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19 Traits of the Most Admirable, Creative and Joyous People

Author: Donald Van de Mark

Wow, it seems like a long time since I’ve posted a book review.  I must say, I’ve not been reading as much lately as I’ve spent a lot more time working freelance 3D animation with my side business, Ethereal 3D.  Anyway, that aside, I’m please to bring this review of a very good book, The Good Among the Great.  This is a book based on a couple decades of interviews and knowledge of prominent people by the author, a journalist and anchor reporter for CNN.

This book captures and clarifies 19 specific traits that are common among exceptional people.  Not that every exceptional person has them all, but of all the traits of the great, these are the ones that show up most frequently and are most common.  Van de Mark starts with a very concise introduction that you can use the book to develop some of these traits yourself and to improve yourself.  Exceptional people are not born that way, they are a result of many life choices and some circumstantial help, so the choices you make can drive you to be exceptional and the book demonstrates it and describes how that occurred for many people, who are used as examples and as stories through the 19 chapters, one per trait.

The traits are a powerful list on their own, let along exploring each one as is done.  They are as follows:

  • autonomous
  • loving
  • ethical
  • unaffected
  • private
  • detached
  • experimental
  • realistic
  • laid back
  • performance and process-oriented
  • egalitarian
  • jolly
  • empathic
  • dutiful
  • appreciative
  • creative
  • exuberant
  • joyous
  • transcendent

The chapters are each exploring either personal stories and childhood memories as reference to people with the traits and they are told well, from a perspective that has you looking up to the subjects of each story.  There is one tough example that the response of a woman who had been raped certainly exhibits the trait in discussion, yet the whole story and her response seems very inappropriate for anyone to look up to that characteristics.  All of the other stories however, are good examples that are much easier to look up to the characteristics demonstrated.  The style the author writes with is engaging when the stories speak for themselves and the rest of the book is easy to read and learn from.  Each chapter has take-aways written at the end of it and several quotes to help frame the trait in a memorable way.

So, its certainly a book to be learned from and it is easy to pick up and take on a chapter at a time to let it sink in.  I wouldn’t rate it with 5 stars because the way it is written and even some of the stories and content are a bit dry and there is little flow from chapter to chapter aside from some scattered references to specific people and traits that lead to other related traits.  It didn’t leave me with a sense of always wanting to read a little more like any 5 star book does for me, so all in all, it is a very good book and one you can learn a lot from, if you wanting to really use it for that. If you are new to personal development books, I wouldn’t recommend this to you, but if you have read other self-help books and want something you can use to learn exceptional traits from, then this is a good book to challenge you and have you thinking about how to develop these exceptional traits for yourself.

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