"Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (without getting lost along the way)" by Claire Cook is her first foray into the nonfiction/self help genre, although it still manages to read a lot like a novel. In this book, she shares stories from not only her own life, but from the lives of others who, like her, have reinvented themselves.
The recounting of her own reinvention alternates with the story of her visit to Isla Mujeres in Mexico for a women's conference. Cook was the keynote speaker. At this conference for women and created by women, she met many fascinating people who had dared to follow their dreams and who are now living a life they had not thought possible. The book actually is comprised of four intertwined parts: Claire Cook and her metamorphosis; women who have influenced her or taken charge of their lives; her time at the women's conference and what she learned there; and, perhaps most importantly, practical, enlightening, virtually step-by-step advice for effective -- and successful -- occupational and personal reinvention.
Cook informs the reader that she had planned on being a writer from a very early age. Yet when confronted with the challenging realities of life, that's not what happened. It was only when she was 45 years old that she realized it was time to try to reach her life-long goal. What happened next (getting the first book published and getting the second book made into the fabulous movie "Must Love Dogs") was not expected.
But since then, Cook has not rested on her laurels. She's the author of several bestselling novels, and she strolled down the Hollywood red carpet at the age of 50. And, as she reveals in the book, she became one of the few authors during that walk to captivate the media, who usually only want to mingle with the top-notch actors. (Spoiler alert: a bit of luck may have been involved.)
Claire also shares her most recent reinvention. Her traditional publishers weren't doing what she thought was best for her career and her books, so she took the matter into her own hands and decided to self-publish her books under Marshbury Beach Books (the name of the fictional town in her novels). She now owns the rights to many of her books (including "Must Love Dogs"), and she alone gets to manage the whole publishing process.
"Never Too Late" is the perfect book for readers who love Claire Cook's books and wonder how she got to be such a successful author. But the real purpose and accomplishment of the book is the inspiration it provides and the fascinating and amazingly helpful strategies and methods she presents for any women ("and a few good men") who really want to achieve what they've only dreamed of. The book is about change and opportunity -- and how to grab them.
Cook is candid: grabbing opportunity sometimes involves serendipity, but it's always a tremendous amount of work and risk. She talks about money, though she points out that it's not always about the money; and she demonstrates how fear can be incapacitating. Different often equals scary.
The book also may well serve to let many people know that they, too, could serve as an inspiration for others. Most people have within them the capacity to inspire those around them. It's just a matter of freeing those hidden thoughts and ideas and dreams and goals.
The author's website states: "I’ll share my own stories, successes, and failures, as well as those of other reinventors, plus tips for getting a plan, staying on track, pulling together a support system, building your platform in the age of social networking, dealing with the inevitable ups and downs, overcoming perfectionism, and tuning in to your authentic self to propel you toward your goals."
And she does.
One last comment: The cover -- it's brilliant. Pure Claire Cook, while still perfectly suited for this first, nonfiction creation. A beach, a blue sky, and an endless blue ocean in between. Just like the endless opportunities that exist for all of us.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the author, Claire Cook, for review purposes.
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