What I Do
by William J. Russell

"'I have always been what I do,' writes seventy-six-year-old Russell, a self-described son, father, soldier and teacher. With twenty-four years in the U.S. Army Medical Service and twenty-four-plus years as a civilian nurse and educator, Russell asks, 'In the process of duty, do I become what I do. And, if so, how does that effect who I am?'"

In an attempt to answer these questions, Russell shares the facts of his life. We learn about his admirable Personal Creed and unique mind/body/spirit philosophy. We learn that a man finds his purpose and identity through lifelong learning, choosing poorly or wisely, giving back, and balancing the triad of mind/body/spirit.

So how does Russell answer the question at the heart of the book: How does what I do affect who I am? The author sets the stage for insights. At age ten, the author "first realized that to do was important," but he does not tell us how he gained this insight and if it changed him. He shares character-building moments from his formative years but does not reveal how they built his character.

The book has brave ambitions to plumb the infinite depths of what makes us who we are and suggests that we are simply the sum total of our experiences. Russell surely has encountered third-person case stories that might have strengthened his argument. The last sixty-four pages shifts tone and discusses the author's teaching CD.

Nevertheless, his philosophy of giving back shines through, as well as some undeniable Russell-isms: "Awareness is one's best council," and "It would be great if we could defrag our brain every now and then." Russell has written four books.

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