Arise and Shine: From High School Failure to University Graduate in Six Years Paperback – 23 Aug 2017
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What drew me to this book is firstly that Frank is a friend and a fellow toastmaster in Toastmasters International. Secondly, it talks about Newport being a bit of a dump (which ties in with my view of the place) and, thirdly, Frank and I are both interested in Self Help, though from different perspectives.
In reading this book, I found the most interesting parts are when Frank recounts his life; its difficulties and its successes. Having been born into a mining family in Zambia, his father and family moved to South Wales when the Zambian mine closed down, (there’s some irony there, I’m sure).
Frank struggled at school in Wales ( I hope he doesn’t mind me saying that) and failed exams; which was a low point in his life. Insteadf of wallowing in self-pity and failure, Frank turned his life around and determined to become a ‘success’. One of the first things Frank tells us is that for him success is not an outcome but a process, a process of turning negatives into positives or, indeed, of avoiding negatives altogether in life.
From the book, we learn that Frank was a rugby player, a singer and someone who suffered depression. We also learn that he is observant of life around him and is someone who thinks deeply about life and its meaning.
The book is laced with quotes and aphorisms from well-known self-help gurus, which Frank takes to explain how he overcame obstacles to his progression from fail to success. He also gives examples of how you and I, the readers, could utilise these in our own lives. There are also original examples from Frank demonstrating how we might use skills and insights into improving our own lives. One of the most poignant for me was his account of his time as a rugby player in a team which kept losing … but you’ll have to read the story yourself to find out what strategy was used to turn that around!
I have already said to Frank that the rugby story would have been worthy of a whole chapter to itself, maybe even a whole book on the approach used. In the final chapter, Frank touches upon another concept which could be worth expanding further into a separate work … we have all heard of the phrase ‘victim of circumstance’; Frank comes up with an opposite phrase, ‘victor of circumstance’. That new phrase would be a great starting point for a new work, to contrast making yourself a victor rather than simply being the victim of your circumstances.
I have heard Frank speak a number of times and I know he has a lot of concepts and imagery around self-improvement. One which I haven’t heard him mention before, was to be found in the last chapter, again. Here he talks about watching a river and he tells us that whether one is happy or sad, the river keeps on flowing; which I take to mean that it does not matter how you feel, you have to keep on going if you want to get where you need to be.
So let me in conclusion, urge you to read this book. You’ll find out about Frank and also about yourself!
P.S. You too may be wondering why Frank called the book ‘Arise and Shine’ instead of the usual ‘Rise and Shine’. Well I looked up the difference. ‘Rise’ means to go up or get bigger, ‘Arise’ means to emerge. I think Frank has got it right.