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Dear Success Seeker

Terri Schlichenmeyer | 5/27/2009, 5 p.m.

Failure is not an option.

When you put your heart and soul into something --a project, a career, a program--you want everything to go right. You don't want to lose. And you don't want to give up because nobody wants to fail.

But now you find yourself stuck. You're at a crossroads. How can you find the guts to stay the course and keep on going in the face of adversity, loss, and a bad economy? You'll get many words of strength for success when you read Dear Success Seeker, by Michele R. Wright, Ph.D..

In her introduction, Wright says she overcame many adversities to graduate from college with High Honors: she had a speech impediment, a learning disability, and attention problems.
Despite this, she's now an award-winning professional with a thriving career. She uses her life as an example: if she can be successful, you can, too.

In this book, written directly to readers, 83 women from all walks of life likewise explain what made them successful, what motivates them, and what wisdom keeps them going. For instance...
"It doesn't matter what background you come from, you hold the key to your destiny," says restaurant owner Martha Hawkins.

Actress Loretta Devine points out that you need to feel successful to be successful. In the meantime, "dream big."

Carolle Jean Murat, M.D., tells several anecdotes about medical school to illustrate her point: obstacles are everywhere, but you should look upon them as challenges and blessings.

M. Joycelyn Elders says you need four things: a voice in your ear so that you hear those less fortunate, a vision in your eye that extends further than you can see, a good education in your hand, and a song in your heart.

From Senator Mary L. Landrieu: "The possibilities are endless, shaped by our individual life experiences and dreams."

From Marian Wright Edelman: "There is no free lunch."

Sometimes, when good things seem as if they're just out of reach, all you need is a boost. Dear Success Seeker does the job nicely.

Author Michele R. Wright assembled the voices of eighty-three notable women, including Wilma Mankiller, Ruby Dee, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Billie Jean King, and others, between two covers. The result is useable, helpful, and empowering.

Two things I noticed in this book: while there are a few points that repeat occasionally, it's wonderful to see 83 varying stories of lives well-lived. With such a vast array of success, it's hard not to catch the success-bug yourself.

I also like the bite-sized chapters in this book. You don't have to read it front-to-back. You don't even have to read the whole chapter. Even a sentence or two is just right, just when you need it.

For recent grads, new entrepreneurs, and anyone who needs wisdom and comfort in a bad economy, this book is perfect. To miss Dear Success Seeker would be such a loss.