Diane Prather

Diane Prather

Diane Prather: Local's book tough to put down

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Diane Prather

Diane Prather's columns appear in the Craig Daily Press and Saturday Morning Press. You can call her at 824-8809.

— This week, I read the new book, "Unstoppable: Inspiring Lessons for the Unstoppable You," a motivational book for people of all ages, by Moffat County High School teacher Craig Conrad.

Usually, I set aside a couple blocks of evening time to read chapter books/novels. I'm a fast reader, so this works for me. However, with Conrad's book, I read every spare minute I had - while filling the stock water tanks, while waiting for something to cook, while waiting on an appointment. In other words, once I started reading, I couldn't put the book down.

I especially enjoy Conrad's writing style. It allows the chapters to flow, one into the other, right to the finish.

The book is divided into 58 lessons, or chapters, each of which is listed in "the lesson plan," or table of contents. The last sentence of each lesson is left unfinished, and its ending key words are in bold print. The words become the title of the next lesson and so on, throughout the book.

There's also a summary of the lesson addressed to "The Unstoppable You" at the end of each chapter. It's right under a "Craig Conrad's Unstoppable You" stick that features a clenched fist and the words "the power within". A special chapter at the book's end explains how the sticker came to be.

The stories within the book's lessons are "Friday stories," and the way they got started is pretty incredible.

Years ago, Conrad, a part-time woodworking instructor, faced a challenge - turn around a dwindling class enrollment. He had to think of a way to change the class program so he decided to incorporate a "thought for the weekend" positive message.

This turned into "Friday stories" about all kinds of topics - marshmallows, bananas and crabs - each story with an inspirational message. Some of the stories came from his childhood.

The Friday stories caught on. Eventually, they came to include stories about Conrad's former students and their unstoppable successes, and in two cases of young men ending up in prison, stoppable results.

Each student became a "Friday story."

Examples of these inspiration stories include titles such as "The Master Key and the Marshmallow Test," "The Ripple Effect" and "You Are A Banana." One of my favorites, "A Touch of Class," is about a Moffat County High School student who, with Conrad's help, "broke the chain of inhibition" and came up with a novel gimmick to get lawn mowing jobs.

And did the woodworking enrollment numbers turn around?

You bet they did, and Conrad tells all about it in the book. The biography section of the book's cover lists a number of awards that Conrad and his woodworking class have received, too.

It doesn't end there. Unstoppable Conrad began taking his inspirational messages to high schools, colleges and conferences in several states - all while working full-time as a woodworking instructor.

Conrad's Friday stories and the influence they've had on his students is truly remarkable. The stories are sometimes poignant, sometimes humorous and always powerful. This is a must-have book.

"Unstoppable: Inspiring Lessons for the Unstoppable You" is published by Lifetime Chronicle Press, 2008. It is available at the Museum of Northwest Colorado for $19.99. Autographed copies are available.

Copyright Diane Prather, 2008. All rights reserved.

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