Sunday, November 25, 2012

Book Review: 365 Thank Yous (Audio Book)

This past June the radio unit that had been in my car for as long as I've owned it died.  I was upset about this happening.  Though I had wanted to replace the unit for a long time I could never justify the expense of replacing it. There always seemed to be something more important to put the money towards.  Even though the alternative to not replacing my dead the unit was total silence while I was in the car I was still upset about this happening as it was "pricey" to replace it. However, what made me even more miffed was my belief (whether valid or not) that the sole reason it died in the first place had to do with my friend futzing around with it just a few weeks prior.

Recently while making my way to West Lafayette, IN I listened to the audio book, 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life by John Kralik thanks to the usb plug on my new car radio unit which allowed me to plug-in my smartphone and play files from it.

I had found out about this book due to some research I was doing for a freelance Public Relations job on the topic of gratitude just days prior to my trip.  As part of the piece that I was putting together, I was asked to highlight some books on the topic and came across this one on a GoodReads list of top rated books on gratitude.  Since I knew I was making the trip to Indiana and had an Audible credit waiting to be used I picked up a copy... and am I ever glad I did!

After experiencing a string of bad luck, one day John Kralik had a revaluation.  He would write a thank you note every day for a year hoping to gain a better appreciation for the things in his life that were good.  The book follows John's journey from the lowest moments of his life, through process of trying to write a thank you note everyday, to how writing these thank yous changed his life.

I loved this book.  I know what it is like to experience hard times and having difficulty finding something to be grateful for.  Been there, done that.  I appreciated what John had experienced, his candor about the struggles he had faced and related to his emotions.  (Publicly admitting such things can be difficult.)  I also appreciated the fact that he was open to the idea of thinking and viewing his circumstances differently.  Again - been there, done that. 

With all that in mind, I don't think this is just a book for people such as John and I who have faced adversity.  I think it a book that everyone can benefit from.  Personally, this story got me to think more thoughtfully about the thank you messages I send, and how I communicate them.  It helped me recall how much I love receiving thank you notes in the mail and would like to do the same for others.  Don't get me wrong, sending a thank you message in general is nice; however, there is something about receiving a note in the mail that makes the gesture that much more special . . especial in a world where a majority of our communication is done digitally.

This audio book was narrated by John Kralik.  At first when I listened to the sample of the book I was a bit concerned that I would turn it off as I couldn't decide if the narration would hold my interest, which is something I've had a problem with in the past.   However, this particular book is one that I would actually encourage you to purchase via audio book because I feel that the narration adds an additional layer of awesomeness to an already awesome story.  Actually, I got so drawn into listening to John that the miles between leaving my home and the Indiana state border escaped me.

My friend who contributed to the demise of my old radio unit gave me money towards the purchase of a new unit.  I sent them an e-thank you when I received their check.  However, it wasn't until my recent car trip that I felt the need to thank them for contributing to the demise of my radio, too.  The fact of the matter is that had my radio not died I wouldn't have purchased the nicer one that allows me to connect my smartphone to my radio.  If it hadn't of died, I wouldn't have been able to listen to this audio book during my drive to Indiana (and trust me when I say, it was this book that really made it an enjoyable trip).  With all that in mind, I must remember to send my friend a thank you note - soon.

Also, I'd like to send a thank you to John Kralik for sharing his story with me - and the many others who have read this book.  I am so glad I came across your book.  You are truly an inspiration to all and I am so glad that things in your life have turned around for the better.

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