So, what could I write about genius? I’d been puzzling over that topic for days. I have no special knowledge nor even a particular opinion about the subject. Certainly, I’m no genius!
Then, in a bit of synchronicity that the author would have relished, I turned to a new chapter of The 5AM Club to find “The 10 Tactics of Lifelong Genius.“ “Well,” I thought, “It’s about time I received some kind of pay-back for the endurance I’ve shown with this book!”
I used to be a more steadfast reader. I finished every single book I started. Some were more worthwhile than others, but I appreciated every one. I was younger then. I had better vision. I had more time for reading. No more! If a book doesn’t grab and hold my interest, I will set it aside.
There are exceptions. The Shipping News not only started slowly, but had one of the saddest first chapters I’ve encountered. Sad in the manner of The Grapes of Wrath. Discouraging, like The Beans of Egypt, Maine, where every single character lived a sad, pathetic life. I wasn’t in the mood for another depressing book! At this time in my life, I am almost never looking for that in my reading material. I stuck with it, though, and The Shipping News redeemed itself, and became one of my all-time favorite books.
I didn’t expect that from this book, though. The author, Robin Sharma, has written several well-received books, and the premise sounded interesting. Anticipating some travel that would give me more time for books, I downloaded it onto my reader in January of last year. Yes, last year. A self-help book disguised as a pithy romance, this book did not appeal to me at all.
Now, I don’t mind a self-help book. In fact, I have kind of a weakness for them. I almost always feel like I could use improvement, and that more insight would help. I get a little bristly when other humans offer advice, but I accept it pretty easily from books. I don’t mind information being passed on through the telling of a story, either, when it is done well. Daniel Quinn managed it brilliantly in Ishmael; Richard Bach succeeded, too, with Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Illusions. The Celestine Prophesy, not so much. It, and the several sequels by James Redfield. had a wonderful message, but I found the story-line distracting.
Looking into other books by Robin Sharma, it appears that this author is both prolific and popular, and I may be unfairly judging his work or ability based on my singular experience. From what I’ve read, though, the characters that promote the message in The 5AM Club are poorly drawn caricatures that introduce and promote the information through one stupid question after another. Answers are doled out in a painfully slow manner, between burps, inexplicable bits of yodeling, and severe bouts of coughing. Only one character has a name; the others are known only as the Artist, the Entrepreneur, and the Spellbinder. The fourth, Stone Riley, is most often referred to as the Billionaire. For most of the book, it seemed like I was the only one who knew that his terrible cough was something to worry about.
In fairness, the book does have merit. There is good information, and even some inspiration in it, but it was a dreadfully long time coming. It was only because it was on my reader, and I was without any other reading material, that I ever got back to it. If it had been an actual book that I had set aside, I would have never picked it up again! But, then, I would have missed out on “The 10 Tactics of Lifelong Genius,” and something to write about today. As for the actual tactics…well, maybe you’ll have to read the book!