5 Things I Learned from Reading The Godfather

I finished The Godfather last night.  As much as I want to think I am a hardcore reader I’m really not.  It’s not always easy to set aside time to read with 2 young active kids, a wife and a full time job.  But maybe because it was the Holidays and I had a little more free time than usual I was able to read it in about 2 weeks.  Not bad, an average of about 32 pages a day.  Although I read 130 of those pages the last two days to finish it.

It goes to show you that you can read any book if you just give yourself a little time.  Try for 10 pages a day.  My guess is you’ll find the time to read more like 20 – 30 pages.  Especially if it’s a good book.  If it’s not a good book, than put it down and pick up another one.  There are just too many great books out there to waste any time on a book you aren’t enjoying.

I have primarily been a Nonfiction reader the last few years.  The last Fiction book I was was Marley and Me and that was about 8 years ago.  It was Steven Pressfield’s new novel that got me thinking about going back into Fiction.  That coupled with Stephen King’s book about writing, “On Writing”, which I have been listening to on Audio caused me to develop a craving for a good story.

I found a copy of “The Godfather” in the FREE TAKE ME section of my library.  No cover, a little beat up on the outside, but free and perfectly fine on the inside.  And that’s what really counts, right?  The inside.

I tracked down the old book and opened it up.  Mario Puzo had me hooked within a few pages.  I have seen the movies many times but Puzo goes into so much more detail.  I always figured the book would be pretty much exactly like the movie.  The movie did a great job but what was a pleasant surprise was that parts of the Godfather II were in the book.

As you probably recall, the Godfather II focuses on the Don’s early life in NY as well as Michael’s new role as the Godfather.  I always loved the scenes in Part II seeing the history of Don Corleone.  I was thrilled to get a chance to read the story with so much more detail.

Clearly I am recommending this book to any adult interested in the mafia, crime, family or even love.  There are a ton of love stories intertwined.




Five things I learned from reading the Godfather


  1. You get a sense of accomplishment when you read a book of length.  I know that it wasn’t War and Peace at 1200 plus pages.  But it’s not a book you can read overnight.  You need to develop and maintain a reading habit and stick to it.  It helps when the story is good of course.  I did get chills when I finished the book.
  2. Your mood is altered when you read a book.  I first learned this when I read “The Catcher in the Rye“. I remember being so somber, almost depressed when I was reading that book.  This is true with Nonfiction as well.  Read a book on Happiness (like The Happiness Advantage) and you’ll feel happy.  Maybe that’s why Fifty Shades of Grey was so popular….
  3. You don’t have more time to read but you will use your time to read.  We usually sit around and watch tv.  Law and Order, sports, Speed, The Lost Boys, whatever we can find.  But for those two weeks I kept the TV off or if it was turned on, I was focusing on the book and not the TV.  There were also times when a game would be on,  the TV muted and my face buried in the book.  We still only have 24 hours but we can decide how to use them.
  4. You want to talk about the book to everyone!  That’s all you can think about.  You will seek out people you think would be interested in the book and talk with them about it.  You will start to think you are a weirdo because you read and not watch the latest episode of This is Us.  But you don’t care because you are so happy with yourself and so in love with the story you are reading.
  5. When you finish, you will celebrate briefly and then pick up the next book.  Congratulations.  You are now a reader.  You now have the habit inside of you.  Now you can move on to the next one and fall in love with those characters.  Remember though, if you don’t like it, put it down and pick up another one.


Happy Reading!


-Keith Laskey


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Notes on Og Mandino’s “The Greatest Salesman in the World”

The Book: “The Greatest Salesman in the World” by Og Mandino



What I like: Quick read with actionable Success principles that can be applied today.

Who should read this book?: A person that is looking for Success Principles and secrets.  A person that enjoys parables and stories.

Who might not like this book?: A person that enjoys only straight forward non-fiction business type books.  A person that does not like stories related to Christianity.


Mandino gives us a tremendous parable with the purpose of shedding light on Success Secrets.  I love parables and I love books on Success.  So this one was right in my wheelhouse.  Also, it’s relatively short.  You could easily read this book in an afternoon.

Here are some notes I have starting on Chapter IX.  The first 8 chapters focus on the fact that there are secrets to selling that can be learned.  The back story is that the main character is given a scroll from the wealthiest man in the land.  What he learns from these scrolls will help him become the greatest salesman in the world.


Chapter VIII – Scroll 1 

Today I begin a new life.  I will form good habits.


Chapter IX – Scroll 2

I will greet this day with Love in my heart.  Dig for reasons to applaud.  I will greet this day with love and I will succeed.


Chapter X – Scroll 3

I will persist until I succeed.  I will build my castle one brick at a time.  I will never consider defeat.  I must have the night to appreciate the day.  I will persist.  I will win.  Never end the day with a failure.  Each new day is the greatest day of your life.


Chapter XI – Scroll 4

I am Natures greatest miracle.  I have unlimited potential.  I am unique and valuable.  My purpose is to grow a mountain.  I will seek constantly to improve my manners and grace.  All of m problems, discouragements and heartbreaks are great opportunity in disguise.


Chapter XII – Scroll 5

I will live this day as if it was my last.  Is this my day to excel?  Each hour of this day will I cherish for it can never return.  Destroy procrastination with action.  Bury doubt with faith.  Dismember fear with confidence.  Today is my last chance to prove my love and greatness.  My last day must be my best.  I will live today as if it was my last.  And if it is not, I shall fall to my knees and give thanks.


Chapter XIII – Scroll 6

Today I will master my emotions.  I make my own weather.  When I master my mood I will control my destiny.


Chapter XIV – Scroll 7

I will laugh at the world.  This too shall pass.  If all things shall pass why should I be of concern for today.  Ans so long as I can laugh never will I be poor.  Only with laughter and happiness can I truly become a success.  I will be happy.  I will be successful.  I will be the greatest salesman the world has ever known.


Chapter XV – Scroll 8

Today I will multiply my value a hundred fold.  I need not wait for I have the power to choose my own destiny.  Set goals. Aim for the moon.  Always strive to make the next hour better than this one.  Announce goals to the world.


Chapter XVI – Scroll 9

I will act now.  Action is the food and drink which will nourish my success.  Repeat.  I will act now, every hour until acting is a habit.  Now is all I have.  I will command, and I will obey my own command.  This is the time.  This is the place.  I am the man.  I will act now.


Chapter XVII – Scroll 10

Pray to the Higher Power.  Pray for guidance, not material things.


Similar Books

“The Traveler’s Gift” by Andy Andrews, “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho,  “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George Clayson.

My name is Keith Laskey. I read books, take notes and share my thoughts and ideas. My goal is empower you and help you select your next life changing book.


The Seven Decisions-A Breakdown of “The Travelers Gift” by Andy Andrews

Have you heard of Andy Andrews?  I have read or listened to six of his books.  The first was “The Travelers Gift“. (affiliate link)

“The Travelers Gift” is a story about an executive, David Ponder, who loses his job due to a hostile takeover of his company.  For the first time in his life he finds himself out of money and unable to care for his wife, Ellen and daughter, Jenny.  A proud man, Ponder is now forced to take a job at a hardware store working for a grumpy old man.  Meanwhile his wife, a former stay at home mom, must start cleaning houses to help make ends meet.





One day while at the store Ponder gets a phone call from his wife.  Their daughter is sick and will need to have her tonsils removed.  With no money and no way of borrowing Ponder finds himself in a seemingly hopeless position.  He hangs up the phone and turns to see the agitated owner of the hardware store.  The owner scolds David Ponder for taking a personal call at work and fires him on the spot.

Hopeless, broke and out of ideas.  Ponder is left to wonder, “Why me?

The helpless man leaves the store and goes for a drive before heading home to give his family the bad news.  It’s Winter.  Ponder steps on the gas peddle of his old beat up Dodge Colt that he bought for $900 from a high school kid.  He starts to contemplate how his family would be if he was not around.  He still had the life insurance policy.  Maybe everyone would be better without him.

Thoughts raced through his head as he started to go faster and faster in the old Colt.  Why me?  Why me?  Ponder approached an icy bridge and did not see the black ice.  As the car careened off the road and headed right towards a giant oak tree, Ponder screamed,

“Please God!  Why Me?”


The Seven Decisions

Andy Andrews believes that he has discovered Seven Decisions that lead to Personal Success.  He uses the life of David Ponder to disclose these principles to us.

Andrews uses historical figures to show how the principles need to be used in order to find great success in life.  Some are very well known, some are not.  The book is not only a great inspirational book for personal development but also a fine lesson in history.

At each visit he is given a paper or a scroll or letter, something that contains the decisions for Ponder to take with him throughout his journey.

The First Decision For Success

After Ponder screams his last words, “Why Me?” he finds himself laying on the floor of an old building in Potsdam, Germany sitting face to face with an older man.

It’s July 24, 1945.  The day the decision was made to drop the Atomic bomb.  The man is Harry Truman.

The Buck Stops Here

I accept Responsibility for past.  I control my thoughts.  I control my emotions.  I am responsible for my success.  The Buck stops here

Are you in control of your life?  Are you leading your ship or are you a passenger, allowing others to determine where you go. Do you blame moments of the past for your current situation?  Do you allow the weather to determine how you feel?  STOP!

Take control over everything that matters.  Today.  You and only you should be in control over your success.


The Second Decision For Success

After reading the last sentence from the paper, Ponder began his travel to another part of the world at another time.  He came to and found himself in a time when King Solomon was the ruler.  The setting is a large room filled with people all paying attention to a commotion between two women.  You have most likely heard this story before.

The Judgement of Solomon.  King Solomon  was known to be extremely wise.  This is why Andrews used him to explain the Second Decision.

I Will Seek Wisdom.

I will be a servant to others. I will listen to the counsel of wise men. I will choose my friends with care. I will seek wisdom.”

Do you read?  Remember, rich people have big libraries and poor people have big TVs.  Do you ask the advice of those you find to be wiser than you?  Do you hang out with people that can help you grow and not tear you down?  Do you help others or hinder them.  Never stop growing.


The Third Decision For Success

Next on Ponder’s trip was a visit to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  During the American Civil War.  Ponder gains consciousness  to the sound of gun shots and cannons.  He is in the middle of the battle.  Suddenly he is lifted up and out of harms way by Colonel Joshua Chamberlain.  Do yourself a favor and read up on Chamberlain.  You may want thank him for what he did for us when you’re through.

In a nutshell, Chamberlain’s group of men was the extreme left for the Union Army that was protecting Gettysburg.  Most of his men were dead or severely injured and they were out of ammunition.  They could not retreat as that would mean the South would advance and take Gettysburg.  They couldn’t sit there and wait for the rebel troups as that would mean sure defeat.  Chamberlain had no choice but to charge.

I am a Person of Action

I do not fear failure, for in my life, failure is a myth. Failure exists only for the person who quits. I do not quit. I am courageous . I am a leader . I seize this moment. I choose now. I am a person of action.”

Act.  Do not hesitate.  Do not fill your mind with possibilities of negative outcomes.  Take action.

The Fourth Decision For Success

David Ponder’s next voyage was just that, a voyage.  He found himself on a ship in the dark in the middle of the ocean on the Santa Maria.  Andrews uses Christopher Columbus to explain his next decision.

I have a Decided Heart

Say what you like about Columbus.  He arrived in the America’s and was ruthless to the locals.  He kidnapped some into slavery and brought with him disease that would wipe out entire cultures.  But he was not the only one.  It was the Age of Discovery and Exploration.  And the worst was yet to come to the group of people that would become known as the Indians.

But Columbus is a perfect representation for this Decision.  He was certain he would find all the riches and gold of the world when he set sail.  Despite being turned down several times by several countries, it’s Spain that finally agrees to sponsor the explorer.  Columbus set sail on August 3, 1492, stopped at the Canary Islands to stock up on supplies and then left.  It would take five weeks to get across the ocean and “discover” what is now known as The Bahamas.

He wouldn’t find gold but what he did find would change the world forever. The shipmates on the Santa Maria pleaded with Columbus to turn around.  The conditions were awful.  But Columbus would not relent.  He knew in his heart that land was on the horizon.

I will not wait. I am passionate about my vision for the future. My course has been charted. My destiny is assured. I have a decided heart.

What could you discover if you were so passionate about your future?


The Fifth Decision for Success

After Ponder’s experience with Columbus he is taken to another part of the world in another time.  It’s October 28th, 1943 and he is sitting with a little girl in the annex.  He is with Anne Frank and her family as they are in hiding during the Nazi Occupation of Holland.

Today I Will Choose to be Happy

What could Anne Frank, a little girl in hiding, teach us about being happy?  A lot as it turns out.  David Ponder sits with the little girl and shares a conversation that would change his life.

Is being happy a choice?  Can you decide what kind of mood you are in?  I absolutely believe so.  Good things and bad things will come your way.  You can decide how these things effect you.  Be grateful and express gratitude.  Smile often, laugh with you friends and family.

I will be grateful for the miracle of abundance. I will greet each day with laughter. I will smile at every person I meet. I am the possessor of a grateful spirit. Today I will choose to be happy.


The Sixth Decision for Success

Ponder’s next experience is in a familiar place.  He’s back in Gettysburg.  It’s November 19th, 1863 and David Ponder has found himself in the presence of the Sixteenth President of the United States.  President Abraham Lincoln was there to dedicate the cemetery in Gettysburg. David Ponder was there to learn about the next important decision.

I Will Greet This Day with a Forgiving Spirit.

How many hours have you lost due to resentment and anger?  How many relationships have been ruined as a result of your ability to say “I forgive you”?  How many opportunities went by the wayside because you couldn’t forgive the one person that matters most, you?

Holding on to anger of another person is an incredible waste of time and energy.  Often times the other party has no idea of your feelings anyway!  Through Lincoln, Andrews suggests that you forgive everyone even though mostly everyone will never ask for forgiveness.  Forgiveness is not something to be hoarded inside but rather  should be given away whenever possible.  It has no value unless it is given away.

If and when you make a mistake, do not keep yourself down.  Own the errors of your ways and forgive yourself so that you can move forward and continue to grow.

From this day forward, my history will cease to control my destiny. I have forgiven myself. My life has just begun. I will forgive even those who do not ask for forgiveness. I will forgive those who criticize me unjustly. I will forgive myself. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit.


The Seventh Decision for Success

Ponder leaves Lincoln in Gettysburg and finds himself transported to a place unlike one he has ever seen before.  A building with no walls or structural support of any kind.  He’s not even sure it is a building.  As he walks around he sees stacks of papers and photos.  He see aisles of beds and cures for diseases along with every other thing you could imagine.

David sat there in complete confusion, unable to put together exactly where he was.  There was no smell. There was a soft, even glow of light but there were no light fixtures of any kind.

After a short time of wonder, a figure who appears to be a man finally appeared.  Soon enough David Ponder realized he was in the presence of an angel, an archangel to be exact.  Gabriel.

Gabriel walks Ponder through this mysterious place.  It is his final and most important stop before he is to return to his family.  It proves to be the most difficult stop.  As David wonders around he comes across a photo of two children that is very familiar to him.  He can’t seem to get it out his mind that the children mean something to him.

The archangel tells David the names of the children, Julia and Jason.  David comments that they always wanted more children but did not think they could afford it.  Just then he realizes that he is looking at a picture of the children he never had.  Gabriel confirms the realization and explains to David that where they are in a warehouse filled the dreams and goals of the less courageous.

It’s a very somber moment.  There are no second chances.  Once an opportunity is missed, it is gone forever.  You will miss some, plenty actually.  But there will be many many more.  Be ready.

I Will Persist Without Exception

“I will believe in the future that I do not see. That is faith. And the reward of this faith is to see the future that I believed. I will continue despite exhaustion. I focus on results. I am a person of great faith.  I will persist without exception.”

See the things you desire, feel them, crave them, go after them.  Do not stop until everything you desire has been attained.  The journey will not always be easy but you will find you can have everything in life that you want as long as you go after it and persist without exception.



I will leave it in your hands to discover the conclusion for yourself.  The first time I read “The Travelers Gift” (affiliate link)  was actually via audio.  I recall sitting in traffic as the story came to an end with tears streaming down my face.  Tears of joy, hope and wonder.  Tears of fear as the realization came to me that my success is up to me.  Not my manager at the time.  Not my parents or friends or who I have in my network.  It’s up to me.

Your success is up to you.  Go get it!


The Seven Decisions

  • 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


Please share your thoughts on this review and please feel free to share this post with anyone that you think could use some help as they attempt to achieve success.


 My name is Keith Laskey.  I actually believe children are our future.  I write articles about how we can empower our youth so that the world will be a better place for all of us. 


*Affiliate links mean I receive a profit if you purchase any of the recommended items.  I won’t get rich of this and would never recommend anything I haven’t used or had experience with.  It’s just me spreading the word on a good product.