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

A compelling memoir and study of human psychology

  • Jul 2, 2010
  • by
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 giving up" and other banalities best left on needlepoint pillows. Lord knows many have. Kip, fortunately, is that rare combination of a person who is both a great doer and a great thinker.

He has clearly done a great deal of honest self-examination into what enabled him to escape his early trajectory of violence and crime to become a better person. Moreover, he is able to write about it eloquently and, to my surprise, quite entertainingly. The book weaves anecdotes from his journey with stories of other successful people, ranging from his own cousin to Abraham Lincoln to Ben Franklin. Not only did I learn a great deal about Kip and what enabled his own transformation, but I learned some fascinating things about science of psychology. Kip evidently did a signifiant amount of research and backs up everything he says with references and credible explanations. While I generally detest the self help genre and avoid it, I've seen enough to know this kind of rigor is very rare. Kip's integrity is such that he's not content with his experience as indicative of truth, but instead used it as a starting point for an intellectual journey into what makes people tick, and what characteristics about a person make them likely or not to be successful. As a scientifically minded person, Kip's approach is probably the only one that would resonate with me, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to have read the book. It's helped me move forward with changes I knew I should make in the way I approach life, but had not heretofore had the confidence to really go forward with.

Since this is a review, I'm compelled to also discuss the negatives, and there are a couple. The first is with the editing. A few other reviewers have pointed out some issues with the prose, and I think they wrongly concluded that Kip is not a gifted writer. I think they're wrong. Kip is quite a good writer, but you just can't write a book like this and not have a professional editor to help maintain flow and coherence. I don't think people appreciate just what a good editor does, and why even the best authors in the world use them. Kip's message is important enough that I really hope a major publisher sees the light and picks this up. As good as the book is now, I think it could be truly great with the help of a good, experienced publishing team.

The second issue is a philosophical one. If I can fault Kip for anything, it's for being too humble in his examination of what enabled his success, an issue I think many people have who seek to help others achieve the success they've found. While this sounds like a bit of fawning, puff criticism, I'm serious about it. I admire that he wants to help others with the same found wisdom that he discovered the hard way, but I think along with the valid principles he lists as getting him where he wanted to go in life, he is remiss in not acknowledging his innate abilities. I don't think this detracts from the ultimate message of the book, which is that everybody is capable of more than they think, but I would like to see an author finally acknowledge the role of luck in the degree of their success and the fact that sometimes things just don't work out no matter what. Otherwise, are we to believe that everybody who is not successful is simply doing the wrong things in life? Obviously some are, but some people truly can't catch a break. As much as I admire Kip for what he's done himself, things could also have transpired differently had he not been who he was or met the people that he did. On the other hand, maybe having such diclaimers in a book that's supposed to be inspiriational is pedantic and unhelpful. There may be a reason I've never written one...

While those of us who take his advice fully may not find ourselves advising Fortune 100 companies, I have no doubt that everybody will get quite a bit closer to realizing their own potential though the teachings in this book. I can't say as much for any other book I've read in recent memory.

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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 . 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 …
review by . March 19, 2010
When the author contacted me about doing a review of his book, I very nearly said no. I get several review requests per week, so I have been forced to get choosier about the review copies I accept. But I took a closer look at the book description and changed my mind. We don't have nearly enough books that talk honestly about the shortcomings of our juvenile justice system. Perhaps Kreiling had something new and important to add?     I was a little put off by the large print of …
About the reviewer
Jonathan Birge ()
Ranked #2270
I'm a postdoc doing applied physics at MIT. I've got a one year old son who is, like all one year olds, the greatest person in the world.
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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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