Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn

This is a short book - only 13 brief chapters plus an appendix. Fred was for years the author's mail carrier. However, his approach to a relatively mundane job (as well as to his life in general) has been extraordinary. The big idea here is that no matter what we do in life, we can strive to be extraordinary by caring about what we do and the people we come into contact with, that even if it is never recognized, it is it's own reward.

I loved the first 4 chapters and was planning to buy the book for myself and thought it would be a great gift. Then I hit a stretch of 9 chapters that were part motivational, part instruction. While these chapters were not bad, I found them pale in comparison to the first chapters. It is stuff that I have seen before and presented at least as well, if not better.

Happily, a couple of later chapters were Fred-centric and therefore interesting.

My verdict? This is half of an outstanding book melded with half an ordinary book. If you are in a bookstore, check out the book to see if you really want it in hardcover or wait till the paperback version. Better yet, do what I did and borrow it from your local library.

I was profoundly motivated to find meaning in my work by better serving others. However the book would have had the same impact if it were only 6 chapters.