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The Noticer Returns: Sometimes You Find Perspective, and Sometimes Perspective Finds You

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Overview

Perspective is a powerful thing.

Andy Andrews has spent the past five years doing a double take at every white-haired old man he sees, hoping to have just one more conversation with the person to whom he owes his life.

Through a chance encounter at a local bookstore, Andy is reunited with the man who changed everything for him – Jones, also known as “The Noticer.”

As the story unfolds, Jones uses his unique ...

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The Noticer Returns: Sometimes You Find Perspective, and Sometimes Perspective Finds You

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Overview

Perspective is a powerful thing.

Andy Andrews has spent the past five years doing a double take at every white-haired old man he sees, hoping to have just one more conversation with the person to whom he owes his life.

Through a chance encounter at a local bookstore, Andy is reunited with the man who changed everything for him – Jones, also known as “The Noticer.”

As the story unfolds, Jones uses his unique talent of noticing little things that make a big difference. And these “little things” grant the people of Fairhope, Alabama, a life-changing gift - perspective. Along the way, families will be united, financial opportunities will be created, and readers will be left with powerfully simple solutions to the everyday problems we all face.

Through the lens of a parenting class at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Alabama, Jones guides a seemingly random group to ask specific questions inspired by his curious advice that “You can’t believe everything you think.” Those questions lead to answers for which people have been searching for centuries:

  • How do we begin to change the culture in which we live?
  • What is the key to creating a life of success and value?
  • What if what we think is the end…is only the beginning?

What starts as a story of one person's everyday reality unfolds into the extraordinary principles available to anyone looking to create the life for which they were intended.

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  • The Noticer Returns
    The Noticer Returns  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Andy Andrews first put himself on the self improvement map with his 2002 bestseller The Traveler's Gift. Since then, in books like The Butterfly Effect and The Heart Mender, he has used gently evocative stories to communicate his self-help message. In his new book, the mysterious old character known as The Noticer returns to offer perceptive lessons on parenting that ultimately apply to all our social and business encounters. Wisdom seeds that germinate before our eyes.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780785231455
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 33,619
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Hailed by a New York
Times
reporter as “someone who has quietly become one of the most influential people in America,” Andy Andrews is a best-selling novelist, speaker, and consultant for the world’s largest corporations and organizations.
He has spoken at the request of four different United States presidents and recently addressed members of Congress and their spouses. Andy is the author of three New York Times bestsellers. He and his wife, Polly, have two sons.

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Read an Excerpt

The Noticer Returns

Sometimes You Find Perspective, and Sometimes Perspective Finds You


By Andy Andrews

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2013 Andy Andrews
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7852-3145-5


CHAPTER 1

I found him.

I wasn't looking for him, but there he was, real as life. It was only a glimpse at first, but he stopped and turned, almost as if he felt my gaze upon him. The instant we locked eyes, he grinned. And it was like the old man had never left.

But he did leave. He had disappeared several years ago without so much as a good-bye, and like the old man himself, the circumstances of his departure had been odd. Leaving our tiny, coastal community without being seen by a single person was strange enough—small-town folks don't miss much—but tucking a cryptic message inside a beaten-up suitcase and abandoning it in the middle of a parking lot ... well, the whole thing had been perplexing. It had also been the number-one topic of conversation in our town for weeks.

In time, however, the residents of Orange Beach came to believe he was gone for good, and a mourning of sorts had settled over the whole community. It wasn't a tragedy. We had suffered through hurricanes and oil spills—we knew what tragedy felt like. It was more of an emptiness we couldn't quite define.

So in lieu of anything specific, we talked endlessly about what we did remember. We discussed his clothes and wondered why we had never seen him in anything other than jeans and a T-shirt. Besides the leather sandals on his feet, that particular ensemble typified his entire wardrobe. We had seen him at a wedding on the lagoon, in restaurants, and even in church a time or two, but never dressed in anything other than jeans and a T-shirt.

No one had ever known where he lived or even where he slept at night. To our knowledge, he had never so much as spent a rainy evening at anyone's house. He didn't own property in our county—we all have friends working at the courthouse, and they checked.

Neither, we all agreed, could he possibly have had a tent in the small brown suitcase that never left his side. And about that suitcase ... until the day of his disappearance, none of us had ever seen him without it. It was an early weekday morning when Ted Romano, the owner of Pack & Mail, found the old, scuffed-up piece of luggage sitting by itself in the middle of an almost empty parking lot.

Yes, we all had stories about watching the old man struggle through a door with it or carry it with him as he filled a plate from a local salad bar, but as far as we could tell, no one but the man himself had so much as touched that suitcase until the day he vanished.

There was also the age thing. We were almost obsessed with the subject of how old the man might be. We had conceded long before that it was impossible to know his age for sure. His appearance yielded no real clues. "Old" was as close as we could guess. His hair was longish—not long enough for a ponytail, but longish—and as white as polished ivory. Usually only finger-combed, his hair was casually worn and almost beautiful. But his hair was only the first thing about him anyone noticed.

It was the old man's eyes that stopped people in their tracks. Sparkling as the laughter of a child and imbued with a color I can describe only as tranquil blue, his eyes verged on luminescence. Set against the brown skin of his face and framed by that snowy hair, his eyes would hold a person as long as he cared to talk. And he could really talk ...

None of us had ever had the opportunity to listen—truly listen—to anyone like him before. It wasn't that he talked a lot. He didn't. It's just that when he did talk, the words that tumbled from his mouth were so precise and significant that folks drank in every one.

You may think I am exaggerating, but there are more than a few of us in Orange Beach who credit this old man with changing our lives. In fact, I might be at the top of that long list. But then, my relationship with Jones has spanned more years than anyone else's.

He found me at a particularly tough time in my life when I was twenty-three years old. For several months he was a friend when I didn't have one and told me the truth at a time when I didn't want to hear it. Then he disappeared for close to thirty years.

The next time I saw him was a few years ago when he arrived, as he had the first time, seemingly out of the blue. One awfully curious thing I became aware of during that time was that the old man had apparently been in and out of our town for years. Maybe for decades.


Remember how I said we didn't know how old he was? Well, I talked to some people who were pretty old themselves, and they said the old man had been around when they were kids. And they swore up and down that he had been an old man then. Of course, that doesn't make sense to me even now. When I first heard it—and I heard it a lot—I ignored all the talk. Still, I had to admit that he didn't look much different from the first time I had seen him.

His age wasn't the only strange thing about the old man. His skin color was another. He was deeply tanned. Or dark brown. No one could agree on whether his pigmentation had been determined by genetics or a lifelong aversion to sunscreen. As for me, I simply didn't care.

It was curious, however, that African Americans seemed to take it for granted that the old man was black, and Caucasians assumed he was white. I saw it happen so often that I thought it was funny. I even asked him about it once. His answer didn't have much to do with the question, though, and I was not surprised.

I loved the old man, and I was not the only one. And I already told you how much of a difference he made for many of us. But I would be remiss if I did not submit this for consideration as well: there were people in our town who thought the old man was crazy.

It was all very strange ... how he was mocked and ridiculed by some and the way he just grinned and took it. Some folks—right to his face—even called him names.

Me? I just called him Jones. Not Mr. Jones. Just Jones.

CHAPTER 2

Gulf Shores, Alabama November, thirty-two years ago

It was a cold night on the Gulf Coast, and I was wearing everything I owned, including an insulated denim jacket I had found in someone's trash. It was almost midnight, and I was coming from a marathon session of cleaning fish for Jeannie's Seafood at the intersection of Highway 59 and the beach road. I was headed back to the Gulf State Park Pier, exhausted and cold, eager to climb under its shelter and sleep.

As was my habit, I got off the main road and walked behind the homes and businesses on the beach. I did this in order to avoid attention from anyone who might wonder what a kid was doing walking the streets of a small beach town alone at night. I was trudging through the concrete pilings under the Pink Pony Pub when Jones joined me.

It was not a surprise, really. I was becoming accustomed to the uncommon way he would commonly appear. This night he simply matched my stride and walked with me. As usual, the old man was in jeans and a T-shirt. "How do you keep from freezing?" I asked.

"I think warm thoughts," Jones replied, before noting, "Woowee! You smell like fish."

Continuing to trudge through the sand with my head down and my hands in my pockets, I said, "Yeah, well, spend a day up to your elbows in twenty-six hundred pounds of 'em, and we'll see what you smell like."

Jones was quiet for a while. I suspected he had sensed my mood and was being careful. My current station in life had taken an emotional toll that was not beyond repair. The circumstances were evident, however, even to those who knew me in passing. Jones was aware that I was a threat to fly into a rage or burst into tears or rip someone to pieces with my words. One or more of these crazy manifestations of how I felt at the moment happened far too frequently, and sometimes they happened in public. I didn't want to behave or conduct myself in that manner, but I believed it was nothing I could control. What can I do? I often thought. This is me. This is how I feel. This is just the way I am ...

I cut my eyes toward the old man and kept walking. He had a habit of turning up most often, it seemed, when I was tired or depressed or angry. I'd look up from washing someone's boat or pause to stretch while cleaning fish, and there he'd be, over to the side, twenty or thirty feet away, just watching me. He'd smile when I caught him like that, and I didn't mind. After all, he was the only person remotely interested in a young man who was homeless and living on the beach.

The old man could make me laugh, and he did so quite often; but mostly, he made me think. Not necessarily about a certain thing ... He made me think in ways I had never considered. Jones had a knack for turning a situation or a deep-seated belief upside down or sideways in such a manner that it became perfectly clear and made total sense.

I didn't look at him again, but I could hear the fine, sugary sand squeaking under his steps. He was quiet, simply offering his company to a lonely young man, and I couldn't help feeling guilty for how I sometimes acted toward him. I often grew frustrated with the old man, sometimes to the point of anger, and then would regret the sharp words I used as I took that frustration out on my friend. In saner moments I wondered if the overwhelming frustration I felt might actually be with myself. I certainly struggled to think the way he did.

"You can't just come up with some answer to everything," I'd said to him only a few nights before. In an ugly tone of voice, I had sneered, "You act like an answer is waiting around the corner, and when you find it—boom!—the problem's solved, like somebody waved a magic wand!" I remember stepping close to him for my big finish. With contempt dripping from my words, I had said, "Things are not that simple."

Jones had shrugged and, with the barest hint of a smile, replied, "Seems to me that when the answer appears, the problem is solved. You might be scared or frustrated or discouraged or all three, but when you find an answer, life is never the same again. So actually, son ... things aren't that complicated."

I had wanted to scream.


Approaching the Holiday Inn, we could see that high tide was sending its waves to break upon the foundation of the resort's pool area. Only a seawall protected the hotel's elaborate concrete beach from the waves of the real thing; therefore, it was the only place on our walk where we couldn't stay on the sand. I experienced this obstacle regularly and knew that to avoid wading through the surf, it was necessary to cross the pool deck. Together in the dark, all alone, Jones and I climbed the steps that would allow us to negotiate the array of lounge chairs, circle the pool, and exit the property by way of the stairs on the other side.

Despite the security guard who roamed the hotel grounds at night, I wasn't too scared. The lady who worked the night desk inside the lobby was a middle-aged, African American woman named Beverly. She was also a friend of mine. I called her Mrs. Beverly and occasionally gave her fresh fish as my part of an unspoken agreement that prompted her to look the other way when I used one or another of the hotel's amenities. Still, I was cautious. I didn't want anyone in trouble with the hotel manager. Especially me.

I crouched low, making my way across the deck. Arriving at midpoint, right beside the deep end of the pool, I turned to tell Jones to do the same. I flushed with annoyance, seeing he was not bent over and not hurrying. The old man was moving casually, absolutely upright, hands in his pockets, with those leather sandals scuffling along the sandy concrete. Having trained myself to avoid attention and the subsequent problems that came with it, I was striving for silence, and the old man's sandals resonated like a metal rake dragging through gravel.

Irritated, I hissed at him to hurry up, get down, and be quiet. But before I could continue my short trek, Jones inexplicably smiled sweetly and reached toward me in a gesture that indicated he wanted to place his hand on my shoulder but instead ... firmly pushed me into what was a very cold, unheated pool.

I was under the water—all the way under the water—before I had any comprehension of what had just occurred. Years later I would carry a weird mental picture of the old man at that particular instant. I would see him through the surface of the pool, leaning over me with his white hair blowing in the cold wind. As I surfaced with a gasp, Jones was smiling. Not laughing (I might have killed him) but smiling as if he were curious or expectant or fascinated with the object in front of him—which was, of course, me.

I kicked to the side of the pool and grabbed hold of the edge at his feet. All the fire or meanness or whatever it was I carried around was suddenly gone. I wiped my eyes with my hands, looked up at him, and asked, "What was that for?" as he reached down to help me out.

Soon I was wrapped in ten or twelve towels from the Holiday Inn laundry room and drinking coffee from the pot in the lobby. We were sitting on the floor, huddled in the not-quite-inside, not-quite-outside doorway that led to the hotel tennis courts. It was not comfortable, but it was out of the wind, and I was relatively sure we would not be run off.

After giving him the silent treatment for a time—conduct that I must admit had no effect at all—I peered at him sideways and said, "Jones. Man, I don't get you. What in the heck was that for?"

He looked up at the ceiling, took a deep, contented breath, and crossed his arms comfortably. "Well," he began, glancing at me briefly, then back to the ceiling. "Son, you are at this very moment in the biggest war you will ever wage in your life. It is confusing, but you're fighting for what you'll one day become. There are forces clashing for space in your head that you don't recognize, can't see, and won't understand until you're able to look back on the whole thing years from now.

"You know, a lot of folks will tell you that little things don't matter." He flashed me a quick look and added, "You'd better turn that on its ear, son. Little things do matter. Sometimes, little things matter the most. Everybody pays a lot of attention to big things, but nobody seems to understand that big things are almost always made up of little things. When you ignore little things, they often turn into big things that have become a lot harder to handle.

"'Don't sweat the small stuff,'" Jones said with disdain. "That's a lie that'll ruin your life." He looked hard at me again and locked my gaze with his own. "Your choices, your words, and every move you make are permanent. Life is lived in indelible ink, boy. Wake up. You're making little bitty brushstrokes every minute you walk around on this earth. And with those tiny brushstrokes, you are creating the painting that your life will ultimately become—a masterpiece or a disaster."

Jones shifted in the small space to gain a little comfort and faced me directly when he spoke again. "Okay, back to your question ..." The old man tilted his head to the side a tiny bit.

"It occurred to me that I wasn't always going to be around to help you with your thinking. So I decided, then and there, that you needed to understand a very important fact about your earthly existence. It is this: Every single day for the rest of your life, somebody is going to push you in the pool. And you'd better decide now how you're going to act when it happens."

Jones squinted and leaned toward me. "Are you gonna come out of the water whining? Maybe crying or complaining? Will you come up mad and defiant, threatening everybody? Will you throw fists or worse?

"Or will you come out of the water with a smile on your face? Looking to see what you can learn ... who you might help? Will you act happy though you feel uncertain?"

He stared at me for a beat or two before lowering his chin and speaking in an earnest tone. "It's time to decide, son," he said. "Almost every result that your life produces from this moment forward—good or bad—will depend upon how you choose. Every day, in one form or another, whether you like it or not, you will be pushed in the pool. You might as well decide right now how you'll act when it happens."
(Continues...)


Excerpted from The Noticer Returns by Andy Andrews. Copyright © 2013 Andy Andrews. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended for Your Book Collection

    Once again in this anticipated sequel, the author takes you on a journey throughout the entire book with Jones, also known as "The Noticer." He returns to impart a life-changing gift to the people of Fairhope, AL--that of perspective. This is indeed a story of love, hope, and redemption to those who are about to give up. The author once again leaves you breathless with the unexpected ending and leaves you wanting to hear again from Jones in another book! I loved the first book and this one was equally filled with imparted lessons for us all. It touched my heart in so many ways. Read it and be mesmerized. Better yet, read the first book if you have not and then read this superb sequel.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted October 25, 2013

    A fount of wisdom

    I love Andy Andrews and in this book, he exceeds his prior books. This is a book to read and reread for the nuggets of wisdom for life in a story format that is engaging. I found myself questioning can someone like Jones really exist. One can only hope and be grateful for a storyteller who can tell such a story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 19, 2013

    Andy Andrews is the 21st century¿s best story teller. His lates

    Andy Andrews is the 21st century’s best story teller. His latest book, The Noticer Returns, is a real gem. It’s like reading a 2013 version of Miracle on 34th Street, only instead of Santa Claus there is Jones, just plain Jones. And instead of New York City there is Fairhope, AL. Andy develops an intriguing story line that you love following chapter after chapter. There is a nugget of wisdom in each chapter. And you’ll feel refreshed when you close the last page in the epilogue. A very practical book – I highly recommend it to you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2013

    A change your life kind of book.

    I lost the love of a lifetime on June 17 and haven't been able to have peace on this....until I read the Noticer Returns. Andrews beautiful way of describing death as breathing made all the difference to my broken spirit. The entire book was a wonderful read, and something I will treasure forever.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2013

    My favorite book of the year! I've learned something from every

    My favorite book of the year! I've learned something from every one of his books but this one is uniquely special. Jones has more wisdom to give and it is life-changing. Wow. I'll be giving this book to many friends and family. I know there are thousands of books out there but don't miss this one. Truly. It may be his best ever.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2014

    Not as good

    This 2nd book was not as good as the first

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  • Posted March 28, 2014

    Highly Recommended

    This is an excellent book. All of Andy Andrews are a great read. This has so much to give on life lessons.

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  • Posted January 9, 2014

    Great come back!

    I figured he was gone forever but as Jones always says I am always around. This book is a great follow up to the original bookk.

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  • Posted January 9, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Ever wonder how some people handle life in general without reall

    Ever wonder how some people handle life in general without really knowing them? The is a saying Don't Sweat The Small Stuff, in fact there are several books written that would have us think there is some great wisdom found by a simple quote tucked inside. But is there really? To a man known simply as Jones, Not Mr. Jones. Just Jones.

    Jones is a old man that is always around even though you may not see him as is the case for Andy Andrews who has run into Jones more than a handful of times and knows undoubtedly he will see him again, but not sure when. Just that he will.

    If you handed Jones that sentiment about not sweating the small stuff he would tell you "that is a lie and one that will ruin your life. He would tell you that your choices, your words and every move you make are permanent. Life is lived in indelible ink. Wake up. You're making little bitty brushstrokes every minute you walk around on this earth. And with those tiny brushstrokes, you are creating the painting that your life will ultimately become-a masterpiece or a disaster.

    You need to understand a very important fact about your earthly existence. It is this: Every single day for the rest of your life, somebody is going to push you in the pool. And you'd better decide now how you're going to act when it happens.

    Are you going to come out of the water whining? Maybe crying and complaining? Will you throw fits or worse?

    Or will you come out of the water with a smile on your face? Looking to see what you can learn...who you might help? Will you act happy though you feel uncertain?

    Almost every result that your life produces from this moment forward-good or bad-will depend upon how you choose. Every day, in one form or another, whether you like it or not, you will be pushed in the pool. You might as well decide right now how you'll act when it happens."

    This is just one of the many eye-opening conversations that Andy will have with his encounter with Jones as well as handful of others he writes about in the Noticer Returns. If you haven't read the Noticer, please take the time to read that one first. Each of these books, I promise you will be highlighted and dog-eared with so many wonderful nuggets of wisdom that no two people will gain the same perspective out of it but it will be life changing. I can only hope that Jones will return soon with another amazing book. For now however, this one along with the Noticer remain on my personal best loved book shelf. They will be books I reference often when a situation calls for a visit from Jones again to help me gain a different perspective on things in my life. I too, Jones, choose an extraordinary life!!!

    I received The Noticer Returns by Andy Andrews as a gift from my husband who has enjoyed taking this journey with me through several of Andy Andrews books and every single time there is a new one, he knows without a doubt it will be a "have to have!" If you are looking for something that when you read it will be so life changing you will want to read it again and again? Pick this one up! I personally rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and have even given away a copy to someone I knew could use it just when they needed it the most. Jones would be proud. This is a inspirational and motivational book that would be perfect for parents, coaches, employees and anyone who wants something more out of life than just the ordinary!!

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  • Posted January 3, 2014

    Andy Andrews does it again!

    Fantastic!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2013

    Highly recommended

    The first fictional self help book I've read. Enjoyable read and very thought provoking.

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  • Posted November 1, 2013

    Sorry, Andy, this book just wasn't as fun or interesting as The

    Sorry, Andy, this book just wasn't as fun or interesting as The Noticer. I thought there was a little too much 'blah, blah, blah" in the text.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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