The Final Summit - A Book Review
The Final Summit by Andy Andrews is a self-help parable that seeks to answer the question: "What does humanity need to do, individually and collectively, to restore itself to the pathway toward successful civilization?" It attempts to do so through a fictional character who finds himself at a heavenly “summit” of time “travelers” who have been brought there by the Archangel Gabriel. Most of the “travelers” are famous people who are known for great accomplishments, except for the hero of our story, a normal man who found wealth and prosperity by learning life secrets through his previous time travels.
This leads us to the first problem with this book: It's actually a sequel, apparently, to a previous book. So it took me a little while to figure out what this whole “traveler” business was about. I left the book still not quite sure what the travelers were actually doing in traveling, or how it all worked, but I got the basic gist of it.
At the summit itself, Archangel Gabriel sets up a bunch of arbitrary rules for coming up with the answer to this big question, with some sort of dire consequence (the end of the world? I'm not sure) if the correct response is not arrived at in time.
This sets up a game whereby our hero brings up a number of famous guests to help solve the puzzle at the summit. We are introduced to Winston Churchill, Joan of Arc, Abraham Lincoln, and King Solomon from the Bible, among others.
The characters are what makes this book a bit fun and interesting. Winston Churchill is especially fleshed out as a likable curmudgeon.
Unfortunately, the answers these characters come up with to the question are generally trite and obvious, such as “find hope” or “seek wisdom.” I was groaning at most of these answers, thinking, “how dumb can these famous people be?” when, at each answer, they smugly assumed they had it “right.”
When the final answer was revealed, I was even more disappointed. I won't spoil it for you, but the final answer will likely leave you scratching your head. It's really anti-climatic. It's also the type of answer where, if someone follow the advice in the wrong way, they could actually make things worse. I kind of understand what he was trying to get at with the answer, but I think he could have worded it better or qualified it more.
Along with the final answer, we are given a statement that we can use to help improve our lives. This declaration is very similar to the sorts of statements you might find in an Og Mandino book. As such, you may find it useful and inspiring.
Despite the letdown of the final answer, I did actually enjoy the book very much and found it to be a good, light-hearted read. The exploration of each of the “wrong” answers was also interesting in that it did provide some review of the concepts and food for thought. It was also just entertaining. I would definitely read more books by the author.
In reading the reviews of this book, more Biblical Christians were extremely disappointed in the non-Biblical flavor of the Final Summit. I myself, being a more esoteric or contemplative Christian, did not mind that aspect of the book so much. I would have just liked the final answer to be a bit more profound and meaningful personally.
If you like the author's previous books, you might like this one. If you are new to the author, you may give this book a try. Just lower your expectations for the end and enjoy the ride.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”