In this debut memoir, a life insurance executive retires early and focuses his life on family and faith.
Executive-turned–inspirational writer Sievert tells how he went from running the rat race to living a life of grace. He writes that he wasn’t particularly devout as he was growing up, although at age 12 he had a “mystical experience” that led to a close relationship with God. He traces what he sees as God’s influence in his life, including an incident when he suddenly told his father to stop the car before backing out of a driveway; incredibly, a neighborhood toddler was fast asleep behind a rear tire. After marrying, climbing the corporate ladder and becoming president of New York Life Insurance, Sievert left a successful career to attend divinity school and pursue “things that really mattered.” This wasn’t easy for Sievert, a man who got by on minimal sleep and checked his email at 4 a.m. while on vacation. The author writes about how his faith saw through personal crises (infertility, the deaths of his parents) as well as professional ones (project failures, stressful job situations). The book starts slowly, but the stories soon gather momentum. Sievert’s prose is crisp and clear, and his tales about his family are particularly moving. Although he was clearly a power player during his business career, he never comes off as arrogant, instead modestly and honestly relating his faults and struggles. (One story, about how he worked to change tax law, delves a bit too deeply into insurance company workings, but otherwise, the book is free of business jargon.) He also tells about the challenge of raising a son who suffered from depression. “I trust in God’s wisdom and believe our experiences, both joyful and dreadful, have a divine purpose,” Sievert writes. He follows each chapter with exercises for reflection to help those interested in using the book for individual or group study.
A memoir with practical and often powerful inspirational advice.