America Unchained – by Dave Gorman

8 01 2014

I have utterly loved joining in on the journey in this book.

The basic premise is that he buys an old second hand car, and tries to drive coast to coast across the USA without giving any money to chain stores. This means finding independent motels, restaurants, and petrol stations! I don’t think they even exist in the UK, and it turns out that in America they’re pretty few and far between as well!

The thing I love about Dave Gorman’s books is that they never end up being about what they’re meant to be about. His books always end up being about the people he meets on the way through his various adventures/challenges/whatever you want to call them (at least one or two fall under the heading “bets made whilst drunk”!). Plus the whole way through I had utterly no idea if he’d even manage to complete it (and I won’t spoil it for you) – I was definitely kept guessing.

One of the most fascinating sections for me, oddly, was when he visited a town with a high population of Mormons. He looked into it a bit and thoroughly explained (far beyond any level of knowledge I had previously) what they were about, what they believed, where Mormonism originates from – anything you’d ever want to know. I’ll be honest, he doesn’t portray them positively, but then from what I’ve now learnt, I do understand why! I won’t say any more as I don’t want to offend, but it’s definitely interesting, and I’m more educated than I was.

A highly recommended book. I started it in Uganda because the book I was reading at the time was too heavy to take with me, and then picked it up again last month when I finished the large book. Since then I barely put it down. It had me picking it up whenever I could, which I think is always a strong recommendation 🙂

america unchained





One Red Paperclip – by Kyle Macdonald

30 06 2013

I’ve utterly loved this book, reflected in how quickly I’ve read it!

This is a book about a guy who is sick of pouring his money down the drain in rent, and has no steady income, and so, inspired by a game called “Bigger and Better” from his childhood, tries to trade up from a Red Paperclip, up to a house he can call his own.

I really doesn’t sound possible does it? The book works you through each trade and how it came about, chapter by chapter. It’s a real story, the website and blog he wrote at the time all still exist! There’s not too much of a spoiler in them either as the introduction to the book says pretty much exactly where it’s going to end up!

The guy behind it all is really quite inspiring. It’s not about trading up for something of higher monetary value, it’s about the journey, about the people, and the idea that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Definitely worth a read!

one red paperclip





Just a Minute – Wess Stafford

20 06 2013

We were given copies of this book at work when it was published, but unfortunately at that point I wasn’t reading much at all and it just went on my bookshelf. But when I was looking for my next book to read, I put a couple of options I had out on twitter and had a reply from Mr Wess Stafford himself! After that I didn’t really have an excuse to read anything else 🙂

Wess has been the President of Compassion International for a long time and is just in the process of retiring and handing over to his successor. He’s a great man and brilliant speaker, his first book was called Too Small To Ignore and is his story of his childhood in an African village, and how we must invest in children.

Just a minute carries on his theme of caring for those children around us. It’s a whole load of short stories of different people’s “minutes” that changed and influenced their lives, something someone said or did that affected them. Most are uplifting positive stories which inspire us to do the same, but be warned, there’s a handful that show how damaging a minute can be – Hitler’s childhood actually gets a mention….

I found this book challenging and motivating to really think about how I treat and talk to the children I know and come across regularly, how is a passing comment I make going to potentially affect them long term?

A great read, and not a tricky one either, just pick a story or two in one sitting if necessary!

just a minute