STORIES OF LIFE: The Nature, Formation and Consequences of Character by Davidson Loehr: Book Review

If Plan A didn’t work. The Alphabet series has another 25 letters too! Now consider what if you don’t have any plans, you’re nervous, uncertain and lost then you still have 26 letters left to explore! This is the story of Davidson Loehr, the author of this book. A life story full of exploring different areas, careers, partners and moreover not ever regretting a single element of his life ever.

Davidson Loehr, an American, traces his life in the form of stories and tales. This isn’t an ordinary biography of some highly influential (knowing all of it) personality. But it is a life story of a person who is ordinary in every sense, who is open to seek new experiences and learn from people. The author’s story navigates around the question of, who am I actually? What are my interests? What is the right direction? Should I consider this opportunity? He jumps from army school, army career, entertainment officer, combat photography, higher education, career in religion. And each one of these decisions are still on the basis of opportunities, chances and fate. Not on the basis of a well made, long term plan. And the author recognises the lack of long term planning every time but accepts the fact that he has a different trajectory of progress. And goes on from one place of uncertainty to the other, by taking lessons from each of them.

The story remains interesting and also grounded because of the author’s unique way of writing. His funny personality, open humour is reflected through his writing. The humorous conversations and observations keep the text lively. Along with the fun, the author had an impeccable ability to describe job descriptions. His writing style makes the entertainment officer job, combat photography work experience, vivid. These are ordinary jobs but the way he elaborates upon them makes them feel more valid and praise worthy. Additionally, the photographs, along with the conversational style of writing makes the book a delight to read. It is indeed  quite rare to see an author discussing at length about other people in his life, their sayings, actions and their influence on him years later. The reader feels that the author is deeply grateful for these individuals while reading each anecdote. Further, each anecdote has philosophy attached to it. That shows the author’s ability to blend his life experiences with macro level ideas, these ideas further evolve as evident themes.

The life story of the author revolves around one central theme, i.e, not having a sense of direction is okay too. Loehr’s job struggles explains that what matters when one doesn’t have a grand plan is the ability to accept changes your life suddenly bestows. And living it fully, in the present. And living life in such a way that includes high morals, philosophies and learning from experiences that belittle and humble you. The story makes it apparent that feeling lost, uncertain is all part of life, thus taking only those opportunities and decisions which are right under your nose, immediate and needed.

And while making those choices, the story essentially pinpoints to the often ignored fact that what makes us an individual, a social being are the people around us. The camaraderie, the tense fights between us write our stories to its fullest, builds our character in the long term. And whenever individually we feel lost, we have to just look back at those interactions as memorable lessons.

Apart from the human emotional elements in his life story, the book also at length talks about war. Specifically the Vietnam war. Here, what stands unique, is not the history of war per se, but various non-state actors who help the state actors in war in terms of courage, sensual pleasure, entertainment, etc. Further, the aftereffects of the war on the human psyche can be seen from the author’s struggle when he came back home. There are books that revolve around history, origin, and the politics of war. This is the book which skillfully discusses what all can possibly go wrong with war veterans, the divorces, careers failing, depression and diseases.

The book, Stories of Life, is a beautiful blend of human psyche, philosophies and its struggle to tackle opportunities. It is a story that tells us no matter what happens you are still enough to rebuild your life from scratch. Have courage and faith in your abilities. The attitude with which the author has lived his life and passed through the storms of uncertainties can be expressed through the dialogues of the film, Shawshank Redemption,

Dear Red,

If you’re reading this, you’ve gotten out

And if you’ve come this far, maybe you’re

willing to come a little further.

Remember, Red. Hope is a good thing,

maybe the best of things, and no good

thing ever dies.

That’s all. it takes, really. Pressure and time”

Get busy living or get busy dying.

Discover the extraordinary journey of Davidson Loehr in ‘Stories of Life’ on Amazon. Embrace the power of hope, courage, and resilience as you delve into this captivating narrative. Get your copy today and embark on a journey of self-discovery and inspiration.

Also Read: An Interview with Davidson Loehr

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