Dr. Sam Alibrando
Follow the Yellow Brick Road
Book Review by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony

Disclosure: I met Dr. Sam at a writing club meet. We traded books.

Is this book for you? The back cover text recommends it to "People who want to change and grow." I'm all for that. Growing is wonderful, now change -- that's the hard one.

In his preface, Dr. Sam tells us that the original title of the book was "Five Disciplines of People Who Actually Change." Sam proceeds to communicate these disciplines metaphorically using Dorothy's challenging journey through Oz to represent any and all real life challenges that might feel like a twister just dropped "home" in a foreign and strange land (and/or less extreme "hard times"). Hence the new title. Unfortunately, such insight into the book's contents aren't readily conveyed through this new title. Fortunately there's a subtitle: "How to Change for the Better When Life Gives you Its Worst." The subtitle is stronger and really ought to have been in larger print, though graphically speaking, the current font design works. As an illustrator, myself, I quite enjoy the cover art; but I fear, like the new title, to the casual glancer it belies the self-improvement nature of the content within.

The book begins with Dorothy, which makes sense, given its premise; however, this is not a book about Dorothy -- it's a book about you -- the reader. It really should start with you and your challenges and then relate them to Dorothy's journey. That way, the reader will be better prepared to take Dr. Sam's yellow brick road trip through the 5 quite useful practices (which have been explained via Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz tale). Eventually, Dr. Sam certainly does help us relate our challenges to Dorothy's -- just not quite at the outset.

He also reminds us that there are no wizards in pretty green cities capable of solving all of our problems. Dr. Sam makes it crystal clear that our problems are ours to endure, delve into, to conquer as best we can, and in the process grow and change into who we are. That's some good stuff. That said, I found the chapter on integrating the qualities of Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion to be rather clunky and over complicated, despite the fact that the author highlights it as the most essential of the 5 practices, and spends plenty of page time explaining it (elaborating even further with the book's only appendix). Eventually, readers will get the gist, but these points could have been stated more succinctly. Beyond that, something else of great import comes through in the writing: Dr. Sam seems like quite a caring guy, who is not only rooting for you, but has genuinely dedicated himself to the self-improvement of others. It's this gem that shepherds us through this extended metaphor and leaves us inspired to not only start to change, but practice disciplines that put us on (or return us to) the road to lasting personal betterment.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

"..That shameless (or grace-filled) awareness is the water that melts our inner witches."

"Tin Man involves feeling vulnerable: it inevitably leads to pain and hurt. If you love someone or something, you will be hurt. Count on it."

Regarding "Authentic Suffering…" "We live in a society that has mastered the art of convenient and immediate gratification … we have lost the art of suffering."

"It actually takes more psychological energy to not change than to change! … Remaining the same requires tremendous psychological energy and cost."

Read more Book Reviews by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony.

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Copyright © 1998-2023 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Monday, 18-Feb-2013 11:22:19 PST