The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews is a New York Times bestseller which describes the seven decisions that determine personal success. The parable is about a man, David Ponder, who despairs after losing his job, status and money. He can’t pay for his daughter’s tonsillectomy and drives recklessly into the night wondering “Why me?” when his car careens off the road. Thus, he begins to travel through space and time to learn the seven lessons to personal success famous people throughout history.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I thought the seven decisions outlined are key ingredients to anyone’s success whether it’s your personal life or professional life you wish to improve. While there are some mentions of God, faith and spirituality, they are not overbearing or misplaced. These lessons are familiar sentiments that we have all heard before (i.e. forgiveness, persistence, etc.), but they are presented in a way to remind people to stop feeling sorry for themselves and take control of their life. My favorite decision is “The Buck Stops Here. I will accept responsibility for my past. I understand that the beginning of wisdom is to accept the responsibility for my past…Never again will I blame my parents, my spouse, my boss, or other employees for my present situation.”
The book is easy to read and can be completed in one or two sittings. It would be tempting to skip through and only read the seven decisions, but then you would miss reading how David learns the messages, the circumstances of each lesson and how they apply to real life.
I do have two small complaints. First, of the seven famous people David meets, only one is female, Anne Frank. There are plenty of famous women throughout history who have shown courage, thoughtfulness and leadership, so it’s disappointing that the author selects only one of the seven principles to be provided by a woman. Surely he could have included another famous woman (or two) to provide the message as well as some of the men he chose. The seven decisions that determine personal success are applicable to everyone, male or female, and it’s important to show everyone can learn inspiring leadership traits from women just as easily as another man.“I will freely give my vision for the future to others, and when they see the belief in my eyes, they will follow me.”
My second quibble with the book is that at the end of the story we see how rich and famous the character becomes. After traveling in the past to learn and receive the lessons, he then travels into the future to see how successful he becomes. The life lessons in the book are keys to developing a successful life and reaching your dreams. The goal of getting rich shouldn’t be the driving force. By following these seven decisions for success, your life will improve, but discovering the character becomes rich and famous is unnecessary and can be misleading.
For people trying to turn their life around, get that promotion they want, or generally improve their happiness, The Traveler’s Gift provides several excellent messages. Even if you consider yourself a success and already knowledgeable of the successful traits in the book, it still serves as an important reminder of what to focus your energy on. Unfortunately, those people who are most in need of hearing the inspiring leadership messages are the ones who are least likely to read, understand, and apply the lessons.“Because of my smile, the people with whom I come in contact on a daily basis will choose to further my causes and follow my leadership.”