The Traveler's Gift
Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success
READING GROUP GUIDE
The Traveler's Gift blends fiction, allegory, and inspiration, with a touch of self-help. It gives a front-row seat into one man's journey of a lifetime.
David Ponder has lost his job and the will to live. When he is supernaturally selected to travel through time, he visits historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln, King Solomon, and Anne Frank. Each visit yields a Decision for Success that will one day impact the entire world. Then, a visit to the future reveals the result of David's journey, the fruits of his labor.
1. What is the significance of the title? How is time travel important to the book?
2. Andrews incorporates facts and details about American history into The Traveler's Gift. Why is it important that David visited the historical figures during crucial moments in history? Why does Andrews suggest that successful people have more than a "limited view" of history?
3. In what ways does Andrews explore the importance of associations with other people? How do peer groups affect a person's success?
4. Dreams are a recurring motif in the book. How does each historical figure emphasize the importance of dreams as vehicles for success? What is the purpose of dreams in this book?
5. At the end of the book, the speaker in the arena says, "Until you have accomplished what you were put on earth to do, you will not-you cannot-be harmed." How is this concept of a "hedge of thorns," or protection, fitting to the journey David has taken? Do you believe this type of protection is possible?
6. Talk about the theme of leadership in the book. Which historical figures talk about leadership, and how do those comments directly relate to the person speaking? What overall definition of leadership does Andrews offer?
1. How does the book exemplify the differences between people who encounter despair? Is your experience different or similar? How does what you've read in this book help your own times of crisis?
2. The Traveler's Gift underscores the importance of rising above the opinions of others. How do your self-perceptions dictate your success? What advice does David receive for differentiating between wise counsel and criticism? How can you apply this advice to your life right now?
3. In what ways can you use the life lessons in The Traveler's Gift to encourage and change the lives of others?
4. Why might The Traveler's Gift be a vital book for our country and planet at this time?
5. Each historical character refers to faith in some way. What is Andrews suggesting about the connection between faith and success? Would you agree that the book defines success as a combination of personal initiative and divine motivation?
6. Andrews presents a specific method for absorbing the Seven Decisions-reading each decision aloud, morning and night, for twenty-one days and sharing the decisions with others. Why is this particular method given? Would another method be just as effective?
Chapters One and Two: David Ponder
1. The book opens during a crossroads in David's life. How does David's mindset about his personal crisis change by the end of the book?
2. Discuss the criticisms the seven historical characters make about David. Do you think they should have been tougher on him? Easier?
3. How does your opinion of David change throughout the book?
Chapter Three: Harry S. Truman
The First Decision: The buck stops here.
1. President Harry Truman tells David, "You have chosen the pathway to your present destination. The responsibility for your situation is yours." Do you believe that an individual's present state is solely determined by personal choice and responsibility? Why or why not?
2. Truman says, "Our thinking creates a pathway to success or failure." Can you remember a particular instance when your thinking created success? When your thinking led to failure? Have you seen evidence of this truism in the lives of others?
Chapter Four: King Solomon
The Second Decision: I will seek wisdom.
1. King Solomon says, "We, as humans, are always in a process of change. Therefore, we might as well guide the direction in which we change." How does the decision to "seek wisdom" help you guide the direction in which you change?
2. What point is King Solomon making when he tells David that "serving is a way we can place value on one another"? He says, "A wise man is a server." Why?
Chapter Five: Joshua Chamberlain
The Third Decision: I am a person of action.
1. The book opens with a quotation by Joshua Chamberlain, an obscure figure in American history. How does this quote set the tone for the book? Why do you think Andrews chose a quote by Chamberlain instead of one by another historical figure in the book?
2. Chamberlain's lack of historical recognition does not correspond with his historical contribution. How does this challenge or affirm your definition of success? Through Chamberlain, what does Andrews say about the significance of our actions, especially actions that are unrecognized?
Chapter Six: Christopher Columbus
The Fourth Decision: I have a decided heart.
1. Through Columbus, what does Andrews say about the world's perception of madness and its definition of reality?
2. When does persistence toward a goal become insanity and when is it an admirable trait for success?
Chapter Seven: Anne Frank
The Fifth Decision: Today I will choose to be happy.
1. Is Anne's life considered a success in this book? Why or why not?
2. Do you think the pictures hanging in Anne Frank's room are a metaphor for a stagnant life of failure or do they represent a vibrant life of success?
Chapter Eight: Abraham Lincoln
The Sixth Decision: I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit.
1. President Abraham Lincoln tells David that the key to his future is forgiveness. Why is forgiveness such an important step for David at this point in his life? Whom does he need to forgive?
2. Is this Decision of greater importance than the other Decisions? Why or why not?
Chapter Nine: Gabriel
The Seventh Decision: I will persist without exception.
1. David visits the archangel Gabriel in "the place that never was," a large celestial warehouse that holds the lost dreams of humanity. Why is it important that David's last visit with a historical figure occurs in this place?
2. Talk about the treatment of "fear" in the book. What is the relationship between fear and success? Why does Gabriel say that faith and fear are the same?
Andy Andrews* is a comedian, author, inspirational speaker, corporate entertainer, television celebrity, and a serious fisherman. He has performed for four United States presidents; appeared at Ceasars Palace, The Mirage, and Bally's in Las Vegas; and toured with stars such as Kenny Rogers, Joan Rivers, Cher, Randy Travis, Garth Brooks, and Bob Hope. He also wrote the Storms of Perfection series, a collection of true stories of courage and triumph; Tales from Sawyerton Springs, a series of short stories first published in Country America magazine; and the Go For It series for children. Find out more about Andy Andrews at www.AndyAndrews.com.
*It is the author's hope that your exploration of the Seven Decisions will lead to an extraordinarily fulfilled life and the desire to share the Decisions with others.