Saturday, February 25, 2012

Priceless - a book review

Here is my story to be added to this book.
I met Carlos Fontana at a hotel I was staying at for a LIFE seminar. I had no clue who he was upon our first encounter. I was walking down the hall of the hotel going to breakfast when this power of a man turned down the hall walking toward me. Not quite sure how else to describe him. He is tall and strong of build. And he had this serious look on his face (talking to him later, it was the look of a man on a mission). I was walking down the hall with one of my roommates and I was going to step behind my roommate when we got closer to this gentleman coming toward us. A lesson I have learned in these past 10 years is to walk with confidence so that people don't take you as an easy target.

This gentleman started making motions to us. I couldn't quite decipher them. I thought he was motioning us to move apart so he could squeeze down the middle (meaning that he was a fun guy). So...I stepped toward the wall. That's when he said, "No, you need to move closer together." My immediate response (which I was very proud of my lack of hesitation) was, "Oh, I thought you were trying to part us like the Red Sea." A few moments later, after passing us, he said, "That was a good response." My roommate and I both turned around to look at him. His tone of voice left us wondering whether or not I had just offended him.

Turns out I didn't. He caught back up to us at breakfast and complimented me on my response in the hallway. Because of my response he wanted to share with me two books. Priceless and Follow to Lead. I used my acquired knowledge from How To Read A Book by Mortimer J Adler and skimmed through them as we ate our breakfast. What I had seen, these books were definitely worth the $10 each that I bought them for.

Priceless is a collection of stories on the return of spending $10 or less. This $10 that I spent caused me to laugh and cry many times over. It touched my heart and inspired me to be a greater person. It inspired me to do more with less. It taught me that I don't always know how much the simple things I do in life affect the people around me. It also allowed me the fantastic memory of reading this book as bedtime stories to three grown men on the way home from the seminar that weekend. The "dad" of the group let me know how wonderful he thought it was because he doesn't ever remember being read to.'s some inspiration for you... grab a good book, one of your favorites or one you've been meaning to start.... grab a grown person ...and read to them. I get the luxury of doing this every night as my hubby snuggles up with the girls for bedtime stories. He says that it's usually his favorite times of the day. You never know the effect you may have on someone else's life.

Also, if you have a story of the best $10 you ever spent, go to and share your story.

UPDATE: Found this going through emails on this snowday:

By William Stuart

My wife and I were at our first stop on our annual Christmas shopping day, making our purchase at Bath and Body Works. After Nadia completed the transaction, I told my wife, “She was the nicest person we’ll meet all day.” My wife was skeptical, as we had a long day of shopping ahead of us and would interact with more than a dozen clerks, associates and wait staff. I suggested that we “make it interesting,” so we put a $10 wager on my prediction.

As the day went on, we visited a number of stores. Some associates were helpful, while others ignored us or brushed us off. By mid-afternoon, we had come full circle geographically and returned to the first mall for a late lunch. As we ate, my wife admitted that I had been right about Nadia and that I had won the bet.

Then, she had a brilliant idea. “You don’t need the ten bucks,” she told me. “Why don’t we walk over to the coffee shop across the street, but a $10 gift card and present it to Nadia?”


We purchased the card and returned to Bath and Body Works. Nadia, who was ringing in a customer’s purchase, saw us and immediately asked, “Oh, no, what did I do wrong this morning?” I replied, “Nothing. We just want to speak with you after you’re done with that customer.” During the next five minutes, as she completed the customer’s transaction, Nadia looked nervously at us periodically and her co-workers looked at us suspiciously. When the customer was finished, she remained out of curiosity to see why we had returned to the store.

With Nadia’s undivided attention, we told her about the bet and presented her with her $10 gift certificate. She was overwhelmed and nearly broke down in tears. Nadia is a single mother of two teen-age boys, balancing family life, a full-time job and school. She told us that no one had ever done anything like this for her before.

Afterwards, my wife and I agreed that it was the best $10 that we had ever spent. And now we’ve started a tradition that we’ll continue not only on our annual Christmas shopping day, but on other occasions as well.

Imagine – a mere $10 gift card can boost a person’s confidence and make her feel really good about herself. It doesn’t take much of an investment to make an impact on someone’s life. I can’t believe that we didn’t think of this years earlier – but I’m grateful that it didn’t take us years longer to realize this simple truth. And I’ll never walk around again without a $10 coffee gift card in my wallet to recognize someone’s kindness or effort.

Bill Stuart, a health insurance executive and writer, and his wife Chris, a rehabilitation manager and small business owner, live south of Boston with their four children. They travel, though, so they could run into you any time, anywhere. Will your random interaction with them be worthy of a token of appreciation?
Bill submitted this story and said “I am a loyal Daily Insight reader, an occasional customer, a frequent Webinar participant and an overall fan of your site and business model. I’ve been inspired by Friday Stories for years. Perhaps this story below will inspire others.”
Bill we certainly hope so. You inspired us! 
Bill can be reached at

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