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Publisher's Summary

A Message to Garcia, written by legendary author Elbert Hubbard, is widely considered to be one of the top 100 greatest books of all time. This great classic will surely attract a whole new generation of listeners. For many, A Message to Garcia is required reading (or listening) for various courses and curriculums. And for others who simply enjoy timeless pieces of classic literature, this gem by Elbert Hubbard is highly recommended. A Message to Garcia should be a part of everyone's personal library.

Public Domain (P)2005 Gildan

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I wish it were so. But it generally isn't.

Unless you are 18 years old, plus or minus two or three years, you likely find the world a complicated place. People like you one day and hate you the next, you know not why. A machine works fine one day and dies the next for no apparent reason. And getting a thing done is rarely as easy as you imagine it to be.

It's also a scary place at times. Folks pose threats for no good reason. Sometimes they are family or neighbours. Sometimes they live half way around the world. What's with that?

It's also a disappointing place. People you thought you could trust and rely on, let you down for no apparent reason. They do the wrong thing - the opposite of the thing you'd have done in their shoes. They do it even if doing the right thing would not have been too hard. Why? That's too complicated a question to answer because human beings are quite complex creatures with infinitely varying motivations and all kinds of baggage. Ten people can look at one object and see eleven different things.

Sounds bleak, eh? Wouldn't it be nice if the world were simpler? Like if folks did what they were supposed to do, for what you believe are the right reasons. Wouldn't it be great if some folks were always motivated and diligent and loyal and acted with perfect integrity? Sure. But the world isn't like that. Sorry. Some folks are generally better due to good parenting, learning tough lessons, good dispositions, or what have you. But NO ONE is perfect.

Elbert Hubbard would like to see the world as a simple, black and white proposition. I wish he were correct, but he's not. He's oversimplifying up a storm in this book. The world isn't made up of good and bad people. You know intuitively it's not like that. Some people may fairly consistently be good in my eyes, but in another's eyes they may be bad. Or they may be good one day, but change later. Life's kooky like that.

Mr. Hubbard's vision is a nice pipe dream. But, unfortunately, that's all it is.

You probably do not need to fret. Just work at learning how to get by in our complicated world. Try reading lots of good books, but give this one a pass unless you just happen to be curious.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Timeless Lesson on Followership

A Message to Garcia reminds us that personal and professional success requires a commitment to action and excellence. When Hubbard urges the reader to take hold and "do the thing," Nike's "Just Do It!" campaign swooshed through my head.

The prose shows its age, as does its reference to the Spanish-American War, dinner pails, and offices filled with armies of clerks. Dont give up, dear reader. The anachronisms underscore1 the timelessness of the message, as does the grandfatherly voice of the narrator.

Conscientiousness. Independent action. An ethos of service. These are the characteristics that our bosses, investors, society wants: they all want the person who can be entrusted to carry a message to Garcia.

Along with the soft skills of leadership and self-improvement preached by current day writers, there is still room for embracing the harder realities of the professional world. There is still a need for more Rowans.

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My Favorite Motivation Title

It's very short, concise and has inspired millions.
The surface story is an extremely brief tale about a man who was trusted to get a job done.
The real message is to know what you're doing & work to get it done.
Show initiative, find a way, accomplish the mission.
There will always be a job for a man (or woman) who gets things done.

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Long time staple of the Marine Corps reading list

but recently taken off (as I understand it). Probably time to put it back on and help some millennia junior leaders think about its message. I had never heard of this short missive until a few years ago, long after I retired from the Army. But I came across it when I was looking for something short and sweet for my nephew who had joined the Marine Corps reserves. Turns out to be an excellent thinking piece, for young leaders, on a variety of issues, but probably on three important ones. First, the important of taking on any task and doing it to the best of your ability. Even simple tasks like delivering a message are important. Second, sometimes, doing something is hard work and not easy. So, in the common day vernacular of the military, it means, "buckle-up buttercup;" this is going to be hard! Something all leaders need to learn. Third, and lastly, finding the right person to do a job is important. As noted in the writing, someone can be a good accountant but not a good courier. Getting the job done right depends on the right person, even at mundane tasks. Good read and delivery by Kent McKamy, but might not be everyone's favorite voice. Also, its a book that you can and should read more than once. Overall, a good addition to a reading list on leadership, management, or business in general.

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incredibly relevant even today

this is still relevant more than a century later. I've got several versions of this essay and audio. this reader makes it engaging and his tones make it easier to understand where some of my students may not already some of the language used

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  • Allen
  • San Antonio, TX United States
  • 04-10-16

Seldom spoken truths ...

Quoting from "The Richest Man in Babylon":

"Work was my grandfather's secret key to the golden shekels? "

"It was the only key he had when I first knew him. Thy grandfather enjoyed working, and the Gods appreciated his efforts and rewarded him liberally."

If you appreciate that logic, you'll appreciate "A Letter to Garcia"

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listen to this everyday

loving it over and over again. I've owned the hard back for fifteen years and now this gift to myself has changed my life.

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The beginning of Excellence

A very short but to the point message to anyone who wants to know what Excellence looks like. There is some who make excuses to not be excellent and you will see them or rather hear them rant and cry "it is impossible" or "there is no point to Excellence" but the proof is that no such person you will find at the top, at the command of anything, neither in charge or trusted upon to do what is necessary.

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  • Sean
  • United States
  • 06-19-13

A great message...

..of taking initiative and pride in what you do, no matter what line of work. Something we see a little less of with each passing day in the United States. We're seeing a more greedy, narcissistic and nasty culture starting to rear it's ugly head. "A Message to Garcia" re-minds us of the "can do" spirit that made, and can continue to make, this country the greatest the world has ever known. It's worth 10 minutes of your life.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • ganiyu
  • 11-03-12

Your better off reading The book of Proverbs.

The point of this book is to go the extra mile. Or hire the person that goes the extra mile.

There you have it in a nutshell.



Your better off reading The book of Proverbs.