Book Reviews: Two Different Approaches to Success

Cover Design by Jody Waldrup.

Reading Self-Help books are like buying Greatest Hits or Live CDs-they are not for everyone, and sometimes only die hard fans can relate to them. Most Self-Help books are geared to business savvy people , or are written by people who are already rich via given the family business to run or given a heavy inheritance to start off. Some of the books are filled with ideas that are not available to every reader, such as working 2-3 jobs to be successful (most employers in today’s society will not work around any other schedule), or are geared to only the people that live in a bigger city where opportunities are everywhere (not everyone can pack up and move, and if they did, those cities would be overcrowded and the jobs would still be slim due to all the people taking them).

Skip Prichard’s “The Book of Mistakes” (Center Street Books, 2018) is a different kind of Self-Help book where the tips given are not only simple to incorporate, but is told in a fiction setting that makes the reader want to learn more.

The book follows several people in different time periods who get a hold of a manuscripts with the key to a successful future. The book starts off in the 1400s, and then jumps to current day time, following David, who is struggling through his job and life, barely making ends meet while working for a big time business firm. One day David sees a woman dropping a piece of paper on the street which has a time and place to meet. David decides to go to the meeting, hoping to find out what the secrets are, and if things go wrong, he can just state he was returning the paper that the woman dropped. David finds out that he was meant to get the paper and meets several different people (a bartender, a bodybuilder, a playwright, a banker, and some other people) during the next several months by “chance,” who end up telling him what the common mistakes are made by these people who wished they knew these tips when they were younger.

The mistakes given can be used to the normal everyday person (I won’t give out spoilers to all of them), with one being not letting someone else determine your value in life (the person’s value is more than they seem). This , along with the fictional setting, is something that makes the book unique, as opposed to others in the genre that write things like, “This is how I was successful. Follow these tips and here’s why it worked for me.”

The book jumps back and forth at times to the 1400s in following a girl whose uncle is trying to protect the manuscript from getting in the wrong hands. This brings an action theme to the book, which makes the reader keep wanting to know how the book ends up into those that teach David many years later.

Prichard’s book would draw fans of Mitch Albom’s “The Five People You Meet in Heaven, ” which brings random people along David’s journey in order to help him, while he meets them during everyday encounters. However, those readers that like business books, can also enjoy the book, with action thrown in as well.

“The Book of Mistakes” is a different type of Self- Help book that combines action and lessons (almost in parable style). This book can reach many genre of fans. One does not have to be a business guru to learn some of these lessons that can be used in any aspect of life, even those that just want to make themselves feel better and do some good in their lives. The book is a surprisingly good read for those that are looking for something different.


“The Book of Mistakes” by Skip Prichard (2018 Center Street Books ISBN : 978-1-4789-7090-3 ebook ISBN: 978-1-4789-7093-4) is available at and at


For other information on Skip Prichard, go to

Cover copyright 2018 by Hatchette Book Group, Inc.


Cal Turner Jr. and Rob Simbeck, in the book “My Father’s Business” (Center Street, 2018) walks the reader through how Turner’s father started a small store and turned it into the Billion-Dollar Dollar General stores.

Turner Jr. discusses his early childhood growing up, while his father started purchasing department stores in Kentucky. The first Dollar General was in Springfield, Kentucky, at a store that was struggling in sales. Cal’s father decided to take the idea of putting all items at a dollar once he saw how well other stores sold merchandise during their “dollar days’ sales. His father thought why not have a store that kept all items at a dollar? By 1957, his father owned 29 stores that equaled $5 million dollars in sales.

The book discusses how Turner Jr. wanted to go into the ministry, but was talked out of it, his stint in the Navy, along with his college years. In 1965, he started working at his father’s stores, working at stocking and opening the stores, where he claims he found his mission in life by helping people in a different way, which filled his need of a calling when he considered the ministry.

“My Father’s Business” is a leadership/business book that details how the family each had a role in the managing of the stores, how the company branded into a corporation and public traded business, including how they handled a Teamster/Union strike in the 1970s, which included threats on Cal Jr’s family, as well as a kidnapping attempt of his young son. The book also follows Cal Jr’s rise to become the president of the company and having to fire one of his brothers along the way. His rise to CEO and dealing with his father’s old ways of handling business is covered as he becomes conflicted on keeping a company successful while dealing with family members.

“My Father’s Business” is geared more for those that known something about the business world, and is not just a normal biography. There are parts in the book that lost me as a normal reader with no idea what the writers were discussing in terms of sales, profits, and percentages. There are sections about his faith, along with some Bible quotes, which gives a picture of what his family values were growing up in the business world.

Turner writes in a way that is not all business jargon, but those that are reading it as just a biography may fight through a few parts. For those that study economics and business related topics, this book will be a good read to find out how the small general store turned into a booming business.


“My Father’s Business” by Cal Turner Jr, with Rob Simbeck (Center Street, 2018 ISBN: 978-1-4789-9298-1, eISBN: 978-1-4789-9299-8, special edition ISBN: 978-1-5460-7619-3) is available at


Both review copies were given courtesy of Center Street and Hatchette Books.


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