Book Review: The Power Of Starting Something Stupid

If you were to drop by my office right now, you would see stacks of books that have been given to me for review purposes. It’s become apparent that if you have a fairly successful blog and have written your own books, people are happy to share their work with you. It’s the new marketing machine of publishing.

I will often share a tool, resource, or book that I have found helpful in my own journey. Some of the best books I’ve read have been brought to my attention through the recommendation of others. Every once in awhile, just the right book will be offered for me to preview and it seems to show up at just the right time in my life. This is a post about THAT book.

I was given a copy of Richie Norton’s book, The Power of Starting Something Stupid. It had endorsements from people I respect. People like Seth Godin, Andy Andrews, Steve Forbes, & Stephen M.R. Covey. I was intrigued by the title and the fact that Norton had written this book with his wife. Something told me that there was a story within these pages that I needed to hear. Chapter One of the book confirmed my curiosity. 

Norton’s motivation for both the book and the principles he espouses within the book are born out of one of the greatest of tragedies – the loss of his newborn son. Norton watched his son, Gavin, struggle with life for seventy-six days and then had to make the grueling decision to not resuscitate or pursue further medical treatment. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to watch all of the hopes and dreams wrapped up in a precious child fade as he takes his last breath.

But it’s out of this experience that Norton offers his most poignant challenge (which he calls Gavin’s law): Live to start. Start to live.

From this point of view, Norton walks the reader through the possibilities and potential that each of us have. Every one of us will face difficulties, tragedies, and circumstances beyond our control. But we don’t have to settle. We can face our fears, muster the courage, and create something of significance and meaning in the world.

One of the best takeaways for me came at the end of the book. In the conversations he’s had with older people near the end of their lives, their greatest lament didn’t have to do with failure…but with regret. They carried a list of “I wish I hads…” around with them. The biggest regret being that they didn’t spend enough time with the ones they loved. In response to this, Norton states the following:

“Your life should consist of more than commuting, working, eating, surfing the Internet, sleeping, and watching TV. Your life should be filled with purpose-driven experiences and projects that bring excitement, passion, energy, and authentic meaning and joy into your life. I hope that as you start something stupid, you will find real meaning in your life and that you will learn these three great (albeit simple) truths: 1. Your life matters. 2. Your life has purpose. 3. You are meant to be happy.”

For the purposes of this review, I wanted to pique your curiosity by sharing the beginning and end of the story. In between, there are pages full of inspirational and practical guidance to help you and I live a more significant life and intentionally walk a more meaningful journey. In the midst of my own difficult experience I found the message of this book incredibly timely. If you find yourself in a place where your life is wasting away by the routine and mediocrity of your daily rituals, then I recommend you spend some time with the Norton’s by reading this book.

You can find out more about Richie Norton by visiting his website:

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