Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Greatest Prospector in the World by Ken Dunn : A Review

BOOK TITLE: The Greatest Prospector in the World

AUTHOR: Ken Dunn

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1629030753

GENRE: Adult Non-fiction


FORMAT: Digital


HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank iRead Book tours for this review copy


Laura Dunagan, was born in the gold prospecting days of rustic Alaska in the early 1900's. When Laura was 14 years old, her father was trapped under a mud slide while prospecting in a nearby river and died. Laura was forced to move to Chicago in the care of her rich Uncle Joe. Laura hated Uncle Joe because he forced her to leave the river, but also because he had left the family prospecting business to move to Chicago years before she was born.

Laura discovers that Uncle Joe made his fortune selling insurance and was the owner of the largest insurance company in Illinois. While wondering through the mansion one day, she found Uncle's Joe personal den. In it, she discovered an entire new life that would lead her to heights that she would never had realized panning for gold in Alaska. Uncle Joe used the 6 gold prospecting rules for safety to prospect new clients for his insurance company and in doing so, discovered the secrets to wealth in selling.


Greatest Prospector in the world is an amazing title that could fit many genres. It could be the biography of one person, it could be a fictional story about someone who had attained glory in the field of prospecting, or it could become a non fiction / self help / business motivation book. The conflict between the book's summary and its genre confused me. While it was clearly given as Non Fiction, the summary also promised a story. Intrigue set in as I opened the book.


There are motivators, then there are storytellers. Then there are the rare breed of people who motivate by telling amazing stories that the reader does not even think of the book as a self help / motivation based book. There it just becomes a story that gave them life lessons. The Greatest Prospector in the World attempts to do just that. It tries to weave certain important principles in business success with an engaging story.

Laura, a sixteen year old girl is the daughter of a prospector in Alaska. Her father dies in an untimely mud slide and she goes into the care of Uncle Joe, and shifts base to Chicago. Laura's resentment at having been pulled off from her roots and forced into a new community and her baby steps in the new land are fueled with an angry teenage blood. The type of blood that misunderstands even the best opportunities. She had never had a huge opinion on her Uncle Joe, who had left the prospecting in Fairbanks and had instead turned an insurance seller, making his living in that new business. But then, a strange determination to succeed overpowers every other feeling. Laura decides to ask her Uncle Joe for advice on becoming big. He becomes her mentor, guiding her through the nuances of business by giving her 'Six Secrets of Success'.

This is the premise the author uses for giving the readers his ideas about success and life lessons that are applicable not only in business but also in other aspects of life. The book tries hard not to be preachy and instead gives the medicine with a sugar coated dosage of a story. While it is really not difficult to learn life lessons from a story (many avid readers have termed books as the tools that led them to the right path and helped them make right decisions at right times) care has to be taken to not be immersed in the story so much that the lessons are missed.

The difference in making this book an useful one is 'wanting to use the ideas and win in life' instead of 'wanting Laura to win in life'. The involvement with the tale should be in a simple level - just see it as what it is, a medium to incorporate a few important lessons / ideas. Then the book makes much more sense, and becomes manifold useful. The language is simple (to the level of being understood by pre teens), the plot is a brilliant ploy and the lessons are valuable if grasped and used lightly. Overall, a great book that has presented life lessons in the way Grandma's tales do - mingle an advice with a story, the kids never know they are at the listening end of something they have no patience to hear. Great work by the author.

The lines that affected me most from the book: 

“You will face obstacles, distractions, detours, and disappointments. You will be tempted to give up, or to stop trying. You must realize that each obstacle is a stepping stone to your goals; each distraction is a springboard to your future; each detour is a sign that you are headed in the right direction; and each disappointment is proof that your dream is still before you.”

  • Mingling a story with life lessons
  • Laura being shown as per character - dissatisfied teen to mature adult
  • The timeline in which the story is set.
  • Many adults might disregard the story that seems more aimed at pre teens and teens
  • The accompanying story sometimes takes the focus off the purpose- to learn the six secrets of success
  • The purpose of the book is left to the readers' interpretation.

A great book, not to be taken lightly!



Ken Dunn is one of the leadership training world’s up and coming great speakers and trainers. An incredible hunger to learn and teach others has led Ken successfully through five different professional careers in the past 25 years.

Ken began a policing career at the age of 18. He was involved in the policing world’s most exhilarating and challenging disciplines, including undercover drug and surveillance work, S.W.A.T. team work, aggravated child abuse, frauds, aggravated assaults, illegal weapons smuggling and homicides.

Today, Ken regularly speaks to groups in the direct sales, mortgage, insurance and banking industries. He uses humor and his own experiences to inspire audiences around the world. Ken lives in Toronto, Canada, with his wife, Julie, and children Matthew and Laura.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle and Hardcover

PRICE$14.51 for Kindle, $15.81 for Hardcover


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