"I earned a PhD in street life watching everything...everybody, and I would put my savvy street skill set to work later in my life."

Martin’s memoir is proof that every person, regardless of circumstances and/or race, can amount to greatness in their lifetime... if given help and motivation by mentors. The author’s mother was an early influence by both example and love, and so was the owner of the pizzeria that gave this promising lad a real job and his first chance to assume responsibility. While serving as a New Jersey state trooper, older officers willing shared their expertise with him.

As a minority, Martin felt firsthand the insults caused by two common policies: hiring token blacks, Hispanics, and females; manipulating promotions based on race or gender. Only on rare occasions was he rewarded for the effort he daily put forth to perform to the best of his ability, and he struggled not to allow himself to give in to the easy path of using racial profiling while seeking criminals. The crossroads came for the author when he realized he could no longer quietly go along with the system. Not a whistle-blower by nature, Martin’s attempt to bury the facts was destroying his health. He won his civil lawsuit against the NJSP in appeal.

This 281-page book is an eye-opener. As the author claims, he became street-savvy through observation. The reader can almost earn a degree in behavioral psychology reading about the interactions between a state trooper and offenders (some even previous friends) as well as between the trooper and his superiors. The author now works in higher education, crediting his sister’s encouragement. He completed five college degrees, even as she lost her battle with an autoimmune disease. Martin wisely uses short chapters to move the story along. Inspirational quotes—gems to ponder at the start of each chapter—include “Don’t give self-pity the time of day” and “During difficult times, don’t be afraid to stand alone.”

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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