Life Lessons from Proverbs by Jack Nordgren – A Book Review

Life Lessons from Proverbs, By Jack Nordgren

Create Space Independent Publishing Platform, 978-1500252434, $ 9.95, 2014, 108 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Thoughtful Wise Words to Live By

In his book “Life Lessons from Proverbs” Jack Nordgren draws practical applications for daily life from selected verses found in the book of Proverbs; through personal stories from Jack’s own life experiences.

A unique feature of Jack’s writing is his “down to earth” way of communicating truths, in practical terms that speak to the heart. He is open and honest in his writing.  He writes with an amazing insight into human nature and the resultant consequences of sin and selfish desires; the pain divorce, the chains of addictions, tragedy, hurt and suffering. He also offers encouragement with stories of the blessings of reconciliations and changed lives.

Each chapter is filled with hands-on guidelines for practical living and with suggestions for effective ministry, including: lessons on listening, lessons from the lottery, and the secret of facing the fear of sudden disaster.

Jack’s earlier books tell of his spiritual journey, from surfing in Lake Michigan to a call to Chaplaincy and a ministry to surfers on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. “Wave Chasers’ Volume I and II tell of searching for surf on Lake Michigan and on the Great Lakes.

Jack writes for surfers, men and women. Life Lessons from Proverbs is a book and  for all readers facing the struggles and challenged of life today.

A complimentary copy of this book was received for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.




The Ultimate Legacy by Jim Stovall – A Book Review

The Ultimate Legacy, By Jim Stovall

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake,

A Legacy of Significance – Embracing the Future

‘The Ultimate Legacy” is the final chapter in the “Ultimate Gift” and the “Ultimate Life” series. Miss Sally Anderson, wealthy owner and of the exclusive Anderson House is recognized as hostess to prominent world leaders and celebrated personalities. The Anderson House has a reputation as a house of healing, hope, and destiny. Meetings around the Anderson House dining had more influence and impact on “humanitarian work around the world than any board room in the world.”

Miss Sally Mae presents the conditions of her will to her trusted attorney, Theodore J. Hamilton, naming her grandson Joey Anderson, as heir to The Anderson House. It is her aspiration that through Joey, the only remaining link to the Anderson House Legacy, will create an indelible impact for generations to come

Jim Stovall is a gifted and natural story teller. The elements of good story telling are evident in his narrative, his character development, dialog, and with an under lying message or “take away.” His characters are multi-dimensional, are believable. They show personal values and unique personalities. They continue to develop depths in their insights and concern for other; as demonstrated by Joey’s transformation and vision for the Anderson money to continue as a source of healing, education and inspiration for now and future generations.

“The Ultimate Legacy” is entertaining, inspiring, and motivating. The novelization of the film gives the reader a photographic visualizing of each scene

Sound Wisdom, P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 978-0768410426, $ 9.25, 2016, 176 Pages

A complimentary of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.



Finding Your Voice – Sort through the Clutter and Descover Clarity, Confidence, and Direction by Joel Boggers – A Book Review

Finding Your Voice – Sort through the Clutter and Discover Clarity, Confidence, and Direction

By: Joel Boggess

Sound Wisdom, P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257,  978-1937879303, $ 14.99, 2013, 160 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake,

Practical Tools and a Passionate Challenge for You to Become True to the Person You Were Meant to Be

In his book “Finding Your Voice “ Joel Boggess, motivational speaker and career coach, describes the steps we  process for finding our unique voice. He helps the reader “Sort through the clutter.”

Joel weaves themes for developing the enduring qualities of focus, intention, self-discipline, clarity, and confidence as requisites to finding your voice. Throughout the book he uses real-life illustrations from coaching clients, mentors and other life coaches, while integrating personal life experiences.

Joel shares his own story of finding hope in the midst of childhood and adolescent tragedy, misfortune, and heartache.  He tells of his struggle with balance after a life threatening accident which led to his immersion into the discipline of the martial arts. He tells how the practice of courtesy, integrity, perseverance, and a determined spirit shaped his character

Joel’s writes with a passion. His insights inspire authenticity and empower the reader to take transforming action. He describes how through renewed confidence you can discover the value of love, patience, and gratitude, these  coupled with gentleness, kindness, and temperance will direct your full attention to your true self which result in establishing genuine friendships and making an impact in the lives of others.

“Finding Your Voice” is written for anyone who feels out of control, is struggling with self-acceptance, feels stuck in a dead-end career, find themselves in transition, or have come against a roadblock negotiating life changes.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Jumpstart Your Customer Service -10 Jolts to BoostYour Customer Service -by Shawn Doyle and Laurent Anderson – A Book Review

Jumpstart Your Customer Service – 10 Jolts to Boost Your Customer Service

By: Shawn Doyle and Lauren Anderson

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake,

Key’s to Developing the Right Mindset, Motivation, Commitment, and a Unique Skillset to Serving your Customers and Clients

Shawn Doyle and Lauren Anderson draw from their careers as learning and development professionals to provide the reader with a roadmap for establishing a new mindset on customer service in their book “Jumpstart Your Customer Service – 10 Jolts to Boost Your Customer Service.” Both authors understand the importance of team building, communication, and creativity in staff leadership and professional achievement.

Each of the twelve chapters includes: a hands on illustrative story, highly informative illustrations, with tangible proposals and recommendations. Interactive questions add to the readers’ understanding and provide application for the foundations and principles, plans, ideas, and attitudes presented.

These key “how to strategies,” insights, and methodologies become concrete tools, leading to proposed action steps. The material is concise, informative, useful, well organized, and formatted for ease in reading. Well written quality content with relevant viewpoints, opinions, and guidelines.

“Jumpstart Your Customer Service – 10 Jolts to Boost Your Customer Service” is a practical resource and will benefit business leaders, small business entrepeneurs, corporate customer service managers, as well as individual employees at every level who have a direct or indirect contact with customers.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Sound Wisdom, P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 978-1397879419, $ 14.99, 2014, 140 pages





Happywork – A Business Parable about the Journey to Teamwork, Profit, and Purpose by Chris Reimer – A Book Review

Happywork – A Business Parable about the Journey to Teamwork, Profit, and Purpose

By: Chris Reimer

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Working Plan for Implementing the Human Needs Factor into Reality throughout the Finance and Operational Challenges in Business

Chris Reimer draws from his own experiences as a marketing and communications strategist as the framework of “Happywork – A Business Parable about the Journey to Teamwork, Profit, and Purpose.”

Dick Vunorri, president of Vunorri, Inc., an electronics component manufacturer, is on 30 day notice with his bank to come up with a feasible plan to turn his financial position around within 30 days or the bank will have to start foreclosure proceedings. Dick put in a call to Sam Maslow, a freelance consultant specializing in “turning companies around,” for help. The wheels were put in motion. Sam had 30 days to produce a viable plan.

Sam began his work by interviewing key department officers. Two of these ended in disaster. An older man from the mail room, Charlie, kept showing up in the lunch room and began offering information on the company and its employees as well as some opinions on the importance of maxims to live by, human relations, and man’s basic needs.

Interviews at every level left Sam frustrated, no one would open up. Staff members were intimidated by upper management, . They felt harassed and threatened. Vunorri, Inc. was a mess. Sam was getting nowhere. By the end of the third week Charlies’ talks begin to make sense.

“Happywork – A Business Parable about the Journey to Teamwork, Profit, and Purpose” has a cast of believable characters and dramatic stimulating dialog.

is a strong fictional platform with an important strategic message. Reimer has written a fast moving compelling story with a dramatic surprise ending.

The book is highly endorsed by industry leaders, recognized business strategists, and media mentors. Highly recommended as must reading for department heads and managers at all levels.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Sound Wisdom, P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 978-0780768405316,  $ 15.99, 2015, 190 pages









Shift Your Brilliance – Harness the Power of You, Inc. by Simon T. Bailey – A Book Review


Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Finding Significance – Why Conform? Be Audacious

Award winning author and Leadership Catalyst, Simon T. Bailey challenges his readers to take seven action steps that will help them “shift into drive” and accelerate them on the road to achieving personal success. These seven practical principles are presented in a format which can be restated to become positive affirmations, action steps, or guidelines for writing a personal mission statement.

Bailey helps the reader see and understand things in a new fresh way enabling them to focus energy more effectively through futuristic thinking. I appreciated his openness and honest self-appraisal in the incidents, examples, and illustrations taken from his own life lessons which re-enforce his unique insights and power principles.

“Shift Your Brilliance” came to my attention at a time when I had reached a plateau, an impasse between being liberated from the limitations of my past and a readiness to make a deeper commitment to step out of my comfort zone.  I shifted from average to a more meaningful new significance.  Simon Bailey provided the impetus and motivation I needed to take a risk, free myself to live my future now by following my heart to “own the moment.”

Bailey’s writing is innovative with a creative spark that infuses an infectious brilliance in the reader. Highly motivational; a must read for leaders in business, government, education, and in the church community.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Shift Your Brilliance – Harness the Power of You, Inc. – By: Simon T. Bailey

Sound Wisdom, P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257

978-0768404579, $ 14.99, 2014, 160 pages


What the Prayers of Jesus Tell Us About the Heart of God, by Shane Stanford – A Book Review

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Five Prayer Focuses from the Prayers of Jesus

Shane Stanford delivers a threefold message in his book “What the Prayers of Jesus Tell Us about the Heart of God.”  He guides the reader into a deeper understanding of the impact the prayers of Jesus have on our lives today.

First, he helps the reader view the daily routines in the life of Jesus as they relate to our life journey as it unfolds. He then goes on to recognize how through the five focuses of Jesus’ prayers become “critical links to how to…come to know Jesus better…and how to come to know one another better.” Thirdly, provides guidelines for getting to know Jesus better, as a person and as a friend.

Stanford is pastor, author, and gifted communicator. His stories and illustrations are relevant and inspirational, with life changing implications for taking positive action.

“What the Prayers of Jesus Tell Us about the Heart of God” raises the bar on challenging the reader of the bigger plan God has for our lives.

Abingdon, 2222 Rosa L. Parks Blvd, Nashville, TN 37228, 978-142674256, $ 15.99, 2015,  208pages







The Other Side of Heaven – An After Death Experience by Russ A. and Virginia G. Vassallo – A Book Review

The Other Side of Heaven – An After Death Experience

By: Russel A. and Virginia G. Vassallo

Krazy Duck Productions, Liberty, 2227 Woods Creek Rd, Kentucky 42539

978-0996162210, $ 26.00, 2015, 372 Pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Life and Death Heartwarming Story of Love Threatened by Misunderstanding, Insecurity, and Resentment

In their book “The Other Side of Heaven – An After Death Experience” Russ and Virginia Vassallo provide inspiration and encouragement to readers experiencing suffering and pain that comes with the uncertainty and devastation of losing a loved one and the imminence of death.

Russ’ account is reflective and autobiographical; not necessarily chronological, sometimes humorous, often profound, with a lot of insight, and stimulating unanswered questions. Virginia’s story ties together some loose ends in an orderly sequence of events and adds a positive perspective on some issues needing resolution or closure while finding purpose to the uncertainties of the relational misunderstanding introduced in Russ’s narrative.

As the hours turn to days and the days to weeks, in the hospital, Russ’ thoughts turn inward.  On more than one occasion his heart stopped, while clinically dead Russ envisions a glimpse of heaven. He tells of conversations with his guardian angel Malcius and with Jesus. He describes heaven as a place of mist, just out of sight, where all the loved ones of God reside, a place of peace and harmony.

In a brutally honest openness  Russ relates the indelible imprint of parental neglect and the needless negative input and verbal abuse led to disappointment, insecurity, and a low self-esteem that led to misunderstanding, resentment, and mistrust in his expectations of Virginia’s love. He relates the impact of his culture and relives the anguish resulting from resentment and thoughts of vengeance.

Stories of growing up in Newark, of relatives linked to the mafia, of his days as a successful lawyer and bring back wonderful memories of the past which are linked together with recurring themes of a fierce determination for justice, his inability to see his own value, questions as to why he was spared from death and entering heaven, and of finding purpose and solace in the rituals of the church.

“The Other Side of Heaven – An After Death Experience” is a beautiful story of finding love, redemption, and peace; an inspirational journey, filled with encouragement for the reader “homesick” for healing memories of the past.

A complimentary copy of the book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.