Greetings once again friends! This is Episode six of the podcast. The title of this week’s episode is “Andy Andrews: One of the Great Story-tellers of Our Time.” Click here to listen to the audio version.
He’s been called “the Mark Twain of our era.” He’s an author, public speaker, inspirational coach, family man, philosopher, and—besides that—he’s really funny and interesting, and sometimes even profound.
Andy Andrews has been invited to speak by four different US Presidents. His books regularly hit the NYT list of bestsellers. They have been translated into over 40 different languages, and are popular around the world.
The dean of motivational speakers, Zig Ziglar, is reported to have commented, “Andy Andrews is the best speaker I have ever seen.”
Strangely enough, in many circles Andy is still largely unknown. I’m not just sure why that is, but it seems to be true. I only learned of Andy’s work a few years ago when I discovered his first book, The Traveler’s Gift. Turning the first few pages I was hooked.
Since then, I’ve purchased several more of Andy’s books, and have even ordered several autographed copies of his book The Little Things: Why You Really Should Sweat the Small Stuff from his website to give as Christmas gifts to my grandchildren.
Now, just to be clear, my favorite of Andy’s books are officially classified as fiction, or even fantasy. He has also written some very perceptive non-fiction books, as well. Some of my friends—maybe even some of you who are listening—may question the value of reading fantasy or fiction of any sort. I understand that. But, let me explain.
What Andy does is illustrate powerful life lessons using the settings of major historical events. He tells the stories in such a way that readers are drawn into the action to experience first-hand what the actual people in those stories must have felt. Then, he uses that moment to bring practical—even godly, common-sense principles of relationships, attitudes, and wholesome thinking alive in the heart and mind of a reader. And, he’s a master at what he does!
So, let’s take a quick look at a few of my favorites.
(Bear in mind, however, that I rarely agree 100% with any author. It’s the same with Andy Andrews, although I still find his books do stimulate my thinking, and I enjoy the story for the story itself.
The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions That Determine Personal Success
The Traveler’s Gift was Andy’s first major breakthrough as an author. He submitted the manuscript to 42 different publishers before it was finally accepted! When Thomas Nelson launched the book in 2002 it became an instant bestseller, and it brought rave reviews from readers across the board. Since then, Amazon.com readers alone have provided over 3,2oo reviews with an average rating of 4.8 stars out of five.
The core teaching of The Traveler’s Gift is contained in what Andy calls “The Seven Decisions.” Here’s the list:
- The Buck Stops Here
- I Will Seek Wisdom
- I Am A Person Of Action
- I Have A Decided Heart
- Today I Will Choose To Be Happy
- I Will Greet This Day With A Forgiving Spirit
- I Will Persist Without Exception
Well, that may seem like a rather dry list all by itself, but I assure you The Traveler’s Gift is anything but boring. If you enjoy a story that has action, mystery, suspense, and keeps you turning pages, you will definitely like this one!
Now I want to tell you about . . . .
“The Noticer” Series
The Noticer series is basically a continued story presented through a sequence of three volumes. I’m going to give you a quick look at each book, but frankly, it’s almost impossible to do them justice in our limited time and space here in the podcast and blog. Even so, I wanted to highlight them for you because I enjoyed them so much myself.
The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective
The back cover of The Noticer book has a pull-quote from LPGA Hall of Fame golfer Nancy Lopez:
“The Noticer is completely absorbing. Anything less than stunning would be an understatement. This is not just one of the best books I have read . . . . It is the best book I have read in my life.”
Well, as a dedicated, committed Christian I have to just say for the record that the Bible is the best Book I have ever read, especially because it tells the “greatest story ever told.”
However, I do share Nancy Lopez’s enthusiasm for The Noticer.
Throughout the series, a somewhat mysterious character—identified only as “Jones”—plays a key role in bringing perspective to some otherwise dead-end situations.
Jones pops up unexpectedly just when circumstances seem beyond hope. His depth of wisdom, observations, and challenges bring “outside-the-box” solutions, not only to the struggling characters in the story, but—more importantly—to the readers who may be looking for answers themselves.
Here’s how this character Jones introduces himself to Andy (who, BTW, writes in the first person in all of his stories. He includes himself as one of the players in the drama):
“I am a noticer,” he [Jones] said. “I notice things that other people overlook. And you know, most of them are in plain sight.” The old man leaned back on his hands and cocked his head. “I notice things about situations and people that produce perspective. That’s what most people lack—perspective—a broader view. So I give them a broader view . . . and it allows them to regroup, take a deep breath, and begin their lives again.”
Several years after The Noticer was published, Andy came out with a sequel which he titled
The Noticer Returns: Sometimes you find perspective, and sometimes perspective finds you
Perspective is a powerful thing, and that’s why Andy writes about it so much. I think the best way for me to tell you about The Noticer Returns is to share a paragraph from the blurb on the front flyleaf of the dust cover.
“As the story unfolds, Jones uses his unique talent of noticing the little things that make a big difference. And these little things grant the people of Fairhope, Alabama, a life-changing gift—perspective. Along the way families are united and financial opportunities created, leaving us with powerfully simple solutions to the everyday problems we all face.”
This follow-up volume to The Noticer expands the horizons opened in the previous book, and as always, Andy’s writing is compelling and entertaining.
Robert Mayes, President of Columbia Southern University said this,
“Andy Andrews is America’s greatest storyteller since Mark Twain and perhaps our most interesting teacher since Robin Williams played John Keating in the movie Dead Poets Society. The Noticer Returns is another in his long line of winners.”
The third book in The Noticer series is titled
Just Jones: Sometimes a thing is impossible . . . . until it is actually done
The Noticer series is not really what we might call at “trilogy,” but Just Jones is, in fact, the third and final book in the set—unless, of course, Andy Andrews decides to write a fourth tale about his mysterious character he calls “Jones.”
Many storytellers surprise readers with an unexpected twist at the end of a book. In Just Jones, Andy throws a left curve at fans at the very beginning. After an absence of seven years, Jones is back—but he’s in jail! You’ll have to read the book to find out why. I’d be doing you a serious disservice if I spoiled the story for you, now wouldn’t I!
But I will tell you this: In Just Jones you will find great principles how communities can flourish, families can find healing, and lives can change for the better. You’ll find examples of love, respect, transparency, and healthy relationships. You’ll also find some keys to helping others grow through protecting them from premature censure and judgmentalism by uninformed or angry critics.
And, as with all Andy Andrews’ other books, Just Jones is anything but stodgy, yet provides powerful insights for positive living in a negative world.
Again, however, as I said at the beginning, although I thoroughly enjoyed reading these books, I still need to express a small disclaimer. I do highly recommend them. They are very entertaining, and the author uses his skill in storytelling to illustrate valuable lessons for healthy living and wholesome relationships.
That being said, you may find parts of these stories that don’t seem to fit with your personal outlook on life, or your spiritual belief system. That’s okay. Nevertheless, I found them of immense value by opening windows of understanding in the rooms of my mind. I’ve shared my thoughts with you today, so if you choose to read Andy’s books, you can also find the benefit and blessing that I enjoyed.
I hope you do read them. I’m confident you will be a better person for the journey.
For the record, if you would like to know more about Andy Andrews books, services, and other writings, I encourage you to visit his website at https://andyandrews.com. You can also find his books at Amazon.com, or anywhere books are sold. I’m sharing this information here because I have personally enjoyed Andy’s stories over the last few years. I have not received, nor do I solicit, any compensation for telling my readers about his materials.
Thank you so much for listening today! I pray you have been blessed or inspired.
Next week I’m going to begin a two-episode study on the prayer Jesus taught to his disciples, recorded in Matthew 6:9-13, commonly called “The Lord’s Prayer.”
I hope you can join me for that.