I thought going into this book, that I thought I knew what I would be reading, but on many fronts it surprised me with things I didn't expect. James Doty grew up poor, with a father who was an alcoholic and a mother who suffered bouts of depression and had a stroke. He finds himself at a local magic shop, initially to look for new magic tricks to learn, but there he learns some skills from the owners mother Ruth, who teaches him meditation skills and how to seek out what he wants from his life.
We learn about how, with not the greatest of grades he gets to attend medical school and find the best training program that he wants to train in. A successful career, wealth and a good future are all down to the skills he learned as a young man in the back room of the magic shop.
He is now the director at the Centre for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford, gets to meet the Dalai Lama and it is truly an extraordinary story, that was almost too good to be true, with me wondering if it was actually fiction rather than a memoir. 5/5