"...other people are important, perhaps above and beyond our own sometimes inflated egos."

Every adult over thirty probably has some pearls of wisdom readers could all benefit from, but this author, growing up in Germany during World War II and joining the merchant marines at age 15, has a plethora of them. Take heed.

"Work is good for you." "If you don't quit, you will eventually be okay." "All of life is a series of decisions we've made." These are examples of the insights into life the author offers. But beyond wisdom, Harms waxes poetic and nostalgic. Describing unobstructed views of the stars, he writes, "I don't think I have ever slept better or experienced an environment more conducive to a freewheeling imagination." Or, when describing the light and reflection from the moon on the water, he writes, "The view of the white foam on the crest of the waves..."

Harms also shares experiences most readers will never witness first-hand. For example, he was in Mexico City during a major earthquake and describes it as "a scary experience to see the front of whole buildings sliding to the ground with glass splinters flying everywhere." The memoir eventually even tackles existentialism with questions such as "Who am I and how did I get here?" Harms explains his philosophies directly and concisely. "It is my belief that we are...the sum of our total experiences in life, added to that which God endowed us with..."

This autobiography flows easily, and reading it is like sitting beside grandpa, hearing his stories. But possibly the best reason to read the book is that those of recent European descent will finish it with a better understanding of their own immigrant relatives—which couldn't come at a better time, given the current political climate regarding immigration.

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