Beginning in troubled times but working toward personal achievements, this memoir attributes success to values like determination and self-confidence.
Leonard Restall’s career-minded memoir, My Life of High Adventure, covers his numerous achievements in order to encourage others to set and achieve their own goals, too.
Born in London during the Great Depression, Restall was brought up in a loving home. His father played a significant, positive role in his life and sparked his son’s love for sports and music. Restall became a physical training instructor for the Royal Air Force and later served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, too. Later in his life, he entered into teaching and enjoyed academic achievements.
The book’s coverage of everyday activities, including those in relation to World War II, juxtaposes Restall’s experiences with school and learning carpentry with more horrific events, like aircraft being shot down, a tall building being flattened by a loud bomb, and sheltering when alarms sounded. Such contrasts are unnerving. They are met with endearing memories, as of Restall’s first meeting with his wife, and of dancing, sunbathing, and watching films with her; such stories are amplified by clear family photographs depicting the couple’s joy and excitement.
More practical sections cover Restall’s thesis work at university and his teaching experiences. These become didactic, covering effective teaching methods that are said to ensure that students are engaged and willing to learn. Restall recalls realizing that challenged students perform better when they are encouraged to see the value in what they are supposed to learn. He also recommends understanding each student’s personality. Such choices in his own teaching career, he says, led to strong student performances.
In discussing success specifically, Restall credits his sense of fulfillment to early values and consistency. Even during World War II, he says, his perspectives on success did not wane. Personal confidence and the continual pursuit of tough goals are a constant theme throughout, helping to hold the book’s various pieces together.
The book’s language is direct and accessible, and Restall is good about explaining the fine points of his academic work. But mistakes in grammar and punctuation undermine the book and hinder its flow, and military acronyms are shared without the context necessary for outsiders to be able to follow along.
Beginning in troubled times but working toward personal achievements, the memoir My Life of High Adventure champions values like determination and self-confidence.
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