what we found there was God.
And he was enough.
It was the subject of headlines around the world: Three Mexican fishermen in a small open boat without any supplies, drifting for more than nine months and 5,500 miles across the Pacific Ocean. Through blistering sun and threatening storms, they battle starvation, dehydration, hopelessness, and death. Their lifelines? An unwavering faith and a tattered Bible.
Thousands of miles away, Joe Kissack, a successful Hollywood executive, personified the American dream. He enjoyed the trappings of the good life: a mini mansion, sports cars, and more. He had it made. Yet the intense pressure of his driven and high-powered career sends him into a downward spiral, driving him deep into suicidal depression, insidious addictions, and alienation from his family. His lifelines? A friend and a Bible on the table between them.
Thoughtfully told with candor and humor, Kissack weaves together the incredible true voyage of fishermen adrift in the sea and his own life’s journey as a man lost in the world. It is a story that will buoy your spirit and renew your hope and faith.
|Publisher:||The Crown Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.36(w) x 9.22(h) x 0.81(d)|
About the Author
Joe Kissack is a speaker, author, screenwriter, film and television executive, publisher, and entrepreneur. His job descriptions cover a wide spectrum, from working on a farm and cleaning out refrigerated beef trucks to serving as a senior executive for Sony Pictures. His speaking engagements also vary, as he provides inspiration for charities,
churches, and business conferences. Joe lives in Atlanta with Carmen, his wife of more than twenty-five years, and their two daughters.
Read an Excerpt
If something dark was looming, I wasn’t aware of it. Not yet. Not now. I stood on the red carpet at the Emmy Awards, wearing obscenely expensive sunglasses. It was September of 1997, and my employment contract with Columbia TriStar Television was about to expire. I’d been invited to fly out to L.A. for some important meetings that would determine the next move in my soaring career. A seat at the Emmys was an extra perk, a glamour ticket in Hollywood.
I certainly looked the part: a thousand-dollar tuxedo, cuff links from Neiman Marcus, a Rolex Oyster Day-Date, Ferragamo shoes, and, of course, those sunglasses—three hundred bucks’ worth of eye candy.
I had “arrived” according to Hollywood’s standards, often calculated by one’s ability to spend outrageous amounts of money on items of little substance. Even knowing that, I was a repeat offender. And I loved every glistening gold dollar of this good life. After all, I’d earned it. In my tenth year with a major television studio that had promoted me five times, I’d climbed all the way to executive vice president, pulling down a big salary with incredible bonuses. My job allowed for marvelous vacations, dining in the best restaurants, and shopping at the coolest boutiques. I always traveled first class (concierge level, of course), and I received a car allowance that paid for my BMW 540i and later my Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet. I owned a six thousand-square-foot house, complete with a home theater and sound system that would straighten the hair on your legs. And, oh yes, I rode a Harley-Davidson—just because I could.
If I saw something I liked, I bought it. If something could make me look better, I got it. If a hotel wasn’t up to my standards, I found a better one. It was all about having the best. Not bad for a small-town kid from a blue-collar family in Illinois whose daughters make fun of him for having worn the same plaid shirt in his first- and second-grade class photos! Standing on the red carpet was an exclamation-point celebration of a once-lost kid who now looked so sharp.
Of course, there was something else. My life was furiously driven by something deep beneath the surface. Something I didn’t know that I didn’t know.
Trying to survive in the television industry is like being on the TV show Survivor. You’re on a team, but the truth is, it’s every man for himself. With an average of four shows to pitch each year, I was giving more than a thousand presentations annually. It wasn’t brainiac stuff, but it was incredibly nerveracking. I had to be “on” all the time; tens of millions of dollars were riding on it. Sure, some days it was glamorous, but the second I closed a deal, I would start stressing about the next one. I felt only as good as the last big thing I landed. This despite some of my successes—Married…with Children; Mad About You; Walker, Texas Ranger; Ricki Lake. Of course, there was also that big one—Seinfeld.
My job was to license the rights of television programs to broadcast stations across the country, otherwise known as syndication. Whoever figured out that television audiences would watch the same program a second, third, or even seventeenth time was a genius. Syndication is highly profitable—and cutthroat. With only so many clients in each city and twenty other shows competing for the same limited time slots, it’s impossible to sell your show in every market. The expectation, however, is that you will. Every major studio had more than a dozen of us hired guns. We traveled to all 211 TV markets, four days a week, fifty weeks a year, from New York City all the way to Glendive, Montana, and every trip was destined, on some level, to fail.
But—and this is a big but—the money was fabulous. And most of us hired guns lived beyond our means, believing that as long as the money was coming in, the physical and emotional toll was worth it. Believe me, it is very difficult to walk away.
Much as I reveled in my red-carpet moment, I knew it was just another part of the dance. The invitation—the whole weekend for that matter—was one more perk the studio had pushed in front of me, knowing I wouldn’t, or couldn’t, refuse their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It was all calculated. They had me right where they wanted me. I was a guy once obsessed with a worn-out plaid shirt, who hailed from a town whose chief industries were canning peas and spinning yarn, and now I was raking in lots of dough (and needing it to keep up my lifestyle), rubbing elbows with American entertainment royalty, and looking like a million bucks.
One of the keys to successful red-carpet walking is to do it slowly, especially the final twenty yards before you get inside. The proper walk is important, because you’re supposed to project an aura of appreciation tinged with indifference, but never gratitude and certainly not awe. As an old coach once told me, “Joe, if you’re lucky enough to wind up in the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.” I played the part pretty well. I had rehearsed for this moment endlessly. I knew how to cruise through a five-star hotel lobby and into a waiting limousine with just enough mystery that I looked like I could be somebody famous.
Illusion is important in Hollywood. It’s carefully crafted on-screen; it’s carefully cultivated offscreen. I’d gotten the hang of it.
There on the red carpet, my lovely wife, Carmen, stood by my side, just as she had during my entire climb up the professional ladder. She was a rock and looked like a rock star. Among many things, she was an incredible mother and kept the family running like a finely tuned machine. “Very special,” her dad once told me, as tears welled up in his eyes. “That Carmen…she is a special one.”
Even though Carmen’s presence helped me project my grand illusion before the eyes of others, she was skeptical of the life I’d pursued. She had seen the wear and tear resulting from the demands of the job and tried to suggest that I needed more balance in my life. Carmen feared that I was being ground down to nothing and didn’t understand why I kept renewing my contract. She would encourage me with her cheerleader smile, attempting to give me confidence. “Joe, you’re a talented guy. You can do other things…” But I was like a suicide bomber who didn’t have the wires connected quite right, and I was determined about my mission. Even if it killed me.
I suppose I knew that I was pushing too hard. Earlier that week I had met with the head of television for the studio, and he asked me the classic interview question: “Where do you see yourself five, ten, or fifteen years from now?” I told him bluntly I wanted his job someday. It was positively ludicrous to think I could handle this guy’s responsibilities. He was ridiculously smart and operated as if ice water ran through his veins. It sounded good when I said it, though, and it was probably what he wanted to hear. Again, illusion.
I knew I was driven. But I had to be. The industry was intense: the farther you advanced up the ladder, the fewer the jobs—very few lateral moves. It was all about the next job, and there were only about six jobs at my level in the entire studio system. There was no workplace Zen back then. It was all tension, all the time. If you weren’t stressed and strung out, you would be replaced. Some guys could handle it—thousands of canned speeches, smiles, fake laughter, and contracts. I felt I could too. I was holding it all together. Besides, everything I held dear was riding on my ability to continue to climb, to succeed: my house, my car, my family’s future, my reputation. My sunglasses. The moment I stepped off that tightrope, it would all be gone, handed to the next guy in line. Every day on the job at the studio was, to my mind, another day I might be found out.
Some years before, to deal with the stress, I had tried seeing a shrink. There I’d learned a few things about myself, primarily that I had equated my success and lifestyle with my value as a husband, father, and head of household. I suppose I was looking for validation, approval, something to fill me up.
At one point the psychiatrist looked into my eyes and said, “Tell me about your father.” No one had ever gone there before, and I didn’t know what to say. So I never went back. I didn’t want, nor could I even begin, to have a conversation about my father. Not with anyone. Really, it wasn’t such a big deal, or so I thought. Everyone was chasing something they wanted, the good life they desired, the status that would garner respect. I was no different. What if there were stresses? I just needed to manage them better.
And I felt I had. Look where I was! The sun was shining. Carmen was by my side. I was at the Emmys in Hollywood, about to re-up with my studio. I had made a name for myself.
We turned and began our slow, convincing stroll into the Pasadena Civic Auditorium for the commencement of the ceremonies. Yet, walking through all that dazzle and glitter, I could not see on the horizon the storm that was about to engulf my life. Through my sunglasses, the world looked sunny and rosy. But behind those lenses, my eyes betrayed lines of anxiety, worry, and stress.
We are so blind to our own stuff, blind to the storm bearing down on us. In fact, I was already adrift. I just didn’t know it.
Table of Contents
1 Red Carpet 1
2 The Fishermen 7
3 The Paddle 11
4 The Pacific 17
5 The Campus 23
6 Blood Brothers 29
7 Soul Mates 35
8 Life and Death 45
9 Lost 51
10 Choosing Life 59
11 Chossing Death 65
12 Rescue 75
13 Found 79
14 The Good News 87
15 The TV News 91
16 Peace and Pain 97
17 The Summer of Joe 101
18 Dichos De Mi Madre 105
19 Undertow 109
20 Plans 113
21 Faith 117
22 Machine Guns and a Flashing Yellow Light 125
23 A Flashing Yellow Light and More Machine Guns 129
24 What's News? 135
25 Signs and Wonders 137
26 A Different Breed of Sharks 141
27 Going Home 147
28 Electric Connections 151
29 Middlemen 155
30 No. Maybe. Yes 159
31 Nudges 163
32 Trust 171
33 His Plans 177
34 Which Story? 181
35 His Stories 185
36 "Keep Going!" 187
37 Standing in the Gap 191
38 Wisdom and Folly 197
39 Seeds 203
40 Buoyant 205
1. Your story of rising to the top of your profession sounds like a dream come true, yet you were so unhappy. Where do you think things went wrong?
Foundationally, things went wrong very early in my life. In families where the father is misled-chances are that everyone in the family will be misled. Because of an "unsafe" childhood home, ruled by an alcoholic, I was born into and grew up in a constant state of survival. It created unconscious drive towards protecting myself and gaining any and everything for my subsistence. My professional life was just an extension of that mode of operating (except in our culture, especially in business, it is what is thought of as success). Often, a life on this course looks fine until it starts to come off the tracks. It seems that when things start to go wrong, they are going wrong in or very near the present moment. This is rarely the case, and the root cause of where things go wrong can be traced back to a time that seems disconnected to the present instance. Often we miss this because we don't know what we don't know.
2. Why do you think your wife, Carmen, stuck with you during your addictions and depression?
The short version is - she loved me. She is an incredible woman and the hero of this story. She prayed. She held out hope. She did and does the thing that rock solid women like her do - stick with knuckleheads who don't deserve to be stuck with. Millions of women are doing this right now, hoping that somehow, by some miracle perhaps, the men in their lives will come to their senses. Sometimes they do. And what they find is a woman who is the hero of their story.
3. You grew up in an alcoholic house. How do you think your two daughters were affected by your addictions and what have you done differently since your sobriety?
My children have been, and will continue to be, greatly affected by my addictions and that of the generational predisposition that my/our DNA carries with it and we have made a conscious decision to call it out of the darkness and shine a light on it. But, they have also been greatly affected by my sobriety. The truth of our past gives the next generation a chance to fight against it, without it having to be a secret. I bring it up often in our home with a simple statement: "Please allow me to remind everyone that our family comes from a long line of addiction and depression. Please proceed with caution!"
4. People often say you have to hit rock bottom before you can change. Do you think your spiritual awakening would have happened if you didn't hit that bottom?
I would tend to agree with that statement, but I can only comment as it relates to my experience and me. It is really hard for me to say what would or would not happen for anyone else. In my case, I was on a fine line between the continued living existence of this human body, and the end of its existence and the death of it. My spiritual awakening and the rock bottom seemed to have an interesting timing with each other to come at the same moment. However, I don't think everyone will or has to have it happen this way to them. We all make choices, and for the longest time I chose to ignore what I knew to be truth of where it was all heading. I did that up until the very moment of surrender. Some people do it sooner. I think they are the smart ones.
5. How have your non-religious friends reacted to your newfound faith?
It is kind of a mixed bag. Some have found it to be a reason to distance themselves: "Don't you think Joe has carried this God thing a little too far?" While others have grown closer: "We have been praying for you and wondering when God's grace and mercy would be showered down on you." The truth is, at least for me, it doesn't matter what anyone's reaction is. It is none of my business what others think about me. It is really none of my business what I even think about me. There is only ONE opinion of me that counts, and I know where I stand with Him.
6. You use humor throughout the book. Tell us about how you reacted when your house was on fire and what that symbolized in your life.
Ah yes. I used to be really funny. So it is not so much that I use humor throughout the book, but more like I just use me. It is just the way I see things. I am sometimes able to find the humor in even the most tragic of times. (Thank goodness I had the greatest editor in the world, Ken Peterson, to let me know when I had crossed a line.)
At the time of our house fire I was in a heavily medicated state - doing all I could to keep from feeling the excruciating pain of my great sadness, the unending fear and doom of my daily existence, and loss of control of a life that was once looked great. When I pulled into the driveway to see the smoke billowing out of the windows I reacted with sort of a default of "do something". I just needed to do something about it. My literal house was on fire but my metaphoric house (and everything in it) was on fire, too. It wasn't just falling apart in disrepair and going to crumble down one brick at a time. It was going to flare up and incinerate everything in my life like an atomic explosion. Mowing the grass was my attempt at radiation treatment.
7. Your search for the fishermen started out badly. Did you ever consider leaving Mexico and why did you stay?
Oh, I considered leaving on several occasions: when I first heard from my colleagues that I was on my own; when I first heard of the cannibalism; and when I got my expensive hotel bill and imagined the cost of it all. I also considered leaving when there were no seats on the flight I needed; when I heard how much the miraculous first class seat was; when I met the soldiers with machine guns; and when I saw the rough looking gang with machetes. For a normal person, those would be seven pretty good reasons to turn and run the other way. I wish I could tell you that I stayed because I had some great plan, but I didn't. I stayed because each time I tried to leave, something (or someone) countered the obstacle I was facing with a tiny glimmer of hope (or I am just really stupid). It gave me just enough courage to take one more step forward even though I couldn't see where my foot was going to land.
8. The media focused on some the questions around the fishermen's survival and you address the issues head on in your book. Why do you think the doubts began quickly after the rescue?
I have been in media for nearly 30 years. I have a pretty good understanding of what sells, which by the way, you don't have to be in media for 30 years to understand, all you have to do is look at what the media offers as "news". There is no such thing as "Journalism" in media today. It is mostly "Opinionism" with a few facts thrown in to make it sound like someone is doing their job as a journalist. The media companies use this "Opinionism" with a slant towards whatever precise demographic, psychographic, or like-minded constituency, which uses a particular media outlet and buys the products that are advertised on those outlets. There may have been legit "doubts" in the survival, but the "doubts" seemed to be fueled by an agenda to tell (or more likely sell) a "sensational story". If there were real doubts, wouldn't it make sense to investigate the doubts further, rather than just make a claim of something sinister and whipping it into a frenzy? If investigated, it could have easily been determined what the survival was, but that is not what the media did. If they had, they would have found out how outrageous their claims were.
9. You write about your relationship with your father, his alcoholism and you feeling that you could never be good enough. Did you ever resolve that conflict with him? And what advice, if any, do you give adult children who still struggle with unresolved issues with their parent or parents?
I have tried on many occasions to engage my father in this conversation and unfortunately have not been able to. However, I have been able to find peace over it. I have done what I know how to do, to reconcile. I started to realize that perhaps he did too, but it wasn't going to include any sort of a conversation on his part. He doesn't know how to do that. It is like trying to buy a gallon of milk at a flower shop. It doesn't exist there. Then a friend suggested that I start to see him through a different lens. God's lens. Once I started to do that, things changed. I started to see my father in a completely new way, perhaps the way that God sees him. It made me sad to think that this man had been wounded in such a way that made him the way he was. I was filled with sorrow for him. Soon, resentments and anger were replaced with a different set of empathetic emotions that eventually led me to forgiveness and grace, all without ever having one conversation about it with him.
Recently I received a letter from a woman from Oregon who was reading The Fourth Fisherman over the phone with her father, who lived in California. It was serving as a conduit for a discussion between them about their own unresolved issues. I consider it a great honor and privilege that in some small way, this book was able to serve them. This is the very reason I do what I do.
10. Was the process of writing the book difficult?
Yes and no. The overall process of writing a book is one of the most difficult things I have ever done. What to write? Why to write it? How to write it? Where to write? The time, energy, and effort are unlike any other thing I had ever done. And when you think you are finished, you find out you are not. It seems to go on forever and forever. After a certain point you can't even tell what is good and what isn't.
However, there is something about it when it is working right, when you are feeling the flow of it all that it becomes almost effortless, and sometimes seems to write itself. I have often looked back at what I have written, after one of those moments where it just seemed to flow out of me, and wondered, "Did I write that? It's not bad." Then to have someone find meaning in it or that it blessed them in some way is, well, it is just the best feeling in the world.
11. Do you hope to make the book into a movie?
I wrote the movie of this journey before I ever wrote the book. I am a visual person and I could see scenes in my head. I really had no idea what I was doing as a writer and I thought for some reason that writing a movie would be easier than writing a book (for the record, neither one is easy). I worked very hard at my plans to make this happen, and eventually came to understand that my plans were not the plan, and eventually I surrendered this outcome to God. I am sure He will let me know if He wants me to do more on this any time soon.
12. Do you plan to write another book?
I am working on that right now. I have several more books in me, and I can tell one of them is trying to get out! I have been praying, thinking, asking questions, and writing to see where I am being led on this.
13. You speak to different groups across the country. What is your message and what do you hope to accomplish?
I have spoken to just about every kind of group you can think of: business, church, hospitals, schools, publically traded companies and private ones - even a car dealership!
I will go anywhere, anytime, to see any amount of people to share this story. I do it because I see people connecting to this story. Somehow, people are seeing their own stories in the midst of the fishermen and my story, and they are finding hope in the truth of who they are and like me, they have become the fourth fisherman.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I found the Fourth Fisherman by Joe Kissack’s to be an overall exceptional non- fiction book. This adventurous yet inspiring story is written in such a way that readers are able to stay entertained while also being able to take away life lessons. Thoughtfully told with humor and sincerity, the author cleverly weaves together the incredible story of three fishermen adrift at sea for more than 9 months which he parallels to his own life journey as man lost in a world of greed and addiction. As Kissack’s own life bottom’s out with addiction, marriage problems, depression and career failures he discovers (like the lost fisherman) to depend on God for his day-to -day survival. Kissack’s journey and quest of enlightenment and rediscovery is real and inspirational. The only part of the story that dragged on was when Kissack tells about how he met and finally persuaded the Mexican fisherman to let him write their story. The best part of the book is Kissack’s vivid description of the fisherman’s amazing survival and Kissack’s own personal story of collapse and then transformation. I really enjoyed Kissack’s style of writing as well. And, although it takes a little extra focus, the two stories the book covers makes it extremely powerful and relatable to everyday life. This book is filled with essential life lessons and teaches character qualities that would benefit any reader. I highly recommend this book because it is inspirational, entertaining, and action packed.
Loved it! Reading again
Are You Lost or Adrift? This remarkable story will show you how faith in God can uphold us through dire circumstances.Joe Kissack, a man blessed with material goods galore had nothing¿success and excess had emptied his soul.Three Mexican fishermen adrift at sea in 2006 for nine months had everything¿faith sustained them because they read the Bible everyday.Both stories intertwine in this book. Kissack delves into the agony and ecstasy of walking the Hollywood red carpet, the shame imposed on him as a kid, and the stress of staying on top in a high-powered position. His life becomes out of control. His conversion and faith in God are inspiring. A shining star in the book is the reaction of his wife. Her story, unfortunately, is glossed over in favor of its impact on her husband.Rescue. We know from the media that the Mexicans¿ were picked up by a fishing boat and returned to their families. The relationship between Kissack and the Mexicans develops.Although the author relates the fishermen¿s story respectfully, he keeps our attention on himself, so the ¿rescued-at-sea¿ story seems a bit self-serving. Sometimes you have to go off the deep end to find the joy of surfacing to a fresh life. The book provides food for thought.Waterbrook Press releases the title on March 13, 2012. The Amazon Vine Program graciously provided the review copy.Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont
The Fourth Fisherman: How Three Mexican Fishermen Who Came Back from the Dead Changed My Life and Saved My Marriage by Joe Kissack This is the story of Joe, he has money, a great job in the entertainment business, a wife and family and yet he is on a downward spiral into a dark hole. He had tried to fill this hole with things and prestige, but nothing was working. In the book Joe says, " I kept searching for more. More of what? I really didn't know. Something I couldn't put my finger on it, but it felt like it was out there, just around the corner. Something to fill the emptiness inside me." pg 41 This book is Joe's story of his struggles, searching, redemption, forgiveness, love and learning to rely on God and God's plan. This is also the story of the three fisherman from Mexico that get stranded at sea for 9 months with nothing put their faith in God and a Bible to sustain them. They were drifting aimless at sea and they had God with them through the whole 9 months. This tells their story of struggle and rescue, hope and faith. It is a remarkable true story of strength that comes from God, faith and how they survived for those 9 months. It tells us how God would provide what they needed just in time and how He never left them. Just like He does for us in our lives. The book tells us how God sends Joe to meet the fisherman after they are rescued to help them tell their story and in so doing Joe grows in his faith and reliance on God. You find that he has the same doubts and fears that we have when it comes to knowing if we are reallying doing what God wants us to or not. As Joe goes through the jungles and obstacles in Mexico trying to meet the fisherman you see how God nudges him along and reassures him, as well as protects him, just as God does us in our lives. When I first started to read this book I had already decided that it was just going to be another feel sorry for me book, but boy was I wrong. The more I read the book the more I realized this is a book of brokenness and faith. A book of hopelessness and hope. It is a true story of how one man has everything, but really has nothing, and three men who have nothing, but they have everything because they have God. It is a powerful, insightful, encouraging book that I think everyone should read once or twice. This book is all this an more. As it says in the book, "And then my eyes were fully opened: God was present in all of it, speaking to me about what the story really was. No, this isn't my story. But it isn't the fishermen's story either. It is God's story, and all of what He has done needs to be told." pg 189 This book tells us that story and I hope everyone will take the time to read it. "I received this book from WaterBrook Multomah for free in exchange for an honest review."
Wow! A gripping story of how one man’s journey from brokenness to salvation intersected with a group of fishermen from Mexico, lost at sea. Both situations demonstrate God’s unfailing love and ability to reach through circumstances and touch his children. Joe’s life and brutal honesty remind us of the emptiness of pursuing worldly fame and wealth. Everything about his life screamed success but he remained dead inside. Far away, five fishermen got into a boat, but only three returned, their lives changed forever as they learned to depend on God for their very survival. I couldn’t put this book down. Well written and inspiring, an amazing testimony of God’s grace! If you’ve ever struggled with your faith, this book will encourage you. Nothing carries as much power as a personal encounter with God, are you ready for such an encounter? Favorite quote: I had built my life on the cornerstone of flesh-me-and heaped everything I had acquired on top of it. Eventually, I couldn’t stand the weight of it all, and my life crumbled like a house of sand.
From November 2005 to November 2006, my family was distracted by an overseas deployment and a self-imposed moratorium on news. We were perhaps one of the few families in the US who had never heard of "Los Tres Pescadores" (The Three Fishermen) until we read this book. I had never heard of these men who had been lost at sea. I had never heard of people surviving for 9 months on raw sea animals and rainwater, much less drifting 5000 miles across the Pacific. The men were tempted by despair, and two of the original five men succumbed to despair and died. However, the remaining three were sustained by faith in God and His Providence for them during their ordeal. Their story is inspirational, and I am glad that they survived to tell it and that Joe Kissack wrote about it. In his telling of the fishermen's story, Kissack draws parallels with these men's story and his own spiritual journey as he faced a complete paradigm shift in his life. In the end, the three fishermen came home to their familes, and Kissack found his way back to God through a sea of worldly temptations. Kissack's story is inspirational in itself. However, I was disappointed that Kissack took his own rather protected struggle of faith and made close parallels with these men whose very physical being depended directly on God's grace and their faith in Him. He even goes so far as to figuratively put himself in the boat with the fishermen as the titular "Fourth Fisherman." Truthfully, as I read the book, I was expecting God Himself to be occupying this position as the unseen yet present Captain and Navigator...the "Fourth Fisherman." By supplanting this position and inserting himself (albeit figuratively) into these men's ordeal, he sullies what was otherwise a decent book. This book is two inspirational stories in one. If you can look past the artificial importance Kissack gives himself, you will be edified by both spiritual journeys. Note: Please be aware that due to the nature of the fishermen's ordeal, many parts of the book are not for the young and the squeamish. I strongly recommend that it be read by High School students and older.
Sometimes we can feel lost even in familiar surroundings. Joe Kissack's "The Fourth FIsherman" shares the author's own story of Hollywood success followed by addiction and despair, and interweaves it with the story of three stranded Mexican fisherman. The common thread in both narrations is the role that faith plays in survival, whether physical or emotional. Joe Kissack provides frank details of his rise to success and his downfall. His account of the fishermen and their ordeal is suspenseful and heartbreaking, and kept me turning the pages. I especially liked the attention he gave to the unique story of each fisherman. Although the fishermen and Kissack have different backgrounds and lives, the stories have poignant parallels. Sometimes it takes a leap of faith to find one's way back home. I highly recommend "The Fourth Fisherman", which encouraged me to let God work in my life. As Kissack writes in the book, "I had to let go of the idea that I had to understand it all." I received my copy of "The Fourth FIsherman" free of charge from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group through Blogging for Books, in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review; all opinions in this review are my own.
Five fishermen set out in a small boat for a few days' fishing trip. They run out of fuel and are carried out across the ocean. Two of the fishermen don't make it, but three survive the nine months and are heralded as a miracle when they are rescued thousands of miles from home. Joe Kissak has it all--or so he thinks. In the race to get ahead, he actually starts a downward spiral to nearly losing everything through drugs and alcohol before "finding God". I have to admit, I was very disappointed in this book. I was expecting a book on the fishermen's story--with God as the "fourth fisherman", and maybe a couple of chapters or so relating how the story affected the author. It was so very not what I was expecting! Out of forty chapters (not counting the epilogue), only SIX were about the fishermen's story. They were mentioned some later in the book, but very little. The book was mainly focused on the author and his story and the two really didn't seem to relate. Everything was about Joe Kissack and, frankly, he struck me as a very self-centered man. Nearly half the book is about his struggle to connect with the men and get them to sign the papers giving him the rights to their story so he could make a movie out of it--which still has yet to me done. This story was supposedly about faith, but the "faith" talked about was very vague. Joe's "salvation" experience had nothing to do with the salvation of the Bible: no repentance, no trusting in Christ and his death, burial and resurrection--just a feeling of peace. "Christianity" is reduced to anyone who talks about God, and nothing of his family's view of God or religion is even mentioned that I noticed. I really, really wanted to love this book. Unfortunately, it left me frustrated and annoyed wanting the fullness of the fishermen's story and not so much of Joe. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This book changed my life. Forever grateful. Thank you.
Raw fish, Rainwater, and Faith in God: This is a story about Joe Kissack, living the American dream as a big Hollywood executive, and 5 Mexican fishermen just trying to make a dollar, living a simple, quiet life. This is about two completely different worlds coming together in a most unusual, life-changing, spiritual way. Joes is living a very comfortable life in Hollywood, in charge of striking very lucrative television deals, such as signing on Seinfeld, Mad About You, and Walker, Texas Ranger, to name a few. He has the beautiful home, beautiful wife, and two amazing kids. Life is good for Joe...until all his success, vacations, and beautiful things just aren't satisfying him anymore. Joe starts his downward spiral that will send him on a life-changing adventure. Across the border in a tiny town in Mexico, five fisherman set out on the ocean for a day of fishing. Their families lives depend on them catching enough fish to sell to be able to eat the rest of the week. They set sail with enough food for 4 days, a few clothing items, blankets, a knife, and their bible. Little do they know these are the only items they will have for the next nine months. Joe Kissack details the lives of these five fishermen, and himself, worlds apart, fighting for their lives. They exude courage, strength, and most of all; their faith in God are what keeps the fishermen going. Thru all of Joe's addictions, searching, and failure, he finally has enough and crawls into bed, praying for death. Something happened that night to Joe and thru God's amazing grace, Joe wakes up a new man. God stretched out his big, loving, holy Hand, and caught Joe. Joe learns to listen to God, trust Him, and when God tells him to do something--don't question it and don't fight it...because God can and will show you how serious He is-- with butterflies. Together with God, these fishermen of faith, unbeknownst to them, change Joe's life and save his marriage. And the fisherman--God taught them a little something too! This is an amazing book of God rescuing broken men, intertwining their lives, learning from each other, and bringing them back to the men He created them to be. Check out the video here: <a href="http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/blog/2011/08/22/video-the-fourth-fisherman/"></a> You can also read Chapter 1 by clicking on this link: <a href="http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/blog/2011/11/15/sneak-peek-the-fourth-fisherman-by-joe-kissack/"></a> WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing group has provided me with this book complimentary for review purposes.
The title of this book--The Fourth Fisherman--intrigued me, especially since the cover blurb talked about three Mexican fishermen. But the reason for the title becomes clearer as the book progresses. Joe Kissack was a man who had it all--money, cars, power, the chance to walk on the red carpet...and yet, he didn't. He was missing something very important, something that left a deep hole in his soul, but that he didn't recognize, and that almost destroyed him. Jesús, Salvador, and Lucio had almost nothing, especially compared to Joe Kissack...and yet, as they survived an incredible ordeal, they discovered that they had one thing that was most important. These three men, Mexican fisherman, found themselves in an almost unbelievable situation--survivors of a 5-man fishing crew who found themselves adrift in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with no food or water. Their families believed them to be dead--until they were rescued by Taiwanese fishing boat after nine months at sea. The two stories become intertwined in surprising and unexpected ways as both Kissack and the fishermen find healing and wholeness. It's an easy read, a fascinating story, and well worth reading! This book was provided free of charge from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for reviewing it.
This book shows how God can interweave the lives of different people for his purpose. It also shows how He can guide an individual along a path and at times give very pointed directions or confirmations of His will. I thoroughly enjoyed both how the story unfolded as well as appreciated concepts it taught me. The book also has reminded me I have not been as attentive daily to His guidance as I should be--but thanks to this book that will change! Kurt Volz
In The Fourth Fisherman, Joe Kissack tells two very different stories, that just happen to overlap. The first story is his own, a television executive who is living the American dream...yet is unsatisfied and turning to alcohol and a plethora of antidepressants to cope. The second story is that of five Mexican fisherman who went out on what was meant to be a three day fishing trip, but ended up lasting over nine months after they ran out of fuel and were left to drift around in the Atlantic. Depleting their food and water supply within a week, these men turn to the faith of one fisherman and his most prized possession-his Bible- to cope. Still, only three will survive. Both parties need rescue: One spiritual, the latter physical. And both end up turning to the same place to find it...Faith in God. We see how God works in the lives of Joe Kissack and these Mexican fisherman. Through their different circumstances, He brings them together into a special friendship, but also, into a deeper faith in Himself. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The story alternates between chapters, one about Joe Kissack, the next about the fisherman. This keeps the it exciting...and keeps you turning the pages! Joe gives firsthand account of his story, as well as that of the fishermen. (To know how he found out about their experience-which was not covered heavily by US media- in the first place, you'll have to read!) This book will leave you inspired by their faith, as well as reminded of the awesome power of God, in even the darkest circumstances. I do have two little issues, I guess. First, in describing his conversion, Joe makes no mention of Christ, the cross, the gospel, or repentance. All he says that God came into his life one night. The End... Now, I'm not doubting that he was saved, based on what he writes throughout the book. He describes definite changes in his life and a new desire for God's word, which are true fruits of salvation. And I understand that everyone's salvation experience is different. I just personally think he could have elaborated a little more on what exactly coming into a relationship with God means. Second, though it is explained in the very end (and not what you'd expect), I really don't understand where the title (The Fourth Fisherman) comes from... But, I'll let you read the book and see about this one, though.
The book I chose to review from WaterBrook Press was "The Fourth Fisherman". It is the story of five fishermen who set out on a normal fishing trip from San Blas in Mexico and end up adrift at sea for over nine months. Two of them never made it home again, losing their lives at sea. The thing I didn't really care for about the book is that it isn't just about the fishermen, it is also about the author and his own personal struggles with his job, over the counter drugs, and his marriage (which if I would have looked more closely at the title I would have seen the small print below stating "How Three Mexican Fishermen Who Came Back from the Dead Changed My Life and Saved My Marriage). I immediately thought that this would not be the book for me. I loved the parts about the fishermen but the author alternates the chapters at the beginning of the book. They'll be one chapter about him and then a chapter about the fisherman. I would much rather read the whole thing about the fishermen first and then about him or vice versa. Maybe it would have been better if the chapters were more similar to each other than they were. It did make sense though as it was a story of survival of the fishermen and survival of the man's marriage. It was also similar in that they had used their faith in God to help them survive. The last few chapters were very hard for me to read because they mainly focused on the author and how he was going about trying to get the fishermen to agree to a deal for the movie rights and finding a company to help make it a reality. Then it goes back to talking about his marriage again. I felt like I was being dragged in so many different directions. All in all an OK read but I was more interested in the fishermen parts. You can purchase your own copy by going here. Disclaimer: I received this book free in exchange for my review from WaterBrook Multnomah Press but all opinions are my own.
The Fourth Fisherman- How Three Mexican Fishermen Who Came Back from the Dead Changed My Life and Saved my Marriage. This is a very inspirational book and reminds you about how important having faith and hope is. You always can have faith and hope. This book is about a group of five fishermen. A group of men who before October 28, 2005 did not even know each other but soon a storm would bond three of them like never before. This book takes you aboard with the men lost at sea with storms and no gas to get back to shore. It takes you through their 90 days some of these days of seeing boats and screaming for help only to not be heard and left with nothing but their faith in God and the one Bible that was brought aboard by Salvador. This book does not stop there it also introduces us to the author Joe Kissack and his wife Carmen. What I found interesting is that Joe had what everyone on the outside looking in would consider a great life full of big things most people strive for and yet he was missing something. This book follows him through his journey trying to hear what God wants for him only to causing harm to his marriage. It seems what God wanted from him was right in front of his nose. It was right in his home it was his marriage with Carmen. God wanted him to fix it. The fishermen lasted a total of 90 days. The book an easy read and is short with the chapters being about Joe Kissack and then the Fishermen. What I got from this book is that even in what we consider bad things God uses them for our good. This book made me think about hope and just how important it is and faith how it makes things bearable in the unbearable times. I give this book my 4 star rating. I did get this complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my honest opinion of this book. The review expresses just that my opinion.
Four men, two spiritual journeys Subtitled How Three Mexican Fisherman Who Came Back from the Dead, Changed My Life and Saved My Marriage, the book The Fourth Fisherman intrigued me from the moment I first saw the book. How could three Mexican fisherman and one former television executive be connected? As you read alternating chapters of two seemingly different tales, you will be surprised how they become connected and to whom Joe Kissack gives the credit for the survival of all. In October 2005 Salvador, Jesus, and Lucio all sign on as day laborers (fisherman) aboard a 27 foot fiberglass panga. The captain and the other passager appear to be inexperienced, but the three Mexican fishermen are not. Equipped with supplies for three or four days, all is well within the group until a storm sets in and the "captain" refuses to seek shelter on an island. The expensive fishing net is lost and the group spends the next days circling, trying to find it until all their gasoline is used up. Winds and waves toss the vessel further into the Pacific Ocean and beyond hopes of easy rescue. Nine months later, Salvador, Jesus, and Lucio are rescued off the Marshall Islands, As news spreads across the country of their survival, the three men tell a powerful story of sustaining prayer, Bible reading, and a diet of sea turtles, turtle blood, and raw fish. Although reporters from around the world and their own Mexico would like to tell their story, most are intent on uncovering a secret, darker version of the events, even if they have to fabricate it. The alternating chapters are Joe Kissack's own story, a seemingly perfect American success story - a beautiful wife and two kids, luxary cars, two houses, and a career in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Every Kissack touched turned to gold, or so it seemed. Beneath the good looks and beyond the smooth voice was a man who was disappearing within his own false creation. Anti-anxiety and depression pills fueled his diet, washed down by every increasing amounts of alcohol until one day he could no longer function. Amidst the fast downward spiral his career and personal life took, Kissack made the commitment to enter a treatment program. Family and friends desperately prayed that God would change him. The night before entering he awoke, not with the fear-filled night sweats that dominated previous nights, but with a great sense of peace and presence. He finally knew and recognized the presence of God - his burden was his own creation and he could give it up. Kissack's story from that moment on is a hopeful one, although it is not a smooth tale. Read the book to see how he connects the events and "coincidences" that bring him to pursue the truth about the three fishermen. You read a tale of three fishermen, lost to the world, but securely found and watched over by the Lord told by a man who now considers himself a fourth fisherman because he was to all the world found and secure, but was actually the most lost. I zoomed through the first pages of this book, captivated by both stories and also wondering how they would connect. I cheered the successful rescue of all four men , but I just felt the last 50 pages lacked continued connection to the fishermen. Although we are brought up to date on the lives of Jesus, Lucio, and Salvador, I would have liked personal interviews with them. I was furnished a copy of this book by the publisher for review purposes.
I thought this story was going to be about the fishermen, instead it was about joe. I believe the fishermen's story more than I believe Joe's. He makes it sound that he is the "chosen one" by Jesus. That he prays and Jesus listens, guides him, nudges him. I think the only miracle that Jesus gave to Joe was his wife Carmen. What a wonderful, giving, forgiving, kind person she is. Beautiful inside and out. The marriage was all about Joe, she just became secondary to everything. I really would have liked to have learned more about those.brave men and their terrible ordeal and one man's unwavering faith. Jesus was TRULY answering HIS prayers. I do not.recommend this book. The "fourth" fisherman did not fit.into this story.
How Three Mexican Fishermen Who Came Back from the Dead Changed My Life and Saved My Marriage byJoe Kissack- is basically two stories in one book. The author combines the tales of two entirely differnt, non related stories. The only common bond has to do with the interaction of the characters after their own stories are basically complete. On the one hand, the account of the five Mexican fishermen, in which three of five men survived- after being considered long gone- after spending nine months in a small open boat without any food or supplies, aimlessly drifting across the Pacific Ocean was told with vivid realism. Graphic details describe their nine month ordeal in the open ocean: starvation, fear and death. Realistic and vivid accounts of eating raw shark organs, drinking sea turtle blood and rainwater and death capture the reader's attention. Their story was truly inspiring- the fact that they held on to faith and equated the bible- God's word, with essential food on which they survived. Nevertheless I felt that this exciting portion of the story was too brief. In of itself, this could be an entire book. The book alternated with a chapter from the lives of the simple, poor yet courageous fisherman, with that of the author, Joe Kissack- a successful Hollywood executive, in a world of American excess and materialism- complete with a mansion, expensive cars, expesnive entertainment, fame and more. I found that that while the real account of how the author changes his life and was reborn- is an inspiring example of the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives, it was not entirely interesting to read about. Nevertheless as written in the book, those chapters dedicated to his life, did not hold my attention. The author went over laborous detail about his childhood, his relationship with his father and his relationship with his wife. These personal details did not hold my attention. The account of his interpersonal relationships read more like a personal journal- or memoir. I found myself looking forward to the account of the fishermen instead. Despite the prolonged discussion of his personal life and his road to faith, the author made some very good, notable points. Kissack recognised the irony that when faced with few choices, the fishermen turned to God and were fulfilled. For example, the fisherman appreaciated God and relied on faith rather than materialism. They were satisfied with few choices. In fact, a meal of simple white rice was adequate for their needs. In contrast, tn the prosperous cultures where wealth and entertainment is common and choices are available, so fewer people turn to God. Wealthy people become dependant upon a standard of living and an enourmous number of options and choices. Yet, in a way, I felt this was a bit self serving, as perhaps giving an author an excuse to block God from his life by claiming it is harder to rely on God when your life is comfortable and easy, and and full of materialism and wealth. Perhaps the author is trying to compare his spiritually devoid life with the extreme ordeal suffered by the fisherman. Perhaps the reader might even go so far as to interpret the author's intention as to imply that it was easier for the fisherman to hold on to faith because they faced death daily and had no other choice- and that it was harder for a wealthy executive to break free from his life of excess in exchange for faith. As a blogger for Water Brook publishers I received this book for the purpose of writing this review.
It was an okay book. I guess I expected it to be more uplifting than it was. It would be a good book to get from the library.
What an amazing story, God is Good..........
Reviewed by Karen P. for Readers Favorite In "The Fourth Fisherman", Joe Kissack presents us with two stories in one. He initially tells of five fishermen who become lost and disoriented off the coast of Mexico. As it turns out, they survive, drifting on the seas while trying to remain alive by catching sea turtles and using the turtle to hydrate and nourish themselves. The other story is on the author's own fall from grace, from a highly successful and multitalented man to that of an uncaring individual who was addicted to drugs and alcohol. The story of the fishermen was a story in and of itself and this reader would have preferred an elongated version of that story. The author's personal story comes off as somewhat self-centered as he eventually equates his story to that of the fishermen. Even when he has professed to have found God and realized how he has literally abandoned his family for years, he runs off to Mexico to secure an exclusive story at a time when his family is flailing and in need of his support. Time and time again, he tells about how he is grateful for the commitment and support of his wife while he ignores all but his own self-focused "Quest" superficially. There is no doubt that the author writes well and his story is a fascinating study in human nature and human endurance. While the fishermen used the simple and solid faith they had already developed in times of need, the author appears to have searched for another crutch after his withdrawal from drugs. The fisherman story is brilliant and deserves to be heard in and of itself.
I got an advanced copy of the book that is due to come out in March o 2012. This is an inspirational story of how three Mexican fishermen survived nine months at sea and ended up over 5000 miles from home. How they were sustained on rainwater, raw fish and the Bible. It is also a story of how Joe Kissack, a wealthy Hollywood executive, found God after depression and addictions bring his life crashing down around him and puts his career on hold. But it doesn't just stop with Joe finding God. He embarks on a journey to discover what God wants him to do with his life and the story of the Mexican fishermen. Even though his wife has always prayed for a godly man, his pursuit of this story nearly bankrupts them and ruins their marriage. But as Joe prays more for God's direction he realizes that God wants him to be just as responsible for his marriage and family. This story is about faith and hope. It is about a journey that we all take in one way or another. How we are just as lost, adrift in life, as those fishermen were. We are all in peril and we can all find our lifeline in God and His word, just as Joe and the fishermen did. I really enjoyed this story told by Joe Kissack. It is his true story as well as the true story of the fishermen. It made me realize that although we may see those in Hollywood and think: "Look at them, they have it all", he was actually worse off than the poor fishermen from Mexico. We think that we need to have "just a little bit more". The more we pursue that "something more", the more lost we become. We start to fear losing what we do have and sometimes we need to so that we can rely on God more. He has promised to take care of all our needs. What more should we ask for? I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
I was very excited to get an advance copy of the The Fourth Fisherman. This book will be available in March. To find out more about Joe Kissack you can go to his website found here. The Fourth Fisherman is two stories woven fantastically into one, leaving the reader ready to turn the page. Author, Joe Kissack is a successful Hollywood Executive who has walked the red carpet, been a man of great wealth, success and created a reputable name for himself. However, the condition of his heart would reflect an insecure man who appears like he has it all together on the outside, but on the inside is dying, desperately searching for hope. This books is also the story of 3 Mexican Fisherman who go out to sea in hopes of bringing in fish to end up lost at sea for over nine months drifting across the Pacific Oceans to Australia. These two stories are intertwined with grace, redemption, faith and hope. Overall, I enjoyed this book, it is adventurous, real life and full of mystery. The full ending remains to be written and I am interested to see how it ends. This story made me realize that are struggles are not wasted. They serve for a purpose bigger than us.