Anyone working as a freelancer knows that for all its freedom and exhilaration this life also comes with its share of challenges and frustrations. When you’re suffering an extended period without work (quarantine?) or are stuck on a job or in a position you see as a dead end, do you roll with the flow, safe in the knowledge that this too shall pass and the phone will ring again? Or do you fall into a self-lacerating depression, certain that the game is over?
Well, the next time the walls start closing in I’d suggest reading the book listed below. I promise it’ll add some soothing perspective to whatever ordeal you might be going through…and sometimes that’s enough to defeat the demons. It will also provide valuable reminders about gratitude and humility, perhaps the two most desperately absent traits in the world today. But those are topics for another entry at another time.
The Forgotten Highlander: An Incredible WW2 Story of Survival in the Pacific
by Alistair Urquhart
Skyhorse Publishing; 2011
Put the ridiculously sanitized story of The Bridge on the River Kwai out of your mind before you delve into this harrowing tale of a British prisoner of war and his triumphant fight for survival. The limits of human will and endurance are indeed proven astounding as described by a man who lived under the cruelest of conditions for nearly four years. Despite the narrative of unimaginable torture and degradation inflicted by his Japanese captors, the spirit with which he writes is a marvel to experience and will immediately place whatever’s troubling you about your career in a far less disturbing light. After the war Urquhart made a good life for himself until he passed away at the age of 97 in 2016. At the very least, after reading it you’ll never feel sorry for yourself – about anything – again.