License To Live

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License to Live is where Heart of Darkness meets Chicken Soup for the Soul. It is the story of Elvin Dowling, an African American who not only to saw the world while mingling with those who rule it, but also gained the life experience to inspire others.


His story begins in an overcrowded apartment in a South Florida ghetto, winds its way through Capitol Hill in Washington, DC (and, from time to time, the White House), and lands on Wall Street, the financial capital of the...

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License to Live: Becoming the Architect for Change In Your Life and Work

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License to Live is where Heart of Darkness meets Chicken Soup for the Soul. It is the story of Elvin Dowling, an African American who not only to saw the world while mingling with those who rule it, but also gained the life experience to inspire others.


His story begins in an overcrowded apartment in a South Florida ghetto, winds its way through Capitol Hill in Washington, DC (and, from time to time, the White House), and lands on Wall Street, the financial capital of the world. “I am blessed and highly favored. To say that God has been good to me is an understatement when you consider the obstacles placed in my way and the losses I have endured.”


By sharing the harsh realities of his upbringing, the author delves into the heart of life’s challenges while providing a roadmap for you to defy the cruelties of life. He reveals reactions to his own troubles, and unveils the detours to lead you to destiny rather than defeat.


An eye-opening and heart-stirring message that sheds light on the truth that your past does not dictate your future.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780768436952
  • Publisher: Destiny Image Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/1/2011
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,437,530
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Elvin Dowling is an acclaimed speaker, author and America's leading advocate for achieving greatness by embracing change. The former Chief of Staff for the National Urban League, Elvin has risen through the ranks in some of America’s leading advocacy organizations in spite of overwhelming obstacles. Today, his story of hope inspires others to step into their greatness.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Les Brown 13

Author's Note 15

Introduction Still Here 17

Part 1 31

Chapter 1 Having a License Is a Privilege 33

Chapter 2 Study to Show Yourself Approval 53

Chapter 3 If at First You Don't Succeed 75

Chapter 4 Get Your Motor Running 105

Chapter 5 Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear 121

Part 2 135

Chapter 6 Stop, Look, and Listen 137

Chapter 7 Toll Roads 149

Chapter 8 Green Light, Yellow Light, Red Light, Stop! 159

Part 3 185

Chapter 9 "I Can. I Will. I'm Going To!" 187

Chapter 10 Beware of Hitchhikers 197

Chapter 11 You've Arrived-Now What? 217

Chapter 12 Driver's Ed 101: The License to Live Exam 227

A Call to Action It's Time to Change Directions! 235

Bonus Material 55 Questions That Will Change Your Life 237

Endnotes 243

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2011

    License to Live

    License to Live, bye Elvin Dowling is a very unique and wonderful book designed to help even the most "down-on-your-luck" person in our society to find a sense of self-worth and completion in even the most difficult of circumstances. That having been said, it should not be misinterpreted that this is, in any way, a self-help book in the traditional sense. This book is not about pity-parties. It does not encourage you to simply "think positive thoughts" and all will go away. Instead, Dowling has encourages his reader to join him on a heart-felt, and deeply personal, journey in which they will face their problems head on.
    Dowling starts this book where few others have the courage, with a recounting of his own personal journey. This very personal touch to the book sets a tone of solidarity with is reader that carries throughout the text. Also, having seen everything he's been through only enhances the amazing message of hope that this book provides. It is not simply the half-cocked ramblings of some blow-hard, telling you how your life should be even though he has never been there. Instead, this is a heart-felt plea for each and every person, regardless of their circumstances, to find their place in life. To discover exactly what it is that makes them unique and to use those unique gifts to tackle all the obstacles that lie ahead.
    As a person who has suffered from depression for a majority of my life, I can tell you that this book is unique in both its format and function. There are many out there who attempt to offer solutions by trying to fundamentally change who you are. They want you to overcome yourself, not just your affliction. They encourage you to change everything, even the fundamental elements that make you who you are. At no point during my reading of License to Live did I ever feel such pressure. Instead, I felt inspired by this basic implication of the text: my obstacles and afflictions in life have affected me, even in some ways defined me, but they do not have to control me. They can make me stronger, and they can equip me to help others. This is a message of hope I find unrivaled by the plethora of "self-help", pseudo-psychological nonsense on the market today.
    Dowling's work is truly one of compassion. His passion for the marginalized of the world is evident on page 1 and carries through to the very last page. This is not simply a money making gimmick for him. He is not promoting some empty personal agenda. This is not about face time or publishing deals. This is about helping you, his reader, to discover the rich and fulfilling life that is available to you. He knows your struggles, feels your pain, and he wants to be there by your side to help you overcome it all. And, above all else he wants you to remember that, in the midst of it all, hope does exist.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2011

    Beautifully written, highly uplifting

    License to Live is such an inspirational story of Dowling's ability to overcome difficulties in his life. It's truly an empowering story and has given me a new drive in my life. His battles have really pulled at my heart and shown me that every issue I go through is simply a comma in my story of life. Recommended for people young and old, anyone who has ever gone through struggles.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2011

    A real and inspirational story - must read!

    Elvin Dowling writes about his experiences in life and how he learned that education was the path to success. His early struggles were many but he persevered and overcame to create an amazing life for him self. I also liked the way he provided exercises to map out the readers own goals. This is a great read and a wonderful story of triumph.

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  • Posted January 31, 2011

    Highly Recommended...a must read!

    Is there anything stopping you from living the life that you were purposed to live? In Elvin Dowling's book, "License to Live," he offers a guide to assist readers in maneuvering their way down life's highways to achieve greatness and become what God intended them to be.

    Dowling gives readers the Universal Road Rules, Red Light Challenges, Rearview Glances and Roadside Responses to aid in designing our own "Real Life Road Map" in hopes that we will become productive citizens living life to the fullest. It is evident in this book that this journey down life's roadways will not be without some potholes, u-turns or detours. It is up to the reader to use the many bumps in the road to their advantage because as the good book says, "And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to his purpose" (Rom 8:28).

    The book gives a very personal, detailed look into the life of the author and is written in a "I've been there and done that so I know you can too" tone. This makes it an easy read and if you don't know the author personally it feels like he's your friend dishing out some good guidance. Dowling has shown that we all have something to contribute to society and that we can rise above the dust and soar like an eagle, just as he has!

    To a reader who is looking to be a better person, "License to Live," gives practical guidance to enable the reader to make positive changes in his/her personal and spiritual life. You should not be able to read it without doing a complete self-evaluation.

    This reviewer has been able to apply the guidance located in these pages to every area of daily living. Why take guidance on becoming licensed to live from Elvin Dowling? He is obviously on a highway of success, and has offered to give you a roadmap. Take him up on it and see where it takes you! This book will leave a definite imprint on your heart, mind and spirit.

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