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Friday, January 21, 2022

Retirement Redesigned

HomeReviewsBook ReviewsReviewed: The Council of Dads by Bruce Feiler

Reviewed: The Council of Dads by Bruce Feiler


This is a moving story about a celebrated author when he discovers at a young age that he has cancer. As a father of young twin daughters, he worries about how they will remember him when he is no longer there. More than that he worries about how they will fill the need for the various roles usually performed by a father as they grow older. Who will give them “fatherly” advice and guidance?

After reflecting on the matter, he decides to implement an unusual idea. He approaches a group of six friends that have had a substantial impact on his life and invites them to take on a unique fatherly role in his anticipated absence. Each one of these surrogate Dads has a specific role to perform. They must convey particular lessons to his daughters, like showing them how to look at the world, how to experience their lives, and how to open their minds when travelling.

In the process of lining up the group and meeting each one of the “Dad-candidates”, he discovers some heart-rending truths about life and about friendship.

Feiler tells an outstanding series of stories and shares recollections of his own life while fighting cancer. He undergoes a number of the most severe and complicated operations. Finally, having gone through all the traumas of chemotherapy and radiation, he recovers and comes with a clean bill of health.

Why you should read it.

This is an intimate account of friendship and of one man’s struggle with one of the most severe challenges anyone can endure. The book is wonderfully inspiring and draws on the strength and importance of our community and our relationships. It holds some profound lessons for anyone facing a dread disease, whether at a young age as Feiler is or at a time when there may not be youth to join the fight.

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Amazon rating at time of publishing 4.7
Goodreads rating at time of publishing 3.8
Relevance to Reset
Johann is the founding partner of Reset Retirement where we focus on assisting people with planning for the non-financial aspects of their lives after full-time work. He had a long career in executive search and leadership as the founding partner and chairman of Heidrick & Struggles in South Africa where he was the head of the company’s board practice.