Top of the Hill – Learning To Think and Grow Rich at Napoleon High School By Jim Stovall – A Book Review

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake,

Introducing Napoleon Hill’s Personal Analysis System to a New Generation of World Changers

“Top of the Hill – Learning to Think and Grow Rich at Napoleon High School” is the second book in Jim Stovall’s Homecoming Historical Series. “Top of the Hill” is an amazing story of what can happen when a mastermind group or dream team discover and put into practice the Napoleon Hill’s 17 success principles.


Philip Madison, a former student and High School English teacher at Napoleon Hill High School, in Wise, Virginia is currently the principal of the school.  Madison is recognized for his community service and is considered the anchor of Napoleon Hill High School (NHHS).


Philip was greatly disturbed by a letter, from Ronald Slade, chairman of the state school board, announcing the closing of the NHHS, at the end of the present school year. The closing was due to a drop in enrollment and the loss in tax revenues from the distressing economic conditions; the result of the closing of the local mine.


When Philip arrived at his school office, greeted Amanda Cornett, a senior, possibly the best all-around student ever enrolled at the high school, was already at work as an office assistant.  Amanda already completed all her required courses and is working as a volunteer in the principal’s office to develop business skills. She is also taking college courses at the local university.


Amanda’s tears betrayed the fact that she had read the letter from Ronald Slade, still in her hand. Ronald Slade. Principal Madison attempted to console Amanda. Amanda took note of a poster on the wall containing a list of Napoleon Hill’s 17 Success Principles. Principal Madison was reminded of Hill’s philosophy that “Opportunity often comes, disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.” Philip went on to show Amanda how setting a goal is the first step toward solving a problem and of the importance of putting together a mastermind group to help solve the problem at hand.


Amanda immediately set about recruiting a “Master Mind Group” or dream team from the class of seniors NHHS to commit themselves to keep their school from being closed.  The group included a unique group of talented high school seniors.

The maintenance engineer of the school, Philip and his wife Helen, who worked as an officer at the local bank, and Robert Campbell, an attorney rounded out the team.


One by one each of the dream team members contributed their talent as they discovered a challenge from Napoleon Hill’s Personal Analysis. The elements of celebration, disappointment, and intrigue add to the suspense of a well-structured plot, the growth of individual characters, and an unexpected surprise ending.


Stovall has created a fast-moving, plot, driven by an unforgettable cast of characters. Stovall uses a combination of fact, fiction, and core beliefs. Each of the chapters of the book builds on the theme of one of the principles included in Hill’s Personal Analysis System.


Stovall writes with an upbeat attitude, often using “tongue in cheek” humor. His writing awakens all five senses with vivid metaphors which describe sights, sounds and smells. Other mental images are formed through his picturesque expressive phrases. These ingenious word pictures create vibrant images which stimulate the reader to move from personal application to positive dynamic action.


“The Top of the Hill” is written to encourage anyone going through a period of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, or overwhelming adversity. High School seniors, college students, or young entrepreneurs, will benefit from this introduction to Napoleon Hill’s writing.

Sound Wisdom, P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 9781937879914, $ 14.95, 2017, 192 pages



The Compass Solution – A Guide to Winning Your Career By Tim Cole – A Book Review


Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Lessons for Developing a Sustainable and Successful Career

“The Compass Solution – Guide to Your Career” is designed as a career survival guide to a winning career; time-tested techniques, proven principles, and personal stories navigate the reader through four basic cardinal points and three keys that can accelerate the climb to success.

The book is well formatted, made up of profound principles, presented in practical terms for understanding, application, and execution.  Each chapter includes an important “straight talk summary” to optimize the course of your career. Cole offers the reader keys to analysis, insight gathering, and definitive action that produce the determination and commitment for developing your plans for the future.

Author, Tim Cole’s successful career in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry includes dozens of restructures and five mergers. Tim is now focusing on sharing the secrets and lessons he learned in the corporate world to help others realize success and fulfillment in their careers.

Brilliant articulate writing, timely up-to-date application of proven principles, add to the value and motivation for the reader. “The Compass Solution – A Guide to Winning Your Career” is written for college students contemplating a career, service personal reentering civilian life, and anyone looking for a career change.

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

The Compass Alliance, LLC, 11820 Dan Maples Drive, Charlotte, North Carolina 28277, 978-0999057100, $17.99, 2017, 264 pages




Success From Scratch – Mental Strategies for Success in A Survival of the Fittest Environment By: Nick Ruiz

Success From Scratch – Mental Strategies for Success in A Survival of the Fittest Environment

By: Nick Ruiz

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake,

How to Sculpt the Right Mindset to Produce Success and Opportunity

Nick Ruiz has packed his book “Success From Scratch” with concepts, and principles, for recalibrating your viewpoint and perception of the foundation of your success

In a natural progression, Ruiz leads the reader, step by step, to recognize how the influential people in their life have impacted their viewpoints and actions. This self-awareness will help you to recognize the success opportunities open to you; motivate you to move on to develop the elements of success within you, and to implement these new attitudes and strategies into your life.

Ruiz writes with clarity, freshness, and ease of understanding. An example of his practical valuable lessons for ambitious entrepreneurs simply states:  “One of the best strategies in the world is – choose to be around positive people.” I also benefited from Nick’s approach to creativity and imagination as I began to pursue my individual thoughts on success, and taking an entirely new approach to the legacy I pass on to my family.

Nick Ruiz is a twice self-made entrepreneur. “Success from Scratch” is an important resource and a must-have book on personal growth for everyone with a dream of experiencing a lifestyle of success.

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, 978-1937879877, $ 15.99, 2017, 208 pages




Teaching School is a Scream! Confessions of a Career Substitute By Judy Woods-Knight – A Book Review

Teaching School is a Scream! Confessions of a Career Substitute
By Judy Woods-Knight
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake
The Art and Challenge of Creating a Win/Win Teaching Situation

Using a memoir writing form Judy Woods-Knight tells of her experiences as a career substitute teacher. Her book “Teaching School is a Scream! Confessions of a Career Substitute” is filled with practical advice, lots of humor, and actual classroom experiences.

Judy’s enthusiasm, optimistic spirit, and subtle sense of humor help her face the uncertainties, and hassles so often prevailing in contemporary classrooms. Judy tells of the excitement and challenge “of daring children to cooperate and have real fun learning.”

In her preface Judy talks about the reasons she chose to become a substitute rather than having her “own classroom and all the benefits that go along with a full-time job.”  She goes on to develop some of the advantages for anyone who may be in the process of change or in the early stages of preparation for a career in teaching.

In a natural and logical progression Judy offers recommendations for creating a “Tool Kit” as well as back up plans for your first day as a substitute. She then moves into Part 1 of the book which is filled practical ideas for dealing with unforeseen dilemmas, with humorous and heartwarming stories, and with those unexpected miracles that bring joy and hope back to the classroom.

The final sections of the book deal with hands-on suggestions and illustrations for defusing problems and preventing disasters; she concludes with dozens of resource ideas and valuable suggestion for making learning fun.

Whether a Regular Classroom teacher or a Career Substitute you will resonate with Judy Knight’s heartwarming stories, real-world examples, and fun loving sense of humor.

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

Robert D. Reed Publishers
P. O. Box 1992, Bandon, Oregon 97411
978-1944297077, $ 12.95, 2017, 136 pages

Napoleon Hill’s Success Principles Rediscovered

By: Napoleon Hill

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake


Timeless Success Principles for the 21st Century, Adopt a positive Attitude, Determine Your Dream, Follow Your Heart, and Take the First Step to Achievement

Jeffrey Gitomer, American author, professional speaker, and business trainer, collaborated with Judy Williamson, Director of the Napoleon Hill Learning Center at Purdue University to create the e-zine “Napoleon Hill Yesterday and Today.” Judy has complied fifty two writings from Hill’s success principles, added comments and challenges for application in the 21st Century in the book Napoleon Hill’s Success Principles Rediscovered.

Each chapter open with an inspirational motivational quote, principle, word of wisdom, or a pithy statement by Napoleon Hill or leaders involved in the work of the Napoleon Hill World Learning Centers.

Judy demonstrates a keen gift for understanding, interpreting, and teaching the reader how to apply and master Hill’s success principles. Each of the 52 lessons contains a principle of attitude, success and life, with the challenge to take action, achieve results, adapt a positive attitude in your professional and family life, and to share Napoleon Hill’s success secrets with others.

Examples from the lives of Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, Luther Burbank, Alexander Graham and Andrew Carnegie demonstrate purpose, dedication, determination, and dreams of achievement.

Napoleon Hill’s timeless principles have become the standard for personal development Coaches, Career Counselors, and well known Motivational authors and speakers internationally.

I have been personally challenged to read Napoleon Hill’s Success Principles Rediscovered, one more for understanding, again for implementation, and repeated times for meditation and optimum application – always with pen in hand.

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

The Napoleon Hill Foundation,Sound Wisdom, P.  O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 978-1937879747, $ 15.99, 2017, 184 Pages

Wisdom for Winners Volume Three By: Jim Stovall – A Book Review

Wisdom for Winners Volume Three

By: Jim Stovall

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Dream Big, Think Outside the Box, Be Innovative, and Seize the Opportunity

“Wisdom for Winner’s Volume Three” is made up of selections of the wisdom and wit which first appeared in Jim Stovall’s successful syndicated column Winner’s Wisdom. This column was must reading for highly successful people around the world for over a decade.

The selections included in this book are arranged in eight standalone thematic units for generating success. Themes include models for “Truth and Understanding,”  “Finite Resources”, and “Facts and Fantasies.”  Each reading ends with an important, memorable, life changing directive to reflect on throughout your day. I was especially challenged by the units “Human and Being,” and “The Most Valuable Commodities.”

Readers will find that Jim Stovall’s millionaire mindset can be contagious, manifesting ‘symptoms’ of success. The will soon find that they putting into action these same incredible tips, principles, and tools, with similar results, of effectiveness, and achieving personal aspirations.

Author of over 30 books, Stovall’s writing is authoritative, fast moving, and reader friendly, he writes ‘with heart’ emanated from ‘his heart’. Jim’s passion for helping others succeed permeates throughout his books. “Wisdom for Winner’s Volume Three” is no exception.

The book is designed to impact a new generation of career professionals and young entrepreneurs. The concepts and principles presented are as relevant, up to date, and effective as in the day they were first recorded.

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

Sound Wisdom, P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 978-1937879891, $ 15.99, 202 pages

It’s A New Life – Mom is Gone – A Memoir about Living Independently with Severe Cerebral Palsy – By Steven Salmon – A Book Review

It’s A New Life – Mom is Gone – A Memoir about Living Independently with Severe Cerebral Palsy

By: Steven B. Salmon

Robert D. Reed Publishers, P. O. Box 1992, Bandon, Oregon, 97411, 9781944297152, $ 12.95, 2017, 154 Pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake,

A Candid Message of Living with the Difficulties of Severe Cerebral Palsy

“It’s A New Life – Mom is Gone – A Memoir about Living Independently with Severe Cerebral Palsy” is Steven D. Salmon’s story.  This is an amazing Story of the aspirations, determination, dedication, and diligence that have motivated Steven in his passion to become a recognized, successful, and accomplished author. Steven shares his story of overcoming challenges to write about the physically disabled. He serves as a voice and advocate for the many who do not have a voice that is being heard

Steven’s mother dedicated her life to help him succeed. Steven has a Bachelor of Science degree in English with a writing minor from the University of Wisconsin- Stevens point and a Liberal Arts degree from Madison College. All these years his mother served as his primary care giver, so he could go on to pursue a writing career

When his mother could no longer meet all of Steve’s physical needs, health attendants were hired to become a care team. Things dramatically changed the day his mother fell several times. Steven alerted the family with a call for help. When help arrived his Mom was taken to the Emergency Hospital, she never returned home. She died of a cardiac arrest.

The realization that “Mom is Gone” thrust Steven into a new stage in his story. He now had to face the challenge of living independently with severe cerebral palsy.

I found it hard to put Steven’s book down. There were other times when he was so gut wrenching honest it was hard to go on reading.  I felt uncomfortable. As I continued to read Steven’s story, I begin to see life through a new set of eyes. I felt ashamed and embarrassed for living in an uncomfortable vacuum of hypocritical empathy, without recognizing the dignity or character of the individual in a wheel chair, quietly seeking acknowledgement, affirmation, or maybe even an act of friendship.

Steven has ignited a new flame and refueled my passion to write with the reminder to:  Believe in yourself, be patient, never give up. He encourages us to exchange our fears, failures, and impatience for hopes and dreams of success. This is the advice and encouragement he received from his friends, and now passes along to his readers.

I am left with an indelible picture of Steven at his computer, in four hour blocks of time, using a Morse code word choice program.  Since he cannot use his hands, he uses his head to tap out his words.

“It’s A New Life – Mom is Gone” is a gripping story of the severe physical limitations, the pain of loneliness, of feeling being lost, scared, and tired; all while in the pursuit of bringing an influential message of hope to a unique people who have been looked upon as unemployable, who are relegated to become wards of the state living in group houses, highly medicated, forgotten victims of the “system.”

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




40 Days to Wholeness – Body, Soul, and Spirit By Beni Johnson – A Book Review

40 Days to Wholeness – Body, Soul, and Spirit, By Beni Johnson


Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Devotional Guide Leading to a Healthy and Free Lifestyle

In her book “40 Days to Wholeness – Body, Soul and Spirit” Beni Johnson masterfully presents a progressive positive approach to attain and maintain a lifestyle of health and wholeness from the starting point to a natural sense of relationship of physical health, mental acuity, and spiritual power.

Each of the 40 days open with a carefully selected passage from the scriptures, a word of practical instruction, encouragement or motivation drawn from Beni’s own pursuit healthy living and wholeness. A unique feature of the book is the thematic continuity and consistency by putting an emphasis on “Body, Soul, and “Spirit.” The instructions, words of encouragement, and prayers with declarations of thanksgiving strengthen the reader for their journey.

I found the chapters addressing: the importance of a support circle, practicing self-control, and pressing toward the goal to be especially helpful and motivating.  The suggestions for being intentional about keeping an exercise journal resonated with me.

Christians who have struggled with basic discipline in exercise, diet, and devotional consistency will find Beni Johnson’s “40 Days to Wholeness – Body, Soul and Spirit” practical, easy to implement, and motivating. Highly recommended.

The book is a part of the Healthy and Free video curriculum. A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257. 97807687410846, $16.99, 2017, 184 pages



Drive Yourself Successful – 11 Inner states to Personal Empowerment By: Rachel Lynn – A Book Review

Drive Yourself Successful – 11 Inner states to Personal Empowerment

By: Rachel Lynn

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake,

Embrace the Journey – Put Yourself in the Driver’s Seat to Personal Empowerment

In her book “Drive Yourself Successful – 11 Inner states to Personal Empowerment” professional speaker and licensed professional counselor, Rachel Lynn, guides the reader through eleven steps to personal empowerment. Lynn uses an analogy of life’s journey with the process of preparing for and taking an automobile trip on the “inner state.”

In preparation for the trip, Lynn establishes why the trunk of the car must be cleaned out. Lynn strongly recommends that you must throw out negative words. These negative words and thoughts have hindered your self-perception and personal self-worth.  When we get trapped with negative attitudes that keep our gearshift stuck in “park” we need to recognize how these obstacles hold us back from experiencing our full potential. Lynn provides the reader with crucial tool to remove the adverse effect of negative thinking and to replace them with positive thoughts that will inspire, motivate, and reassure peace and strength.

When we find ourselves at a standstill point, living a life on hold: needing a tune up; Lynn challenges us to consciously consider our desires and goals by answering the question, “What do I expect from life?”

Lynn then goes on to provide the reader with practical guidelines for facilitating inner growth, reprogramming personal guidance programs (GPS), and transforming negative experiences of fear and self-doubt into fuel that accelerate vision and activate plans for the journey.

I personally appreciated the guidelines for setting goals and developing vision. The “Checkpoints” that accompany each chapter offer powerful pointers for preparing for the trip, choosing the right fuel, the importance of a tune up and regular maintenance, clear vision, recognizing detours as opportunities for other avenues of success, and adjusting your frequency to enable you, the reader, to “Take the Wheel and Make Yourself Successful.”

Reader’s in the genres of Personal Growth, Business and Economics, Self-Help, or Motivation will resonate with Rachel Lynn’s “11 Inner States to Personal Empowerment” found in “Drive Yourself Successful.

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 17257,978-1937879679, $ 15.99, 2017, 184 pages


Finding Success in Balance – My Journey to the Cheerful Mind By: Apryl Zarate Schluelter A Book Review

Finding Success in Balance – My Journey to the Cheerful Mind

By: Apryl Zarate Schluelter


Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Finding Balance to Regain Control, Manage Stress, and Accomplish Your Goals

“Finding Success in Balance – My Journey to the Cheerful Mind” will resonate with anyone who finds themselves overcommitted, and overwhelmed with feelings of exhaustion and defeat. Apryl shares her own story of achieving goals, conquering challenges and appearing to be successful by other people’s standards.

Apryl is open and honest as she tell her story of the Job that Changed Everything for her, a change that centered on finding a Life Work Balance. She describes a life that is not only fulfilling at work, but fulfilling outside of work as well.”

Each fast moving chapter is filled with concrete workable pointers and tips that encourage the reader to:

  • Prioritize and accomplish your goals in light of the life work principles
  • Manage stress to avoid burnout
  • Succeed in your relationships
  • Create your own personal development journey
  • Think of fun as a value and “How to Infuse Fun into your Life”

Apryl Zarate Schluelter, CPC, Eli, MP, is CEO (Chief Energy Officer!) of The Cheerful Mind, Inc.

Apryl’s communication and organizational skills are reflected in her writing. She is articulate and well organized in the structure and presentation of the material. The book is highly informative, well formatted and reader friendly. A thoroughly enjoyable read and reread often.

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

The Cheerful Mind Inc., North Brook, Illinois 60062

09780998320304, $ 12.99, 2017, 164 pages