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Who in your life has influenced you? What life lessons did they teach you and how did you apply them? Rob White’s And Then I Met Margaret tells the true story of the ordinary people who influenced him and taught him essential life lessons that have propelled him through his life and career. Each chapter introduces one of these people and the lesson they taught him, and gives an example of how he (or others) benefited from the experience. This inspiring nonfiction book is a gift to its readers, leading them to recognize their own influences and become greater because of them.

Rob White grew up in a small town where tradition was strong and sons took after their fathers. Breaking those traditions, he moved away from his home, went to college, and became a teacher. Later, he went into the real estate business and traveled across the United States. He gained a lot of experience and eventually became very successful financially, but felt like he was missing something. Needing to find the missing piece, he spent his life searching for gurus who could tell him how to succeed in life. Finally, he realized that he had been surrounded by them all along.

From the selflessness of his Aunt Theresa to the former peanut vendor who simply decided not to die, he recounts the lives that touched his, whether they knew it or not. Taking readers on a journey through his life from his childhood in a small mill town to the successful career he enjoys today, he gives recognition to those lives that changed him into the man he is today. He recognizes that the simplest of things can cause a ripple effect, from the plunking of a penny in a jar to a new red dress, causing good deeds to be paid forward and leaving people with a new mindset or even a fresh start.

The overall message of the book – to pay it forward – is an appropriate response to those who have taught someone a life lesson, even if some never know the effect that they had. An ordinary stranger’s generosity can have a multitude of positive effects. A simple act of kindness will be remembered years after it occurs. The innocence of a child can bring about a change in perspective. And the ripples that these small things have can last a lifetime, benefiting people more than can ever be known.

A fairly short book at 188 pages, And Then I Met Margaret is nothing but inspirational. It’s obviously professionally edited, with few mistakes that do not distract from the reading experience. The format flows well and gives the book the feel of a cohesive whole. With chapter titles such as “Shakespeare in My Left Pants Pocket” and “The $3M Shakeup”, the author’s humorous outlook at painful past experiences displays the wisdom he gained from them. With great satisfaction, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is an amazing read and a truly inspiring story. I heartily recommend it for anyone looking for a new perspective on their life.

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