FINISH STRONG by Richard G. Capen, Jr : A Review

I have been waiting to finish (not necessarily “finish strong,” but just “finish”) this book since the first of this year. I started it during the Christmas Holidays in an attempt to read more non-fiction, and came within the final three or four chapters, then put it aside to finish library books by due dates and to read books I received for Christmas.  As the books on the shelf were shuffled, this book was transferred lower and lower until last week. While dusting my book stacks, I found the book with a bookmark sticking out of it and marveled that the book was almost completed. Fortunately, I remembered most of what I had read as I finished the book subtitled, “Living your Faith in the Secular World and Inspiring Others in the Process.”

Although the book was written in 1992, it particular resonates in today’s world, describing the state of today’s secular world and offering suggestions toward “making America great again.” The author is a Pulitzer Prize winning publisher, formerly of the Miami Herald, and ambassador to Spain under the Bush administration.

Capen interviewed his day’s notables and well-known names, asking: What three accomplishments do you consider to be the important in your life? / If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what two or three values would you want to be remembered for? / Who have been your mentors, and what did they teach you? / Name an unsung hero whose values you admire?  The writer sent our these questions to prominent names in government, education, entertainment, research, etc. and surprisingly, 80% of those approached responded. Evidently, those individuals contacted wanted to go on record about what they valued and believed in. Interestingly enough, Capen commented on his “research,” “It came as no surprise that many of the most respected leaders were the most humble in describing their accomplishments.”

After learning a bit about the author, his own answers to his questions were perhaps the most interesting part of the book for me.

Finishing the book some six months after I had started it, and reflecting on what I have read in those past six months, have reminded me that I need to read more outside my “comfort” or favorite genre–novels–and find some more good non-fiction reads soon.


Author: Rae Reads

This year (2019) finds me with 50 years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."

4 thoughts on “FINISH STRONG by Richard G. Capen, Jr : A Review”

  1. Great post Rae. I also struggle with non-fiction but try to get a few in each year. I have a book that I started, a year ago and put aside, I really should get back to it, it is also non-fiction, but based a memoir from Africa.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Africa is something I rarely relate to, but memoirs, especially immigrant stories of people coming to America from other countries, trying to improve their lives fascinate me and make me appreciate my birth in the US and its opportunities a great deal.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I couldn’t agree more. It really opens my eyes regarding immigrants. I get so frustrated/angry/sad when people say we need to take care of our own, send them back, don’t let them come here etc.


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