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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Imposter - How a Juvenile Criminal Succeeded in Business and Life » User review


  • Jan 26, 2010
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Kip Kreiling, a business turnaround expert, writes frankly about his troubled youth, which was filled with criminal activity and led to the question he poses in the book's title. Could someone from a troubled family who had been a dope dealer and heavy drug user actually change so much that he could now sit in the paneled dining room of an exclusive club, eating food with fancy French names, and being the recipient of an award for his work in the business world? To put it simply: Can people change?

The author poses this question because he uses his own life to illustrate his answer, which is a resounding YES! As we move beyond the first chapter, he changes his voice to that of transformation guru, giving us eight principles he believes are the key to successful personal or business transformations. Each comes with examples from his own life, from business situations, and/or from history. For example, he tells us that real change requires an almost-necessity for change, not just a want. He tells us when Hernan Cortes landed in Vera Cruz in 1519, he had his men burn their ships so they did not have the option of retreating. Before them, the ancient Greeks had done the same thing, and for the same reason: to insure victory. These men HAD to win the battles ahead since they had no ships to go home in. Change does not come about just because we agree that change would be a good thing. The desire has to be very strongly motivated.

Many people have events and behavior in their past of which they are not proud. We have all seen public figures (think John Edwards, Elliott Spitzer and Tiger Woods) humiliated by information about their private behavior that got out to the public that makes us question their ability to be leaders in their field. These are people who already have proven they have considerable talent, or they would not be public figures. But all of us who aspire to do work we enjoy and which makes a contribution to society must face the question of our own competency. Don't some of us too wonder if we are mere imposters, having risen beyond our abilities or worthiness? Do mistakes in our past disqualify us for positions of responsibility and respect?

The author has answered this question for himself, confident that the transformation he made in his own life makes him worthy of his success. While his principles and the examples that go with them are interesting, the details of his own life are perhaps the most compelling part of this book. I was wary when I first realized that the personal stuff was just dressing for expounding principles which he applies in his corporate work. I really wanted to know how he had managed to get a good education (including an MBA degree) and work for top companies, given the background he describes in chapter one. He kind of dribbles out more personal details throughout the rest of the chapters, including the information that he had become a Mormon. However, the book does not do any religious proselytizing; in fact, he lets us know he had a crisis of faith at one point and was not sure he still believed in God. He got past this crisis with the principle of "Reality Slicing," which is about the size and complexity of the universe compared to our own little slice of it, which cannot give us the whole picture of reality. An interesting way to deal with the crisis of faith so many experience.

I generally liked this book because of the honesty and sincerity of the author and because his story is so incredible. But I'm not sure mixing these very personal admissions with stuff about business turnarounds really works. I have recently retired from work in the corporate world and am delighted to never have to go to another company motivational meeting where the latest "process change" flavor-of-the-month is extolled. Corporations are not the same as people. People have a lifetime to grow, learn, contribute and accomplish what matters to them and leave a legacy for their heirs. Corporations, on the other hand, exist indefinitely and their goals are very different from those of individuals, generally revolving around making profits. That is why, while I was working as an employee, I was never willing to fully embrace any prescribed beliefs or behavior of a corporation. Giving a fair day's work for a day's pay is different from giving the company your soul.

The great value of this book is for understanding personal transformations, given the powerful example of the author's own life. The major transforming event for the author was a very bad drug trip, after which he quit doing drugs, quit smoking cigarettes and quite drinking alcohol. I doubt there is anything analogous that can happen to a corporation and produce such an immediate change.

People CAN change. Most of us are not the same person we were ten or twenty years ago. When you reach retirement age, as I have, you have an even longer perspective on this. I could write a long list of things I did or believed 40 years ago that I completely repudiate today. Life is about growth and growth brings change.

I almost hate to mention it, but the book has somewhat amateurish layout and typography and an above-average number of errors of grammar, punctuation and sentence structure. However, these things do not detract from the powerful message of the book. Most readers are going to get something of value from the author's amazing story.

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More The Imposter - How a Juvenile ... reviews
review by . May 07, 2013
Insightful yet grounded without being too sanguine and didactic.
I will admit that I am not much of a reader of self-help/transformation books. The preamble for most of them starts off with, "Do you like the way things are going in your life?" Perhaps that's a cynical judgement call on my part, but I've never been wrong so far when dealing with books that fall into that category. The Imposter, however, is not like that. It is in a different league, because it possesses tidbits of the memoir genre, positive psychology, science, religious awakening, …
review by . February 11, 2010
"The Imposter" is the well-written "transformation memoir" of Kip Kreling. The author tells the dark story of his violent youth--numerous arrests,, abuse at home, drug addictions, runaways, drug dealing, robberies (both perpetrator and victim). As a young man, Kreiling was well on the way to a life in prison or bare survival on the edge of society.     But then comes the transformation, when Kreiling changed his life, quit drugs, went to college, and succeeded in business. The …
review by . January 16, 2010
Subtitled "How a Juvenile Criminal Succeeded in Business and Life," "The Imposter?" takes its title from several people telling the author that people cannot really change and that if that statement is true, then he, the author, must be an imposter. The early years of Kip Kreiling's life were made up of physical abuse, crime, drug addiction, homelessness, drinking, being kicked out of school, and generally giving up on anything positive in life. His mother continually tried to reach out to him, …
review by . April 27, 2010
I have a great deal of respect for author Kip Kreiling and what he has given the world in THE IMPOSTER? He has taken us into a dark place in his own past and decided to use his experiences to help others while helping us understand what we can do to break the cycle.    There is nothing worse than feeling like you are the only one having to deal with a bad situation. Kip lets you know that regardless of what you are faced with and how bad things might appear, the one thing you …
review by . July 02, 2010
I can't really bring myself to call this a self-help book; it reads more like a cross between a memoir and a psychology book. On the other hand, it helped me greatly, so maybe it is a self-help book of sorts. It's not hard to imagine that Kip might have picked up some wisdom during his hard fought transformation from a young criminal fleeing a troubled home to a successful father and husband. You also might imagine that someone in his position would write a book filled with aphorisms about "never …
review by . June 17, 2010
Kip Kreiling contacted me and offered me a copy of The Imposter. As a reviewer, I'm a little apprehensive when it comes to books that are published outside of the traditional route. I've read some pretty rough traditionally published books and some really, really rough self-published ones. But Kip's story intrigued me. He had a rough background and extreme addictions, failed or dropped out of or was expelled from many schools. So how could he end up becoming a power player in some pretty impressive …
review by . June 06, 2010
For the last decade, it's been easily observed that there are thousands upon thousands of self-help books conceived and written around the concept of helping any individual achieve life-alerting change. Everyone -- from self-help gurus to industry-leading professionals to curious politicians -- has jumped aboard this life-shaking franchise, offering up perspective after perspective about what steps are required to reach a life of successful living. While some of these books go to great lengths …
review by . February 04, 2010
Kip Kreiling's book is an inspiration to all to show that change is not only a possibility but can be made reality by just starting with a few small steps. He draws you in immediately by relating how he is in an executive dining facility and the waitress senses he doesn't belong and Kip himself starts to feel that maybe he is a "successful" imposter. He then proceeds to tell a brief summary of how he was a juvenile criminal and a drug user.       As Kip tells his tale …
review by . March 31, 2010
Kip Kreilig had a troubled childhood and he was involved with crime, drugs and alcohol. This book is a semi-telling of his transformation into a successful professional and certain principles he has recognized as having a transformative effect on his life. Mr. Kreilig hopes that, with this book, he can inspire and/or encourage others to achieve a positive transformation.    The main issue with this book is that it alternates between memoir and a semi-self-help book. This results …
review by . March 20, 2010
Review of: "The Imposter? How A Juvenile Criminal Succeeded In Business And Life."     Kip Kreiling's memoir about his mental and spiritual transformation is mesmerizing. I have read many books ascribed as transformation accounts couched in the self-development/self-help genre which promise to illuminate the reader's "consciousness," etc. However I find Kreiling's account unique in that it appears to be very honest and lucid without commercialization. I have have read enough …
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Theresa Welsh ()
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I'm a book lover, book reviewer and part-time book seller. I'm also a writer and author, with a background in IT work in both the auto and medical industries. I retired from full-time work a year … more
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First Printing Review

I just received your published book in the mail. Thank you. Your dedication to your mother brought tears to my eyes, which caused me to turn to your acknowledgement section. It affected me so strongly I had to leave my desk and go to a back room to finish reading it; tears were streaming down my cheeks. Your mother's love for you overwhelmed me. And you keeping the erector set that John gave you for all those years so touching.

I thought your story was truly amazing as you shared bits and pieces of it with me when we worked together at Tomax. Then, when I read your transcript, before your book was published, I was flabbergasted, for lack of a better word. Having read your acknowledgements section today it touched me so deeply. It really testifies that God knows every single one of his children and what their needs are and brings people into our lives to help us when we need it most. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing!.

Lastly, I truly hope your books gains the kind of momentum so that someone like Oprah picks it up. Your story needs and deserves a national audience. People need to know that it is possible to triumph over the most hideous of circumstances and how to do that. And, another reason the world needs to know your story is so the John's, Mr. Fosters, and Sims' of the world won't give up and will provide as much help as a hurting boy will allow them to give at that time with the hope that, even though it may seem futile at the moment, a ...
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Books, Nonfiction, Biographies, Kip Kreiling


ISBN-10: 0615320554
ISBN-13: 978-0615320557
Author: Kip Kreiling
Genre: Biography
Publisher: TransformationHelp Press
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