Philip Giordano’s family is preparing for his birthday party, and has designated his daughter Michelle to keep him distracted and busy during the process. With the help of he begins asking him questions about his views on how to find significance in one’s life, how to balance love and power, and the importance of relationships, among other questions. Each chapter addresses a particular topic and his response to it, along with a quick summary paragraph at the end and some questions for readers to address in their own journaling and self-examination process.
Giordano is not afraid to bare his soul in this very personal book, talking about everything from the birth of his children to his religious commitment, his regret over educational and relationship choices, his volunteer activities and how he discovered his vocation for leadership and coaching. The framing of the discussion in a personal talk between a father and daughter allows the reader to see the principles Giordano discusses in intimate, concrete practice. It also provides an example of the vulnerability and honest self-examination needed in order to determine whether you are truly living a life of significance, where love guides and focuses your actions and power gives them force and concrete effect. The principles he advocates are valuable, central to any fulfilling and valuable human existence – relationship, honesty, deep and unconditional love, and learning from one’s mistakes and failures rather than dwelling on guilt and regret. However, there are times the dialogue feels stilted and unrealistic, more interviewer talking to subject or lecturer addressing an audience than father and daughter having a discussion. They have a tendency to speak using coaching-speak rather than ordinary familial language – “What are the lessons you learned from the value of friendship in your life?”, for example. Sometimes, Giordano also gets understandably caught up in his own life stories, and they, rather than the principles they are supposed to be illustrating, become the focus of the book. A more direct approach, speaking directly to the reader and using more straightforward language, might be more engaging.
DISCOVERING SIGNIFICANCE is at its heart, a deeply intimate exploration of how values and principles can shape life experiences, giving meaning and significance to our lives both for ourselves and those around us.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader