putts to get home from there. I couldn't hold it in any longer. I slammed my putter into the ground, snapping it in two. The head buried deep into the earth. I screamed an obscenity and left the putter head in the ground. I was way too proud to try to dig it out in front of the gallery.

The rules official met me on the tee box and assessed me one shot for slow play and two for the tirade he just witnessed.

A couple of old college buddies saw me and ran up and asked how I was doing. They had come out to watch because they had seen that I was near the lead after day one. I yelled at them to leave me alone, not knowing they had just arrived and had not witnessed my previous hole. I was out of control. Any psychiatrist would have committed me at that moment. I had all the symptoms of a suicidal maniac. I had lost all sense of reality. In my mind I had entered a world as near to hell as you could describe.

I finished the round in what felt like a coma. I bogeyed every hole coming in. That was amazing, considering my state of mind. I didn't have a putter, and I only had one shoe on. I had no feeling. My head was swirling. I was dying inside. I stared at my scorecard for a long time, wondering how I could disqualify myself to avoid having to post my score. But I couldn't. My dad had taught me early in life to never quit, never ever quit. There it was for everyone to see, a 15 on the hole, 12 of my shots plus three strokes tacked on by the rules official. This on the shortest par five on the course. My final score on the back was 54, to go with my 36 on the front. A 90, the worst score in the history of this tournament. That score represented me. It was my identity. I was a failure, a choke, and soon to be the butt-end of a bunch of jokes.

I jumped in my car and left the scene of the accident. I had to leave, had to drive. I was looking for an escape. I headed west out of San Antonio on a small farm-to-market road, not having a clue where it would lead me. I just knew it would be better than here, because no one would know me there. I began to cry—a grown man! I began to yell at myself, the game, and even God for allowing such a stupid game to be invented.

Mile after mile went by. I saw nothing, noticed nothing about the beauty of the Texas Hill Country in early spring. I was angry. I was despondent. I was absorbed in self-pity. It was a pathetic state of mind.

Up ahead was a fork in the road. I had to make a choice. I was in no mood to have to make a choice. The thought of it was almost overwhelming given my state of mind. I stopped. The sign's arrow pointed right, toward the small village of Vanderpool. The other arrow pointed left, toward Utopia. I read the sign again. It did say Utopia. I was desperate for anything positive to happen. I turned left, knowing it was just the name of a town, but hoping for more. I needed help. Even if it was just a name, I projected more. I was looking for an escape. So I took the road to Utopia. At the time it felt like nothing more than a fork in the road on a drive to nowhere.

A few miles and several curves in the road led me to Utopia, a small Hill Country town situated in the middle of what is known as the Sabinal Valley. The valley was cut out over the centuries by the clear, spring-fed Sabinal River. It is encircled by the hills of the Texas Hill Country, providing a rugged, awe-inspiring setting for a community that time has left alone. The population says 373, but my guess is they had to throw in a few deer to get the number that high. The big live oaks indigenous to that part of Texas and a traditional, small-town main street defined the town. The basic mom-and-pop businesses of grocery, mercantile, and lumber set the stage. The Lost Maple Cafe was the centerpiece.

I turned into the dusty parking area for the cafe and turned off the engine. I noticed that mine was the only car; all the other vehicles were pickup trucks or jeeps. They were all caked with the dust of the caliche roads that crisscrossed the valley from ranch to ranch. I looked into the rearview mirror to check my face for signs of tears. The last thing I needed was for some ranch-hand cowboy to see that I had been crying.

When I caught my own eyes in the mirror, time stood still. I stared into those bloodshot eyes, wondering how a man with such promise could have sunk so low. I was looking into a lost soul, empty of life. I was in a sad state of mind. How could a game affect the soul of a man so deeply?

As I opened the door of the cafe, I was enveloped with smoke and the sound of country-and-western music coming from a corner jukebox. Circles of smoke rose from half-finished cigarettes in ashtrays on most of the tables. The smoke billowed through the serving window to the kitchen, where the exhaust fans were inadequate to ventilate an establishment committed to deep-fried food.

A waitress clearing a table in lightning speed motioned to me to come in and be seated. I didn't ask for the no-smoking section. I knew enough not to be laughed out of town. The place was packed, and every cowboy seemed to be looking at me. My Birkenstock sandals, khakis, and mud-stained golf shirt told everyone I was not from Utopia. Not wanting to draw additional attention to myself by standing and waiting for a table, I moved to the counter, where four old-fashioned spinning stools sat. Plastic tape held the stool's aging yellow vinyl in place. I could stare from here into the kitchen, keeping my back to the locals and the self-perceived inquisition at bay.

The waitress motioned to the blackboard for the specials of the day and asked if I wanted coffee. Before I could answer, she began to pour me a cup, saying that I looked like I could use it. She asked if I wanted a menu or wanted the special. I ordered the special, therefore avoiding further personal interaction or decision-making. The waitress turned toward the kitchen, shouting out my order, leaving me with my own thoughts.

I stared into my coffee cup, thinking back to how it had all begun. I was a twelve-year-old kid when Mr. Lux sold his land. It consisted of three hundred acres of hay and woodlands where he had raised cattle for years. Our Texas suburb sort of grew up around it, leaving an island of ranchland for my dog and me to hunt and explore. Because of numerous moves in my early years, I was somewhat of a loner still trying to find my niche. I enjoyed long afternoons in this undeveloped land with my dog. Although I had heard of unconditional love in church, my dog was the only one who expressed it.

Mr. Lux's property was bought by developers and turned into a low-budget golf course that our family quickly joined. My dad had introduced me to the game of golf several years before when I shagged balls for him at a field near the city park. He needed me to shag because the weeds were pretty thick out where I stood. I got fairly good at it using my baseball glove to catch them. I quickly learned to catch them in the web and not the palm of the glove if I wanted to use my hand the next day. While I can't say I enjoyed the scorching Texas sun, shagging balls was great practice for little league baseball. And I got to spend time with Dad, besides. When he finished practice, he always let me hit a few, patiently teaching me the fundamentals of the swing.

Dad was tough but fair. He worked extremely hard to provide the basics for our family. I knew that I was well loved. He gave my brothers and me many opportunities to participate in sports and other activities. Joining the Huaco Golf Club turned out to be a turning point in my life. I spent every waking hour at this club hitting practice balls and playing golf with an intermittent dip in the pool to cool off. I became a fixture at the club, befriending the old guys who played every day. They used to argue about who would get me on their team. I loved playing with them because they always bought me a Frosty root beer at the end of the round. I thought I was in heaven. They even paid my buddies and me to break in their new leather golf shoes. The blisters were worth every cent, because for a few days we wore the coolest shoes at the club.

As my golf game got better and better, I became the talk of the club, the kid who couldn't miss. I became somebody. I thrived on this attention and practiced harder and longer than any of the other kids. I not only wanted to be great, but the best. The people at Huaco were proud of me.

My parents saved enough to take me around to some of the area's junior tournaments. I quickly became one of the best in the region. My winning became commonplace, even expected. On the days I didn't play well, I felt people were surprised, even a little disappointed, especially around the club. I hated to disappoint anyone, so I would practice until my hands would bleed. I hated failure. It seemed that everyone thought that I was more special when I succeeded. I didn't realize it then, but I had traded unconditional love from my dog to a life of conditional acceptance based on my golf score.

The waitress slid a plate of food in front of me, along with a fork wrapped in a paper napkin. The chicken-fried steak was as tough as a boot, but the black-eyed peas, cornbread, and mashed potatoes made up for it. I was famished, and this greasy-spoon dinner was hitting the spot.

I had entered college on a golf scholarship with much anticipation. My college golf career was filled with ups and downs as I met with a new level of competition. My emotions seemed to rise and fall with my scores. If I had a good day at the course, I would be too high to sit and study. On the other hand, if I failed at the course, my mind was consumed with the mechanics of the swing. I could often be found late at night under the street lamps in the dorm parking lot practicing my swing while smacking June bugs down an imaginary fairway. Many of my phone calls home revolved around golf scores. I could sense my parents' hearts rise and fall along with my golf score. Oh, how I hated to disappoint them. They had sacrificed so much to give me the opportunity to succeed.

"Hun, do you want another cup of coffee?" My mind was a hundred miles away. I nodded. She returned with the coffee and a big piece of chocolate meringue pie that came with the special. While it looked impressive, most of it was fluff. Kind of like a girl I used to date.

My past was littered with broken relationships with girls. Golf always came between my girlfriends and me. They couldn't understand how I could be so high and low because of a game. In retrospect most of my relationships had revolved around golf. Golf was my life.

I won just enough in college to give me the confidence to turn pro. I didn't know if I could make it at the highest level, but I did know I could make it at some level. I didn't have much money, so the old men at Huaco threw in some sponsor money, as did my parents. It wasn't much but it provided a start. There were various mini-tours to choose from to get started. My ultimate goal was to play in at least one PGA Tour event someday. I wanted to tee it up with the best in the world. Maybe I would earn a spot by four-spotting. Maybe I would receive a sponsor's exemption. Lord knows I sent enough letters to tournament sponsors.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Golf's Sacred Journey by David L. Cook Copyright © 2011 by David L. Cook. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Foreword by Tom Lehman....................11
Acknowledgments....................15
Introduction....................17
1. A Fork in the Road....................19
2. The Links of Utopia....................31
3. Conviction....................39
4. Shadow-Casting....................49
5. Signing a Masterpiece....................63
6. Tradition vs. Truth....................71
7. Pilot's Checklist....................89
8. Hickory Sticks....................103
9. Buried Lies....................123
10. A New Voice....................139
11. Destiny Knocks....................145
Epilogue....................159
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 30 )
Rating Distribution

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(21)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 60 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 11, 2011

    This profound book is not really about golf; it is about life.

    I purchased this book and read it at the suggestion of a good friend, despite knowing absolutely nothing about golf. It reads surprisingly like an autobiography, yet it is a novel whose author had a very poignant agenda in writing. The story unfolds by a pro-golfer who earns the distinction of the hightest score in a professional tournament. Needing to refocus his game and skills he take a week out to do so at a small golf course in Utopia, Texas. There he meets a coach that helped him find his game again, probably better than before his embarrassing tragedy. Each day was full of completely different experience that helps him transform not only his golf game but his priorities and life. I could not put this short book down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 20, 2011

    Great Read...What is the purpose of life?

    The first interest in this book was some of the chapter themes on golfing, fishing, painting, flying. It was more than just a collection of stories of doing "guy" stuff or things that help one escape from the mundane activities of life. It is a story of soul searching...coming to the end of one's rope and knowing there has to be more to life than what I do. What will be the significance of the life I have lived? Is it a list of accomplishments, awards, recognition or will it be pouring into another person's life so they can do the same for another. If you are just looking for some golf tips then this may not be the book for you, but if you are seeking to find a purpose or vision then start the journey to Utopia.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2011

    JoJo

    This was an excellent book which I would recommend to anyone.
    Even thought it is about Golf, the life lessons are for everyone. I will recommend this book to all of my friends and family. Can't wait to see the movie.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    Awesome book

    Really good read. Very inspirational. Husband does not read and he liked this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    Life lessons!

    Amazing book! A good read for the golfer or anyone needing a better outlook on life! A MUST READ!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2011

    SFT

    Great book, i actually live in utopia...yes it is a real place. And it has a great meaning to it. Wonderful life story. Well worth the buy. Plus there is a movie on it too that is well worth seeing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2013

    Faith & Golf Go Hand-in-Hand

    Saw the movie and ordered the book - Both were instructional and inspirational.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2012

    This book was given to me by a relative,even if you know nothing

    This book was given to me by a relative,even if you know nothing about golf it is a great book about lessons in life and must read for everybody.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2012

    God is the biggest part of it

    I fell that god is the biggest part of this book and that is how luke learns to cope with his feelings that is why david cook wrote this bok in the first place and

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2012

    Slightly Recommended - Only for those that think as fast as a golf tournament.

    I read the whole thing. It was a rather slow read for me. The plot moves slowly and is quite predictable. It is a bit like a self-help book, but I can think of a number of self-help books that are more helpful than this one. Unless you like the game of golf, I do not recommend this book

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2011

    Good read for golfers

    Awesome and inspirational book.

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  • Posted November 2, 2011

    Nice story & easy read

    As a weekend golfing hack I enjoyed this book for the golfing/life/spiritual lessons it covers within a good story and interesting characters.

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  • Posted October 28, 2011

    great book

    It was a great book for golfers or just any person needing a direction in life. The skills taught are what we need in today's world. If you take all of those and put them to work you can be successful but in the end it is the true question you must answer. Are you really happy iwthout him in your life

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 18, 2011

    Recommend

    Good Book but too short. Didn't get in to the ending as much as anticipated.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2011

    Evderyone should read this book.

    Great book with many situations most of us can relate to. Fast read that leaves you thinking about your life and what is important.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    Great reading - especially for golfers.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Not what I was expecting

    I found the style of the story was very hurried, and the author had not taken the time to flesh out the events leading to the crash and burn of the main character and why it was such a major event in his life, which to me made it somewhat unbelieveable.
    I was not expecting the ending as I had not realised that this was a religious book, and kept thinking 'something has to happen soon', which, to be fair it did, but as I thought this was a novel I was expecting something different.
    It is not a badly written book and a very easy read and it's main message is very valid if you are a follower of religion or not.
    So if you want inspiration in how to view life then this is a good read.

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  • Posted September 8, 2011

    Highly Recommend

    For the Golfer and Christian, or for those struggling with their self worth, this book is a must read. It's quick but can be used as a reference over and over again.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2011

    Highly recommended!!!!

    AWESOME book-I couldn't put it down! MUCH, MUCH better than the movie which I just saw and was not that impressed with. The movie left out a lot of the really neat instruction-advice Johnny gave out. Book is also very easy to read. I think any golfer, any person of faith and just anyone in general who likes stories about personal motivation that aren't preachy but just a good story told will like this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2010

    Golf' Sacred Journey

    I found the book so inspiring that I purchased 10 more of the books to give to friends. They have all been very appreciative.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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