I love my team over at 5 Minutes for Books. We each have a different favorite type of book, and so we are able to accomplish the goal of reviewing a large variety of books. We publish reviews for interesting and unique books along with recent bestsellers — for kids of all ages, gift-giving occasions, and most importantly — yourself!
I don’t think its possible to say enough nice things about How to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life. Seriously. At first I was deterred from it because of the cover art. It was distracting. I also knew absolutely nothing about Walt Disney when I cracked the pages of this 389 page biography published by HCI Books. When I finally did get around to reading it, I intended to skim it. As it turns out, skimming is the last thing I found myself wanting to do as I learned about the man behind the mouse: Walt Disney. I devoured this book, word by word!
Walt Disney has to be one of the most admirable men I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about. Sure he had his faults and this book does not ignore them. However, in the grand scheme of things, he really was an above-board sort of fellow, devoted to his wife and family, with strong work ethics and a servant’s heart. I can imagine that he was absolutely charming to know.
I think the thing that I appreciated most in learning about Walt was his desire to dream big dreams. The focus of this book is teaching people the principals that Walt followed in his own life, and making them your own. Each chapter tells you a little more of who Walt is and then offers encouragement as to how you could pattern your own attitude to mirror his (It’s like a practical application section smack dab in the middle of a biography which is really unique and interesting, I thought!). Williams talks about how Walt lived life as an adventure, how he dared to do impossible things, how he lived for the next generation and how he unleashed his imagination.
For my part, I honed in on the fact that Walt was a great dreamer with an excellent imagination. He was constantly coming up with new ideas and new approaches to old ideas in order to improve life not only for himself but for his fellow man. He knew he had great ideas when he was met with opposition or someone told him that something “couldn’t be done.” If everyone had agreed with him that his goals were achievable, then he knew that he wasn’t dreaming big enough. Williams offers this about Walt:
Children are naturally creative because they haven’t learned to inhibit their own creativity. They still see the world with childlike wonder. They look up at the clouds and see castles, pirate ships, and dinosaurs; adults look up and see only clouds. “Every child is born blessed with a vivid imagination,” said Walt. “But just as a muscle grows flabby with disuse, so the bright imagination of a child pales in later years if he ceases to exercise it” (page 66).
Walt was never content with the status quo. He was always looking for something better and typically he found it. I would like to dream like that.
There are countless ways which I learned to admire the man Walt Disney. I appreciated his integrity towards his family, particularly. Even though he was extremely busy being the most popular man in the country, Sundays belonged to his family. Furthermore, he attended every concert and school event for his two daughters that parents were invited to attend. He wanted his children to know that they mattered to him and they grew up knowing that they did. His daughter, Diane, is the one who gave the go-ahead to Pat Williams to write this book. She admired her father and approved the idea of someone writing about Walt in such a way as to give people someone to look up. In fact, I do admire Walt Disney and I’m so glad to have read this book.
Yes, it takes a little time but all the time is worth it, I assure you!
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Stay tuned this week for my first-ever podcast interview with one of the authors of this book!