"Perhaps humility is a better virtue than pride. Let others acknowledge our accomplishments if there are accomplishments to be acknowledged."

In this wide-ranging collection of essays, Martlew considers such topics as types of learning, facing adversity, grace and forgiveness, integrity, friendships, humility, wisdom, trust, and self-control. He also shares thoughts on hot-button political issues of the day, such as global climate change, and ends this expanded compendium of personal essays and narrative with an impassioned plea for readers to establish a personal relationship with God. In fact, a significant portion of the book is dedicated to those final two issues—namely, arguing that climate change and global warming are not, as many contend, due to human-made activity, as well as offering encouragement for spiritual and religious growth through living a Christian life. Significantly, however, there is included in this hefty and well-penned collection a diversity of other areas explored, which stand alone and strong as intriguing tidbits of additional food for thought, relayed to the reading audience in various formats such as personal anecdotes, biographical events, original poems, and an entire section devoted to “axioms and other thoughts.”

Martlew has shared that the idea behind writing his book stems from a desire to pass on knowledge and experiences gleaned throughout his lifetime, with the intent to pass along to others—especially younger readers with less life experience—lessons learned (sometimes the hard way), so that the lives of his readership may be made “easier, or better, or different.” The common sentiment of wishing to have “learned some things earlier in life” is behind much of the author’s inspiration for composing this unique, engaging compilation. His stated hope is that by reading lessons learned from his vast life experiences, others might—based on more informed and nuanced information—be able to remove some of the “difficulties and challenges” everyone faces. Indeed, Martlew is quite generous in providing detailed, humble, and honest reflections about a motley array of issues, personal experiences, slice-of-life narratives, and more. Readers are provided with much to consider in these pages.

In reading his work, it becomes apparent from the outset that Martlew is a gentleman who cares deeply about the world, society, and the active role any given person can play in this personal/societal construct. An innate curiosity and deep interest in the world around him seem to healthily inform the author’s intentions behind undertaking this heady composition and the specifics shared along the way. Indeed, if there is any principal message garnered from reading and considering the arguments passionately made—as well as more mundane, simple expressions of day-to-day living shared—it is most certainly the idea that, in America today, one does not necessarily take the time to hear from others who may have different experiences and disparate opinions on issues. By choosing, instead, to learn about the experiences and viewpoints of others, one’s wealth of knowledge and wisdom can broaden. Cheers to the author on that front, as not only is there much to be said for such an outlook, but Martlew’s book has provided just such an opportunity, in a manner relevant to the times, entrenched in goodwill, and laced with just the right amount of humor and wit.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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