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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
Mar 2007
Harvest House Publishers

The Richest Person in the World: A Modern-Day Parable

by Stan Toler & Debra White Smith

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


A rash of novellas has hit the Christian markets lately that offer stories of some man who is in a mess with his family, his business, and his testimony. Miraculously, someone appears in his life who offers him wise counsel and, voila, 150 pages later the guy's life is turned around and life is peachy keen. First was The Janitor, next was Jack's Notebook, and now we have The Richest Person in the World by Stan Toler and Debra White Smith. None of these books is written well, and this latest one is the worst of the lot.

Many years ago, a book was written called The Richest Man In Babylon that offered phenomenal lessons about life management, money management, and personal fulfillment. The Richest Person in the World cannot light a candle to it. In this latter book we have a guy named Keith Richardson (yes, I realize it sounds like one of the Rolling Stones) who has a best pal named Joseph Conrad (yes, just like the man who wrote Lord Jim). Keith's a total dork. He has lost his wife's $300,000 of family inheritance because of poor financial investing, he has gotten caught being photographed with the office tramp at a holiday party, and now he has run off from Detroit to Seattle without telling his wife so that he can visit with his old pal Joseph Conrad. Joe runs a coffee shop and lives on a small farm. He has two pals who go fishing a lot and are Vietnam veterans.

The book is so poorly written it literally makes you groan as you read it. It is filled with terrible puns and out-dated jokes that the characters in the book think are riotously funny and are always howling with laughter over. Ugh! Keith's wife Jenny thinks her husband is cheating on her, so she breaks into her husband's business office and is almost caught by Keith's boss. When Keith has someone check up on her after she won't answer his calls, Jenny believes he really loves her, so she flies to Seattle to surprise him. They have a nice talk, spend the night together, and decide to sell their home, pay off their debts, and live happily together thereafter. Oh, how sweet, and how smarmy can you get. It takes 50 pages just to get into the "lesson" aspects of the story (if you last that long). At the back of the book there is a list of ten life principles, but they are never really worked into the story.

Twenty years ago Ken Blanchard started writing these little novellas, such as The One Minute Manager, and they had a season of popularity. Today, they are too shallow and silly and poorly written to hold anyone's attention. Christian publishing needs to realize this and get out of this genre. It's a snore. – Dr. Dennis Hensley, Christian Book

Book Jacket:

This engaging, modern–day parable invites readers to experience an upbeat and balanced life. Readers will find important keys to discovering what truly matters most, strengthening relationships, and establishing healthy priorities.