Friday, December 7, 2012

A Free-Range Human in a Caged World

That is the title of a new book written by my good friend Roger Gilbertson. Roger and I are kindred spirits in many ways, yet live very different lifestyles. Like me, Roger is a true genius except Roger really is a genius and I'm just an average genius (yes, my tongue is in my cheek as I label myself a genius). I've honestly lost count of all the degrees and certifications Roger has earned, plus, he's a retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral. I dare say this man has allowed no grass to grow under his feet during his 76 year lifetime. If you should choose to order Roger's book, A Free-Range Human in a Caged World: From Primalization Into Civilization," from, and I highly recommend that you do, you'll get a very clear picture of this free-range human I'm humbled to call my friend.

Roger honored me with the privilege of reading an early manuscript of his book and he sent me a pdf file of the final manuscript as it was going to press. One of the things I like about Roger Gilbertson as a "free-range human" is that he is unconventional. I might even go a bit further and say he is a non-conforming conformist. What I mean by that is that Roger had a distinguished career as a U.S. Naval Reserve officer. It's no simple path to reaching the rank of Rear Admiral (or the equivalent in the other services). Just think about the fact that a person has to live under the civil and criminal laws of the land as a U.S. citizen PLUS anyone in the military must also live under the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice). The UCMJ, while in many ways is parallel to the U.S. civil and criminal codes, is also much stricter with more severe penalties for infractions. So, being a non-conformist in civilian society is a challenge enough, doing so under two systems of laws is a huge accomplishment.

You will also be set back a bit by Roger's writing techniques. First, understand that whatever he undertakes, he learns everything he can about it - including, in this case, book writing, composition and publishing. Frankly, my book editors from my publishing days would have a field day with Roger's manuscript. I doubt that a sentence would go by without being marked up. But, Roger writes as he thinks and speaks. Having the great fortune of knowing Roger for a number of years, I've come to appreciate how he thinks and speaks. Reading his book is like listening to him talk to me. As a publisher, I would have made Roger play by the "publishing rules." Thankfully, I'm not his publisher and I'm totally okay with his free-range writing style.

The book is 163 pages long according to my pdf copy of the manuscript. Amazon shows it as 170 pages in paperback. Roger writes like a machine gun with bursts of thoughts, ideas, philosophies, experiences and recollections. There are two tables of contents in the book. The first one is a single page of what he terms as a Summary Contents and shows the front matter, the two parts with the 14 chapters and the back matter. Both the front matter and the back matter have lots of interesting input. The second table of contents he calls Full Contents and it goes for 7 pages (in the pdf manuscript version) and gives a page by page list of every chapter and every topic covered on a page. The pages may have as few as one topic to as many as five topics. Everything seems to follow a path and appears organized, even though some of the thoughts and ideas may feel a bit random at times. Roger had a plan.

Part one is only two chapters but is about being a Free-Range Human and Part two is about a Caged World. I dare say that between the covers of this book, Roger Gilbertson covers so many facets of the human experience comparing how we reached this caged world, as he terms it, state of civilization from the free-ranging hunting-gathering bands during the very primal period of human existence. I also dare say that anyone who can't find some relationship with Roger and the facets of the human experience is hopelessly trapped in the caged world.

But, listen, I could go on and on and still not scratch the surface of this book. Personally, I find it fun, enlightening and thought provoking. For someone like me, who promotes a philosophy of living free or at least as free, unrestricted, unlimited, unfettered and uncontrolled as is reasonably possible in the civilized, caged world of today, this book is a bit of fresh air. Am I a bit biased? Without question. I am lucky enough to count Roger Gilbertson as a personal friend and fellow seeker.

Good fortune is being able to include as many interesting, experienced people as friends as possible. I learn from each of them like my late friends, Charlie "Tremendous" Jones and Zig Ziglar (who passed away last week), both noted motivational and inspirational speakers and authors. Or my friends, Jerry Coffee and Charlie Plumb, both seven year guests of the "Hanoi Hilton" prisoner of war camp during the Vietnam War. Or my friends Suzy Sutton,  Barbara Glanz and the late Rosita Perez, authors, speakers and women who worked their way from humble beginnings to speaking, inspiring and training some of the most powerful people in the world. And, then there are those I know who inspire, enlighten and mentor me, who few people have heard of, but everyday they do miraculous things that make this caged world a better place. It is my mission to remain as "free-ranging" as possible and push the barriers of this caged world as much as possible, thanks to Roger Gilbertson.

Get the book. I know you'll gain lots of perspective and live a much freer and happier life.   

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