Daily Motivation: 365 Messages to Inspire You at Work and in Life, by Nido R. Qubein, Simple Truths, 2016

This small but thick tome, designed like a secularized version of those 1970s-vintage, sunshine-themed Bibles, rests on the coffee table in the reception area of the city manager’s suite at City Hall in High Point. One hopes that the example set by the author, who is the president of High Point University, inspires the city staff every day to do something magnificent in emulation of the monument to grandeur at the corner of Lexington and University.

If your interest in this book stems from a curiosity about what makes one of the Triad’s major power brokers tick, you’re likely to come away disappointed: Qubein’s philosophy can best be described as bland, inoffensive inspiration. Not surprisingly, Qubein dishes out generous helpings of self-affirmation. The entry for Sept. 19, headlined, “Face It: You’re Wonderful,” is typical. “You don’t want to become boastful and self-centered,” he writes, “but it never hurts to accept kudos when you deserve them.”

Company with greatness has always been part of Qubein’s agenda — behold the statues of noted historical figures like Marie Curie, Shakespeare and Sacajawea relaxing on benches along the campus’ promenade — and Daily Motivations makes liberal use of inspirational biography. Qubein casts an ecumenical net, and occasionally comes up with some good stuff. An Oct. 31 entry entitled “Find Your Joy” is built around the bio of novelist Stephen King, who says, “Yes, I’ve made a great deal of dough from my fiction, but I never set a single word down on paper with the thought of being paid for it…. I have written because it fulfilled me…. I did it for the buzz, I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for you, you can do it forever.”

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