Humbled by the Journey

Mike Fernandez

Summary:

In “Humbled by the Journey: Life Lessons For My Family…And Yours”, from which the proceeds will go to The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation, Miguel "Mike" Benito Fernandez takes readers on parallel journeys: A 508-mile pilgrimage along El Camino de Santiago from France through Spain – and from a dirt road Cuban town to the pinnacles of U.S. business success. The book shines a light on the lessons Mike has learned over a lifetime of working tirelessly, overcoming obstacles and “showing up.” The most important lesson: “You have to take care of those who come after you.”

In 2013, Mike hiked along El Camino -- an ancient, spiritual trail that attracts "pilgrims" from around the world -- with a pledge for each mile that led to more than $5 million for a children's hospital. The experience was challenging and rigorous and provided Mike with a unique opportunity to embrace his life in a deep, meaningful way. “Humbled by the Journey” is part self-portrait, part adventure story, and shuttles readers back and forth between Mike’s path on El Camino and his journey through life. El Camino becomes a metaphorical backdrop as Mike narrates the details of his 62 years of living.

In 1964, in the midst of revolutionary activity in Cuba, Mike’s family was expelled from their rural hometown without any warning or money and soon after made New York City home. Suddenly, they all were on a new trajectory of unforeseen challenges, opportunities and lessons. Mike lumbered through school, while working as a floor cleaner and delivery boy to help pay for tuition. During these years, Mike learned about values and principles from those around him, including his father and an extraordinary Jesuit priest. After a stint in the Army, Mike worked as a door-to door salesman, selling health insurance, and subsequently found his stride in business and success, against great odds.

Since then, Mike has given more than $125 million to causes focused on health care, education and those most in need. He requires only this: Recipients must want to help themselves, be willing to sacrifice to gain a better future, and promise to pay it forward when they can.

Filled with engaging stories and beautiful photographs, “Humbled by the Journey” is more than a rags-to-riches tale; it is a celebration of family, an appreciation of the brief encounters, fleeting moments and memorable events that irrevocably changed a man’s life. With humor, compassion and optimism, Mike inspires and reminds readers, that by giving to and connecting with others, they will gain for themselves the ultimate prize: a rewarding and “rich” life. (Summary and book cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Please note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review courtesy of the author and his publicist.  (Summary and photo courtesy of Mike Fernandez)

Review:

“Humbled by the Journey” vastly surpassed my expectations.  For starters, the book is truly a work of art; closer to a scrapbook than a traditional novel in many way.    Photos, maps and quotes are all woven into the story that creates a charming package.

I have known about El Camino de Santiago for many years so I was very interested to hear about Mike’s experiences.  In the book, however, Mike alternates narrating his journey with business experiences, reflections on his family and the history of his family.  I appreciated that variety because it kept the story from becoming stale with repeated reporting about walking day-in and day-out.  Mike really does have a fascinating story to tell.  Additionally, the experiences introduced many business guidelines that had me reflecting how I approach things in my work.  I would highly recommend this book as a reflection on how to balance business and the things that really matter from life; all from someone who was extremely successful in both.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Folks interested in a fantastic true story weaving travel, history and business altogether.

Please note: "Humbled by the Journey" is available only at www.booksandbooks.com and proceeds from the book will The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation or enter to win a copy!  See more information with my interview with my author.