Score: 96/100 (9.6 out of 10)
You Have to Live, Why Not Win? is a truly extraordinary, exceptional, and outstanding motivational/inspirational book by Dave Ketchen and Larry D. Thornton. It features illustrations by Dave Dodson.
You Have to Live, Why Not Win? follows the life, career, and lessons of Larry D. Thornton, a man who went from an illiterate, struggling Black student in a bigoted society to sitting on the board of directors of McDonald's, owning numerous McDonald's across the country!
This is a book for people who need a kick in the butt or a supercharge: entrepreneurs, dreamers, business people, athletes, professionals—go-getters. This is a book about success. It's a book about overcoming adversity. It's a book about changing your perspectives. It's a book about becoming a better person—someone people can get behind.
This is truly a phenomenal book!
It is also a book about breaking down the social constructs that keep us down and keep us back like bigotry, racism, self-defeating mindsets, pessimism, and anti-social behavior.
This book is a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, inspiration, and motivation from a man who has walked the talk. There is something in here for people of all ages to learn from, children and adults. We believe that it is probably most appropriate for those in the reading level above the fourth-grade, although parents and teachers can possibly guide younger kids and students through it. All of these concepts are universal, although some of it may go over the heads of younger children. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try to digest this information, even if it takes a few read-throughs. And if you're going to try, why not win?
This book delivers a lot of great life lessons (and some great quotes to support them).
The key themes of this book are: PEOPLE, PERCEPTION, and PERSEVERANCE. Mr. Thornton tells us that people come first. Mr. Thornton gives many examples of the people who have touched his life in a positive way.
For example, Miss Nichols, the “Old Battle Axe” teacher, believed in him and his potential to go to college and become a successful student there. There was Richard Fuller, the farmer who gave Thornton's family bread when they were impoverished. There was Herman Petty, the man who invited Thornton to join McDonald's. And there was Richard Anthony, who invited Thornton to serve on the corporate board.
Dave Ketchen, the author and a scholar at Auburn University, is also briefly shown as an inspiration to Thornton.
The book also explores other key concepts like disposition (attitude, character, personality, work-ethic), communication skills, and demeanor.
Most of this book is presented as a speech to graduating seniors—perhaps the target demographic—framed between flights in which Mr. Thornton is found being a mentor to a rambunctious teenager on the airplane. This framing is incredibly impressive and shows forethought and knowledge of narrative structure.
The illustrations, for the most part, are solid. There are times when they appear slightly muddled and the facial features/details of some of the character seem a little warped or indistinguishable. This is mostly noticeable on the first few panels/pages (on the airplane). It's as if the illustrator got better and improved as they went along.
It is surprisingly how easy it is to follow most of the dialogue. The writing is good and the text is legible. Here are some of our favorite quotes from this amazing book:
“Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job. If you work hard on your job, you can make a living. But if you work hard on yourself, you'll make a fortune... most of your fortunes are not financial.”
“You want to know what I see when I see you, Mr. Thornton? I see a man, just a man that is winning, like me.”
“If you can't take anything, you can't have anything.”
“What do I see when I see me?”
“These hands are going to do special things.”
There's one final, more subtle theme that goes throughout this book, and it's giving back to and inspiring the future generation. We see how people like the Old Battle Axe and Thornton's mom inspired him when he was young, confused, and discouraged. The book encourages us to be beacons to young people in the same way.
Check it out here!