The Noticer by Andy Andrews
The Noticer is an outstanding book with wisdom for people in a wide range of life stages. Andrews tells the story from a narrator's point of view while occasionally attaching to other characters. Consistent in each person we meet is a man named "Jones," or if they're Hispanic "Garcia," if Asian, "Chen." Jones is an elderly man who carries a ubiquitous suitcase which many times contains something providing a bit of encouragement, insight, or wisdom for those he interacts with.
Andrews writes that he first met Jones while Andrews was a young man in a set of rough circumstances and living under a dock by the ocean. Jones encourages him to look at things in such a way to better himself through becoming someone people enjoy being around as well as constantly learning from other's lives by reading. His first reading assignment from Jones includes reading the biographies of Winston Churchill, Will Rodgers in addition to moving on to many other famous people's biographies from whom he learns.
Jones also interacts with a couple who is about to get a divorce but he helps them gain perspective on love. Those familiar with The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman will find many similarities in this section. Jones helps the couple see that they truly do love each other; it's just that the husband's love language is words of affirmation and the wife's is acts of service. They commit to working on speaking the other's language.
Other people Jones encourages are a group of teenagers on what it takes to find a good match for a spouse. A man on the verge of suicide due to a mid life crisis finds perspective through talking with Jones. An elderly woman who thinks she has nothing to give the world since all her children are grown, her husband has passed away and she has nothing to live for meets Jones who helps her see that she can still make a great impact by pointing out that people like Colonel Sanders never opened a chicken restaurant till he was in his 60s, Winston Churchill and Golda Meir accomplished most of what they are known for in their 60s and 70s among other examples.
One key interaction was with a hard driving young businessman who was finding monetary success but at the expense of his reputation and relationships. Jones helps him to recognize what is truly important in life and how critical it is to do business in a manner that is honorable.
Interspersed in his insights and wisdom are Biblical examples and passages. Jones seems to meet up with the people at pivotal points in their lives and offers insight and perspective that allow them to raise their heads above the turmoil and noise and see things in a new light. He acts as a mentor/guru with a preternatural ability to be at the right time and place when a person needs to get a new perspective.
The book is a fast read and very enjoyable. I highly recommend it as something to keep in your library and come back to later for encouragement and wisdom on life.
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