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Unfinished Business: One Man's Extraordinary Year of Trying to Do the Right Things...

Title : Unfinished Business: One Man's Extraordinary Year of Trying to Do the Right Things
Author :
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ISBN : 9781596916753
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Unfinished Business: One Man's Extraordinary Year of Trying to Do the Right Things Reviews

  • Mina
    2019-04-12 16:26

    It seems that Lee Kravitz is getting a lot of criticism here on GoodReads; readers are complaining that they didn't feel connected to the author or the story, and that it's difficult to relate to someone who can lose his job and still not have to work for a year. Here's what I know: 1) I know that my life up to the point where I lost my job was extremely dissimilar to Lee Kravitz's life, because I had not spent a summer exploring the Middle East, I did not go to Ivy League schools, and I have never visited refugee camps in Africa. It stands to reason, then, that the unfinished business of a life like his would require him going to great lengths and much longer distances than the average reader. It did not make me feel disconnected, because I could see how much simpler *my* unfinished business is in comparison. I don't need to fly to Africa or Pakistan or Greece to sort out my life; I really just need to pick up the phone. 2) I know that even though I was only working a receptionist position, and I'd only worked there a year when I got laid off, I had the same level of bitterness toward my boss as Lee Kravitz had. I also had a severance package and unemployment, and by living frugally, I spent a year to put my life in order, too. I did not do it because of this book (which had not yet been published then), nor do I feel I managed to clear up all or even most of my unfinished business in that time, but I figured out what was most important, changed my career, and I am pursuing a more rewarding lifestyle. It's not cheap, it's not easy, and it's not the way I would have chosen to start on the path, but as Mr. Jarvis says, "It would be wrong to give young people the impression that there is no pain in life... It is through our trials and tribulations that we discover our inner strength and what will give our life its meaning" (pp.128-129). 3) I may have very little in common with Lee Kravitz as far as my family history, my educational background, my career, my age, my faith/religion, and how many boxes of important papers I have stored in the attic, but I can list at least ten things that I want to change or improve. I don't have an Aunt Fern, but I reconnected with a long-lost sister. I (very thankfully) did not lose anyone in the Middle East, but I have a friend who lost her mother, and I should have called, so I will. I cannot count the debts I should repay or the gifts I meant to send, but I will find a way. I carry no grudges against my grade-school bullies, but I have other grudges that need to be resolved to make my life more peaceful. I did not have a mentor like Mr. Jarvis, but I can take a lot of good advice from even the one chapter about him here, and I should probably call my high school French teacher. My best friend did not become an Orthodox monk, but he's living on a commune in Austin, TX, and I'd like to learn about his choice with a more open mind than I have granted him in the past. My father and his brother talk regularly, but my boyfriend and his former best friend do not; I want to help bridge the peace there. I missed my grandmother's funeral, but I sang "On Eagle's Wings" at my grandfather's; I'm not sure I could have done that without a lesson in forgiveness during my big year off. I am not Lee Kravitz, and that's why I can learn from his vastly different experiences. I wrote down a few quotes from the book, and I know I will use them for journaling, meditation, and reflection. I am working on my list of unfinished business, and as one might expect, many of my completed items resolve or remind me of a few others. It's an ongoing process. "Love is work." It's work worth doing.

  • Ali
    2019-03-24 14:19

    It must be nice to have a family to care for (with three children) and two separate houses to upkeep (an apartment in NYC and a house upstate), and still not have it matter that much if you lose your job. In fact, it matters so little that you can spend a year jetsetting to connect with long lost friends and family members (that you've abandoned and completely ignored over the past three decades), have a meal or drink with them, and give yourself a really firm pat on the back at the end of the day because you're such a great person. I'm halfway through this book. Good intentions, but I have absolutely zero connection with this guy or any desire to see him succeed. I don't really care what insight he gains by talking to his psychoanalyst ex-girlfriend, or the stereotypical spiritual wisdom he receives from a friend from Pakistan. The extra star only comes because I do like the idea of the book. Maybe someone else should have written it.ETA: Now that I've finished...I feel exactly the same way. I thoroughly understand that at a certain point (very early on) I came down strongly on the "dislike" side of the line and wedged myself in that camp pretty firmly with the resolution not to leave. I'm glad that this man had the chance to take a year and straighten out his life, but it was hard for me to do anything but view his actions as mildly selfish and self-congratulatory. It's true that this statement could be applied to anyone in this situation, trying to make life right, but he seemed too much like a little boy seeking approval. What would have happened if some of his actions and attempts to reach out were rebuffed? Did he never at any point struggle or feel discouraged? I felt like I was being preached at, from someone who had just seen the light, then immediately felt it ok to turn around and judge others for not doing the same.That being said, as I mentioned in another comment, certain ideas and philosophies can certainly be extracted from here to flesh out yourself and apply to your own life. There are a number of lines that provoke thought and contemplation, which I think is wonderful. The author, however, is a tool.

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-26 14:33

    Book OverviewLee Kravitz was a self-described workaholic, who freely admits that he let his job dominate his life at the expense of his family. So when he loses his job as a magazine editor at the age of 54, it is a wake-up call to him. Stunned and shamed by the loss of the his job—the one thing that provided his identity for so long—Kravitz finds himself at loose ends.His wife suggests he attend a yoga retreat to help him deal with his feelings of loss and hopelessness. At the retreat, he realizes that he can take a year to take stock of himself and become the type of person he would really like to be. He ends up realizing that to move forward, he needs to take care of unfinished business from his past. He then compiles a list of ten areas in his life where he has unfinished business to take care of. These tasks include things such as: * finding a long-lost relative * making a long-overdue condolence call * reaching out to a distant friend * letting go of a grudge * healing a rift in the family.Each chapter of the book details the story behind each item of unfinished business and how Kravitz goes about tying up these loose ends in his life.My ThoughtsIt is a shame that I read this book right after The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Both are inspirational memoirs, but the comparison really ends right there. Whereas I felt uplifted, inspired and awed by hearing about William Kamkwamba's life, I was not too inspired by Mr. Kravitz's story. For one, it was difficult to empathize with him. Although I can sympathize with the feelings of loss and shame that can accompany a job loss in middle age, Kravitz was not plunged into a difficult financial situation. He had money enough to live comfortably for a year—as well as maintain two residences (an apartment in New York City and a country house). Although he might have felt a loss of identity, he didn't want for something to eat or have to worry about providing for his family—a situation uncommon for most people who are victims of downsizing or layoffs.Secondly, much of the unfinished business that Kravitz feels compelled to attend is a result of his own workholism and consistent choice to let his work take priority over everything else. By putting his work before people for years and years, Kravitz is really the architect of many of his own problems. He briefly talks about the impact that his long work hours had on his family and his wife Elizabeth, yet not one of the his unfinished business tasks directly involve spending more time with his family. Although some of his attempts to make peace with his past tangentially affect his relationships with his immediate family (for example, he coaches his son's baseball team as a way of reconnecting with his father and an old friend), much of his unfinished business involves taking trips to various locations to meet up with and make peace with long-lost friends and family members. Part of me kept thinking: "You admit that you ignored your family for years by putting work first and now you are traveling all over the country to visit people you haven't seen for 20 years in order to lay to rest some issues from your past?!? Seems to me like you should start with your wife and kids first." To me, it felt as if Kravitz chose to put this personal project of completing unfinished business before his wife and kids once again.I also didn't get emotionally involved with Kravitz's story. His writing—while competent and clear—just didn't connect emotionally with me. It felt a bit dry and distant. Perhaps his journalism background is to blame. It could also be his emotional make-up is more "masculine" than "feminine," which tends result in a more "this is what happened" approach than "this is what I felt" approach. Although Kravitz is candid and open about his own shortcomings, I didn't feel a sense of connection with him. In a memoir, I think that is essential to truly enjoying the book.I feel like I'm being very harsh on this book, and I'm not entirely sure why. The stories that Kravitz tells are somewhat interesting and filled with good advice and intentions. I suspect that many people will relate to the things that Kravtiz works on throughout the book. How many times have we put off making a condolence call because we felt awkward about it or didn't know what to say? How many of us made a promise that we never kept and then regretted for years afterward? How often do we really go back to thank our mentors and let them know the value of their guidance? I do think there is value in taking care of unfinished business before our time here on earth runs out. I'm sure most of us would benefit from taking some time to think through our own lives to identify our own areas of unfinished business and taking steps to resolve them. In thinking back on my own life, there are a few areas that I would like to tie up into neater packages. But I do think the key is to not let the truly important moments go by and to keep your priorities in focus every day.My Final RecommendationAlthough I like the idea of taking time to resolve any unfinished business in our lives and the book is competently written, I wasn't emotionally drawn into Kravitz's story. However, I could envision a certain type of reader benefiting from this book—for example, an emotionally distant professional male might relate to Kravitz's story and find more inspiration and value in it than I did. In addition, readers who have a lot of unfinished business of their own might find much of value in Kravtiz's journey and approach to tying up his own loose ends.

  • Pierced Librarian
    2019-03-26 16:33

    Lee Karvitz is a workaholic and a powerful editor of a renowned magazine. At 55 years of age he is unceremoniously fired in the hallway at work. Ten boxes that were in storage at his now no-longer-job are sent to his country home and this arrival of detritus is what spurs him to make amends for basically being a 55 year old asshat.Each chapter is a journey in finding his way back to himself. Chapter One: Finding a Long-Lost relative- When Lee was 30, his beloved Aunt Fern was shipped off to a home and no one cared enough to find her, make sure she was ok, or check up on WTF happened. This was the wrong story to start with. I pretty much just despised Mr. Lee Kravitz from this point on. It was hard to imagine him as anything but the white, privileged, Ivy League (as he tells us many, many, many times) wealthy enough not to work for a year, while hanging out at his country home unemployed person who let his beloved aunt just disappear. He wasn't 12 or 9 or even 15 when it happened. He was a grown ass man with resources when he just let this woman who had meant so much to him disappear. I also had a hard time with it because my family is pretty whack, but no one could just disappear for 15 years. Even if we didn't like you- you could not just go away and not have half of us up your grille on where you went, and why. Each story was just like the last. Lee found someone, looks or makes himself look a little hero-y and then onto the next story. Each chapter a different friend: Sorry for your loss- finding a boyhood friend whose daughter was murdered in Iraq and then making besties over their shared love of baseball; The Check Is in the Mail- Finding a buddy he travelled with and borrowed money from in the 70's; Letting go of a grudge- Finding a kid who he thought hated him in high school, only to be told, "Nah, man- he didn't hate you. He was a troubled soul doing the best he could.My favorite was reaching out to a Distant Friend- I would LOVE to get more of this kids story. Akmal was a friend from college who returned to Pakistan to start a therapy business. Lee had not heard from him (because he never answered the letter Akmal sent) since the early 1980's. In the book, Lee didn't even get ahold of Akmal. By chance, Akmal contacted him. I want to read more about this Akmal.The story was a quick read. In my opinion, it would have been better as a few essays. I just never felt a deep abiding connection to Lee. He started as a disconnected, middle aged dude trying to figure shit out and it ended with the simple lessons- family matters, don't promise more than you can give, when friends are beset by something horrible- even a clumsy hug is better than no hug, and life is flying by, so pay attention.Nothing earth shattering. Just what most people have figured out by middle age in written form.

  • Denny
    2019-03-26 16:25

    Mom loaned Unfinished Business to me because she wanted to hear what I thought about it. I often don’t know what I think ‘til I see what I have to say, so here goes: I don’t read heavily in the memoir, autobiography, self-help, and inspirational genres because I tend to be mistrustful of authors’ motives as well as their ability objectively to write about their own lives, and I encountered nothing here to disabuse me of those particular beliefs.I finished reading Unfinished Business a month ago but have been too busy to review or even update my status on Goodreads. Maybe if I'd liked it more I would've made the effort, but nahh, probably not. How does life get so busy? My own unfinished business is increasing at a dizzying, disheartening pace. I didn't care much for Kravitz's book because I never felt any real connection with him as a person. When writing autobiography/memoir, that's the author's primary duty; make your reader care deeply enough about you to want to know what happens, and Kravitz fails to do that. He's not a horrible writer, but I suspect his literary talents are better suited to his former career as magazine editor.The whole time I was reading the book, I had the feeling that Kravitz has an overinflated sense of his importance coupled with a feeling that he’s been treated unfairly by the world, that someone of his upbringing and achievements deserves better from life. From where I’m sitting, though, he seems to have it better than most, so he comes across as somewhat of an ingrate.At the same time, I couldn’t help but be suspicious of his motives. As with all books of this type, I begin with the assumption that the author is writing it more to make lots of money than to help or inspire others. Maybe I’m too jaded or cynical, maybe I shouldn’t be, but that’s just the way I am. We are who we are, right? And then I get to the end of the book and see, surprise surprise, the author’s invitation to his related Web site, yet another way for him to profit off his work. Full disclosure: I have to admit to some envy. I want to write books for big bucks, too. I just want to do it the honest way, by writing fiction, which, I believe often contains more truth than nonfiction. I’m a mess, aren’t I?The book wasn't bad enough to give up on, although if I hadn't been reading it for Mom, I probably would've put it down as, yes, yet another piece of my own, in this case, unlamented unfinished business. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

  • Karin
    2019-03-31 16:26

    I had a hard time liking the author.First, he let his cousin's vague statement of "the doctors said" keep him from visiting his beloved Aunt Fern in her nursing home. I get that he lived elsewhere and his life took over, but for someone he claims to adore so much that's just cold.Second, not attending your grandmother's funeral because your wife's brother died recently and a second funeral is "too sad"? Very cold. And wrong. I can't buy the justification on that one either.The chapters could be read separately so my nutshell analyses are:Chapters 1-4: ExcellentChapter 5: Blah, not enough meat to itChapters 6-7: Long, preachyChapter 8: EntertainingChapters 9-10: Eh, nice, but not knock your socks offI wasn't surprised by the way the kids "give" money each year, but I really did love Caroline's solution to the problem of a Kenyan library. What a great little girl!

  • Nancy
    2019-04-07 14:17

    Oh, such mixed feelings. I think I will let some of my multiple personalities submit their thoughts.Trustful Me is delighted with the premise of Lee Kravitz's book: after he is summarily fired from his prestigious publishing job, Kravitz examines his life - a life that has been all work and no attention to family and friends - and decides it is time to address the many areas of his life that he has let slide. He visits the schizophrenic aunt whom he has ignored for 15 years; he finally writes a condolence letter to a friend whose daughter has been killed; he pays a 30-year-old debt. And to his joy and wonder, each time he does the right thing, marvelous results occur! How nice! cries Trustful Me. How good! Doing the right thing brings happy sunshine to all!Skeptical Me is rolling her eyes. Wait a second, she says. Lee Kravitz had this wonderful loving aunt who was institutionalized when he was in his mid-thirties, and he NEVER ONCE sent her a card? Called her on the phone? Even knew which hospital she was in?? And now he goes to visit, and she welcomes him with joy and no recriminations, and he gives her a birthday party and he is somehow a big hero? Uh-uh. Can't give him a pass on this one.(I think Skeptical might have persuaded me.) I couldn't get past the feeling that Kravitz spent a lifetime doing the selfish thing, and doing the "right thing," in the end, cost him nothing. The $600 debt he owed as a twenty-something to another twenty-something? In terms of financial sacrifice, at age 50, it is meaningless. In every chapter, doing the "right thing", at long last, makes Kravitz a hero. But what he never examines or thinks about is that truly doing the right thing - paying the debt on time, visiting his aunt once a week for 15 years, sending condolence notes on time - would have been unremarked by anyone, and certainly not worth writing a book about. In fact, they would have been the same tedious, slogging jobs that most of us do every day of the week.That said, the book is smoothly written and the stories are interesting. It's a pity that I was left, in the end, with the feeling that Lee Kravitz had actually learned very little from his year of completing Unfinished Business.

  • Dree
    2019-04-12 14:19

    What a tough book to review.To start, the first chapter--about the author's Aunt Fern--was wonderful. I can see how he lost track of her--even as a young adult, we often assume our elders know what is right. In this case, they didn't, and it took Kravitz over 20 years to realize that and do something about it. Who did this benefit the most? Fern! Not Kravitz, no matter how much he enjoys it and pats himself on the back. This was about Fern. And it gave me such high hopes for the book.The rest of the book goes downhill from there. I am glad the author has found peace for himself, but I am not sure he realizes just how much of an unpleasant ass he comes off as. Or, perhaps, he does, and perhaps he truly wants to change it.Most of the chapters are about how great a young baseball player he was, how adventurous of a traveler he was, how he used to know people who did big things! Name dropping and bragging about work assignments.And then in the middle of the book are two long chapters (over 50 pages!) of spiritual mumbo-jumbo blah blah blah. If I did not have this as a firstreads book, I would have given up there. I do not enjoy this kind of writing, and I never pick it up--and had no idea it was hidden in this book!Kravitz starts off discussing his workaholic habits, and how this has left his wife in charge of everything (I can relate to his wife!) kid-related. Yet other than one hike he can't finish and helping his daughter with one report, we hear nothing about this idea of spending more time with his family. He is jet-setting around the country visiting people, staying with them, having new adventures.It seemed to me that without an office, he just turned this project into his new thing-to-work-too-much-on. And how in the world can someone out of work and with a family afford all those plane tickets?!

  • Laura
    2019-03-26 14:37

    I was very excited to have won this on FirstReads, because it really is just my kind of book. It's heartwarming, thought-provoking, and a bit of a tear-jerker--everything warm and fuzzy that I expected and that it should be. Kravitz has a really interesting story to share, and it was a joy to read, especially the parts about his family and about his extensive travels to exotic locales.As a Gerontology major in college (one of about ten Gero majors in a school of over 30,000 students), I took a class in which we discussed autobiography. Taking stock of one's life can be a soothing exercise: reliving the positive memories, coming to terms with regrets, letting go of past bitterness. This book brought that concept back into my conciousness. As I read this book, I came to understand just how fortunate the author was to have had the opportunity in middle age to shape what would become his life story--even though the book's concept grew from something presumably negative (losing a job). I appreciated how Kravitz tied some of the stories together, though they at first glance seemed independent; this impressed upon me the concept that everything in our lives is interrelated, and that earlier experiences influence later ones. Only by venturing out and making peace with his past--long-neglected friends, debts, emotional traumas, etc.--could he return to his present unburdened and prepared to devote himself fully to it. Although some of the chapters were slow going--one chapter, in particular, about a friend who became a monk, seemed to drag on a bit with unnecessary detail--I enjoyed the ride immensely and will seek to integrate some of the book's example into my own life.

  • Barb
    2019-04-18 14:19

    Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Good Reads.Wow! But, let me make this clear. This book is for a specific point in a persons life. I do not recommend it for everyone. In your 50's you begin a new exploration of your life. You seek meaning, understanding and resolution. You start to think in terms of your mortality. This book is for someone at that point in their life.Having said that, this book is amazing. Kravitz loses his job and determines to take a year off to clear off ..unfinished business... in his life. All of us have them - unpaid debts, a thank you unsaid, an apology owed, a promise made but not fulfilled. These are the unfinished business items in our lives. But, Lee Kravitz goes one step further. He addresses the "why" of the unfinished business, identifies who he was and what was going on in his life when the item became unfinished, and he seeks an answer to the question of how to apply what he has learned in his current life.This is such a powerful book. I want to go out and buy 10 copies and send it to my friends and family members who are at this stage in their life. It is beautifully written - but no excuses. Kravitz really explores objectively the business of his life left unfinished and the impact it has had on his and others' lives.The book is warm, thoughtful, engaging, intelligent, and so, so thought provoking. I highly recommend this book.

  • Reese
    2019-04-16 18:16

    Three stars would reveal that I like Lee Kravitz's UNFINISHED BUSINESS: ONE MAN'S EXTRAORDINARY YEAR OF TRYING TO DO THE RIGHT THINGS. So why didn't I just move the cursor to the middle star and click instead of adding the rating of this book to my unfinished business? Well, it ain't 'cause I don't already have plenty of unfinished business. Would I have read this book if I didn't?Kravitz's prose is lucid; his "story" is engaging; even the familiar material seems fairly fresh. Only the subtitle gave me something to whine about. When you're "trying to do" something, you're not doing it; when you're actually doing something, you're not "trying to do" it. Surely Kravitz doesn't doubt that he was doing, not trying. But the inappropriate subtitle didn't stop me from landing on a star. So am I superglued between three and four stars? Nope.Kravitz's journeys enabled him to embrace the message of a former teacher: "'We are all on Death Row and we are all dying. . . . And that reality should awaken in each of us a sense of urgency'"(204). If a year goes by and I am still standing in place, jogging in place, running in place, sprinting in place, UNFINISHED BUSINESS gets three stars. If, however, I can see that Kravitz's book has pushed me to move forward, then giving it five stars will be underrating it.

  • ilham.mukhtar
    2019-04-22 14:27

    I'm in the midst of finishing my to-read books largely consisted of how-tos and productivity books which would need longer time to be completed and fully comprehended. This reflection type of book is a fresh of breath air.A man being fired off the jobs he has been doing for more than 20 years, suddenly at lost realizing there are a lot of other parts of his life that he shuts off. Making amends, he started doing 10 things to untie the unfinished business and in doing that reduced the psychological burden that have slowed him down.The common threads of the endeavours that Lee set to do are mainly by reconneting from the friends of the past. He argues that most of them sees you at your different period of your life. Reconnecting provided the gateway to be in touch with a traits that you may has lost.From the book, I'm compelled to reconnect with people who shaped me the most in my prior lives.

  • Evie
    2019-04-12 15:21

    This was a very enjoyable book, although I can't say I was blown away by it. I did, however, finish it and ended up being completely satisfied with how everything unfolded. Kravitz writing style is definitely very engaging. The narrative voice felt real and smooth. I found myself breezing through passages, not even noticing the pages turning - and that, my lovelies, is not an easy thing to accomplish! The storyline itself was solid, inspiring, moving and, well, very entertaining. Following Kravitz journey to make amends with people from his past, was a very interesting experience, and quite an enlightening one. Overall, I had a great time reading this novel. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to read a book that will move you, enrich your mind and soul, and possible inspire you to do some great things.

  • Laurie
    2019-04-13 14:32

    Good concept. Nothing bad. I just found myself getting a little bored by the end

  • Jill Furedy
    2019-04-22 19:34

    Well, I didn't dislike this book, but not much about it stood out to me. The first chapter about Aunt Fern seemed promising...I would have enjoyed hearing more about her. The other chapter I liked was researching his family's mob mythology to try and bring his dad and uncle together...though I wish we'd have seen an actual reunion. The rest were hit or miss for me. And as much as he talks about his regret in being a workaholic and neglecting his family, his kids appear sporadically and his wife is mentioned far less than former girlfriends. Instead of focusing on things close to him, he looks to things that seemed more challenging and would make a better story...again, putting his work ahead of his family. Plus, I seemed to miss his point on some stories: He'd start off telling us his goal was, for example, to check up on a long lost friend's safety and wellbeing and see where he ended up, thinking he might find something dramatic. Then a page or two in, he says that really, he wants to reconnect to his past via memories with his friend, and oh yeah...he misses him too. Then his friend he hasn't spoken to in 30 years calls him out of the blue. Which to me means Lee did nothing active, he simply thought about his friend and when he happened to hear from him, made a story about it. When he was going to visit him in Pakistan, I thought it might be interesting. When the friend instead now lives in Canada...less interesting. After some catching up, the big lesson he gets out of it is that he is still the same person he used to be, that it's all connected in the present. Okay. Then he wraps up by admitting he was expecting a rescue mission (to be a hero perhaps)' and goes into a tornado of deep thoughts...the door you choose may take you where you were meant to go, you don't have to leave your past behind, there is a season for everything in life. So what I got out of that is that he stumbled into an encounter he'd sort of thought about, went into it with no clear goal, found a way to incorporate it into his story and then grasped about for meaning without landing on anything definitive. If it had just been a story of reconnection, I might have enjoyed it more.The way the book is set up in separate parts, he tries to establish a goal, a resolution, and a moral lesson out of each chapter and then seems done with it. Does he stop visiting aunt Fern and talking to Akmal after the stories wrap up? I hope not, but it's left unclear. But the goal seems to shift throughout each chapter, often switching between a personal reason for the story and the altruistic reason he thinks sounds better. And the lessons seem to be plucked from another self improvement book and forced into the formulas whether or not they are a good fit for the story he was telling. I think he's too much a journalist to tell a truly personal story, and rather than exploring his emotions and letting that tell the story, he needed the formula and lessons to tie each chapter together as a book. Somehow I was left not particularly inspired, only moderately amused, and having learned random vignettes from this authors life, without feeling like I know much about who he really is.

  • Nancy Kennedy
    2019-03-31 17:26

    We all have moments in our lives that we'd do over again if we could. Things that we regret we said, or things we're sorry we didn't say. But most of us just try to tamp down the memory of our failings and console ourselves with the thought that we'll do better next time.Lee Kravitz goes one step better. After losing his job, and beginning to wonder whether work is all there is to life, he embarks on a year-long quest to right some past wrongs, or if not wrongs, at least actions he regrets. And his range is global. His first quest is to track down a relative his family had literally abandoned in a care facility. His final quest is to make good on a rash promise he made to a child in an impoverished African village.What I found most interesting about Mr. Kravitz's journey was that when he completed each self-imposed task, he not only atoned for the past but he changed his future. As a result of his "searching and fearless moral inventory" as AA would call it, he becomes a different person. He says it like this, "If I had learned anything on my journeys to complete my unfinished business, it was that reaching out transforms you. Every time I extended myself to someone else, something good happened--and I became a happier person."I would have given the book five stars if I felt that Mr. Kravitz hadn't run out of steam -- or time -- toward the end of the book. Anticipating the African moment that the back-cover copy makes so much of, this quest is a let down. He doesn't go to the village; he doesn't try to track down the child he promised a library of books to. We get no denouement at all. The chapter ends with his daughter suggesting they send a box of books to Kenya; we don't even get to go with them to the bookstore to choose the books. I would have rather he extended his self-imposed deadline and gotten on a plane. The emotional payoff would have been more genuine.I also felt that in a couple of quests, Mr. Kravitz backs off from the most important thing he could have done to close the circle: apologize. Weighed down by his failure to send a condolence card to a high school baseball teammate whose daughter was murdered in Iraq some years earlier, Mr. Kravitz attends a function in her honor, talks to his friend, and rekindles the friendship around their shared interest of baseball. But he never addresses the subject head on. Maybe it's a guy thing, but I was expecting him to ask forgiveness. Same goes for his abandoned relative. "I'm sorry" is the hardest thing for us to say, but it teaches us humility. That's what enables us to act differently going forward.

  • Ashley
    2019-04-01 19:38

    Won this one from Goodreads. This book tells the story of Lee Kravitz who loses his job. He seemed to your typical middle-aged workaholic, who had neglected friends, family, and relationships in favor of work. After being fired, he loses his sense of identity; instead of immediately trying to find a new job, though, Kravitz decides to spend a year working through his "unfinished business".I think everyone can relate to this book on some level - while you may not be a workaholic or have skipped your beloved grandmother's funeral, everyone has "stuff" that they've put off, for whatever reasons. Kravitz's journey to tie up his loose ends will undoubtedly make the reader think of promises unfulfilled, kind words never spoken, or a conflict left unresolved. I found Kravitz's journey heartwarming and personally relevant, but at the same time also felt like there was a lot of focus on him and his circumstances. Which is fine; it's his book after all, but I feel like that kept me from connecting with him and his story on a deeper level. He did a nice job as he wrapped up the book of extrapolating his experiences to the larger picture, though, which I appreciated. Ultimately, though, this felt like something that would mean more to his family and friends than to me, an outsider. I was also slightly put off by the fact that Kravitz is obviously well-off. While he does attribute his ability to take a year off to savings and his severance package, it's still a luxury that most can't afford, especially as so many people have been laid off the past few years and are desperate to find work. He has a home in NYC and a country home, as well, and traveled quite a bit to reconnect with those from his past. I think he glazed over the fact of how fortunate he was to be in the position to deal with his unfinished business and that his family was on-board with the idea. Granted, I'm sure the book deal more than makes up for that, but I feel like it bears acknowledgment.A good read, though - don't get me wrong. It was amazing to see how the people from Kravitz's past were so open and welcome to him again and is a good reminder to us all to cherish those we have in our lives and spend the time needed to maintain those relationships.

  • Lori
    2019-04-02 17:39

    I was drawn to this book because I find myself in somewhat of a similar position to the author,Lee Kravitz. We both had our careers come to an unexpected halt. Both searching to fill time. Both have too much time to think and reevaluate now. so I picked up this book….So just a few opinions of mine on this book.I thought it was fantastic that he sought out his Aunt Fern after 15 years of being locked away in a mental asylum. I felt it shameful that the WHOLE family just excepted one doctors opinion that it was best no family sees her… ever again?!?! WTH!Repaying a Long Overdue debt. This chapter goes to show how some things bother us WAY MORE than people who we think we wronged. However I think it admirable that Kravitz went back to address it .Letting go of a Grudge could be a book all on its own. I feel that grudges are just a matter of changing our perspectives though, IMHO.Reading about Auxentios was interesting! I would certainly like to read more of his work and prayerful thoughts and meditations. However, the part that REALLY BOTHERS me in this chapter is when Lee, Kirk, and Matt take LSD and then think that their hallucinations are close to what one would experience when they practice Transcendental Meditations. That, I feel, really sends the WRONG message. It diminishes the power of meditation and it sensationalizes drug usage. :(Healing a families wounds would be a celebration for the author but was painful for me to read about. One paragraph stands out for me. I spend pondering it and I discussed it with my husband…Kravitz is speaking of his parents : "Some people spend their whole lives looking for evidence that their prints loved them. I could see it in this photograph, and in the way they loved my children. Watching my father play hide-and-seek with the twins, listening to my mother talk about Noah's smile. I reveled in their joy. What would I miss most about my parents? Experiencing my children through their eyes."I felt that was the most profound and beautiful line in the whole book.Over all though,I felt the book dragged a bit. I was ready for it to be wrapped up.

  • James Wirshing
    2019-04-05 22:29

    ...unfinished business... is the inspiring retelling of the author's 1-year quest to create closure on ten of his life issues that have disturbed him the most.This book validates the now popular belief that interpersonal relationships are the things that matter most in our lives. While the accumulation of material wealth, fame, and influence certainly produce significant ego-satisfaction, they don't produce the lasting sense of significance that accompanies solid relationships that are mutually supportive.As would be expected of this former editor in chief of "Parade" magazine, Lee Kravitz is a good storyteller. He does a fine job of recounting the precipitating events, his recent efforts to create closure, and the outcome. While he makes no effort to sermonize on the moral importance or value of his actions, it is fairly easy for the reader to make the deductions and to apply the lessons in their own life.As I write this review, my favorite aunt lies in a hospital with with only days left to live. She is 94 years young. Among my 24 first cousins, hundreds of other cousins, two sisters and myself, "Tante Guite" is universally acknowledged as the favorite of our 2 uncles and 5 aunts on my mother's side of the family. Since circumstances have prevented me from visiting her these past 5 years, I could have rationalized not even making the effort to call her. Thanks to Lee Kravitz and my mental merging of two of his ten recountings, I found the self-discipline to not only overcome a foreign language barrier to contacting my aunt, I also managed to find three more cousins who were otherwise unaware of the situation themselves. Thus, I have now managed to avoid one of my own pieces of what could have been ...unfinished business.Although this book contains no earth-shattering revelations, it is well worth your time to read it, and hopefully, to apply its lessons to your own life.

  • Cori
    2019-04-03 18:34

    Well, I loved the idea of sorting out things that have been weighing on you for years; things that you know you should have dealt with or changed, but that you never got around to. We all have stuff like this — there was a boy that was teased mercilessly in elementary school, and I threw my share of verbal stones in his direction. To this day, I feel absolutely wretched when I think about what this poor kid endured. I’ve tried finding him on FB, but he doesn’t seem to be on there, which actually worries me. I wish I could find him and tell him that I’m so sorry for any pain I may have caused him.Anyway, Kravitz decides to hunt down people he has unfinished business with. He’s lucky, however, in that he has the time, money, and support to travel around the country finishing things up. It felt a little unfair — how are the rest of us supposed to do these sorts of things when we have jobs and families and responsibilities? And many of the visits he made to people felt a little self-indulgent — like the stories were too much about him and not enough about the other person sometimes. For instance, he promised an African boy he’d help build a library in his refugee camp, but nothing really came of it – his family decided to see if they could send a box of books over there, but you never find out if they do it. It was sort of I-wanted-to-do-this-and-now-here’s-something-to-make-me-feel-mildly-better-about-reneging-on-a-promise-to-a-starving-child…But it was still interesting to see him attempt to reconcile different parts of his past with his current life. I particularly liked the chapter about getting his dad and uncle on speaking terms again. For him to discover things about his father he never knew was quite beautiful.Read my complete review here:

  • Sue
    2019-03-29 19:43

    I wish the rating system allowed for 1/2 points, because what I really wanted to rate this book was 3.5 stars. I liked the book, but the part I really liked was the CONCEPT of the book: a first person account of a man in his 50's who consciously looked back on his life and deliberately chose to mend as many unmended fences as possible, in other words, to finish his "unfinished business." For Kravitz, the catalyst for his personal journey was the unexpected loss of his job and the realization that, in service to this job, he had neglected nearly all of the meaningful human relationships in his life. Consequently, his unfinished business involved reconnecting with long-lost relatives and friends, thanking past teachers and mentors, repaying old debts, and keeping long-ignored promises. I found his story interesting, but also very male, in that most of the people I know who ignore friends and family in service to career are men. So, in that sense, it was difficult for me to relate to his story.HOWEVER, when I -- a woman in my 50's -- reflected on the IDEA that Kravitz introduced in his book, i.e., what would really happen if one examined his life and actively set out to correct, as much as is possible, the mistakes and regrets of a lifetime, well, then I became intrigued. What would I change? What do I truly regret? What did I mean to do, but somehow never got around to? Who did I want to be, before I became distracted by life? And most of all, what would happen if I tried -- even decades later -- to fix these self-identified mistakes? Ahhh -- now I'm interested, challenged, and inspired. It's not a bad way to feel after reading a book!

  • Grace
    2019-04-10 22:17

    Author: Lee KravitzTitle: Unfinished Business: One Man’s Extraordinary Year of Trying to Do the Right ThingsDescription (source): After losing his job, Lee Kravitz—a man who had always worked too hard and too much—took stock of his life and decided to spend an entire year making amends and reconnecting with the people and parts of himself he had neglected. (cover)ARC source: Library ThingWriting style: Kravitz knows how to tell a good story, and I like the format of the book: an introductory chapter, followed by a chapter on each of the matters of unfinished business he needed to tend to. The book got a little repetitive toward the end, as Kravitz reminds the reader several times what he’s doing and why. It’s almost as if the chapters were being published separately, so each one has a little back story.Audience: People who like memoirs/quests; that would be me.Major ideas: The idea and its execution are the strongest part of this book. Everyone has regrets, and the idea of going back to see what happened or to try to make amends is something everyone can relate to. I’ll bet everyone who reads this book starts to wonder, “If I had written this book, who would be the stars of my story?” Kravitz includes some stories from readers—his own quest did start others thinking.Wrap-up: I enjoyed the book very much and I know I’ll think about it frequently over the next few weeks. It’s definitely worth a read. 4/5*

  • Allison
    2019-04-14 16:16

    Disclaimer: I won this book from a First Reads giveaway.Each chapter of this book told the story of one of the author's attempts at tying up some personal loose ends he'd let dangle around for years while he was busy being engrossed in his job, from which he was recently laid off. Though several of the stories make references back to previous chapters, I felt that on the whole they were disjointed and just sort of lumped together haphazardly to make a book. There was no consistent narrative aside from "I have unfinished business to take care of before I die," and if there was a chronology, I couldn't pick up on it. Many of the stories I didn't even find all that interesting or emotionally powerful. The one exception was the story of Reverend Jarvis, which was compelling in itself, and naturally flowed into subsequent stories. The conclusion at the end didn't really tie things together for me, either. It fell flat with one piece of "unfinished business" that he couldn't complete, but it didn't even seem like he tried that hard. It's like he got tired or lazy, or more likely just ran out of time before he had to meet his publisher's deadline. I'm sure there's a market for this kind of generic feel-good book, it's just not my thing.

  • Komal
    2019-04-12 22:28

    Unlike other books I have read I did not walk away from this book inspired at all. Awesome, you have tons of money and feel bad because you neglected everyone you should be caring about for so long. It's nice you went out of your way to indulge yourself and spend a lot of money doing cool and fun things like visiting friends, and maintaining two houses...BUT...what about your family and children?! What about spending more time with them? What about doing something that really matters with all that money? To be fair...I think the idea (like many others have mentioned) is great - people should feel bad for putting their jobs/money over human relations and it's GREAT that he realized this and did something about it...but something still felt shallow? I had a hard time connecting with the writing...I am not particularly impressed with Mr. Kravitz as a human even after reading this book - he seems ridiculously narcissistic. But I do hope more people learn and find the value in human relationships before it is too late.

  • K.M.
    2019-04-06 22:26

    This book is was immediately interesting to me because it begins with the author losing his job through a layoff. This is something that is familiar to so many of us, so I was immediately engaged. He ends up making a list of events in his life that need closure, and instead of immediately looking for a new job, he decides (with his family's support) to take a year off and work on his unfinished business. He makes a list of things that he would like to attend to after going through boxes of items he's packed up from his past, which were all jumbled together in no particular order. In the process of sorting the items he discovers some patterns and hopes that by trying to resolve these issues he can make sense of where he is now in his life, and (maybe more importantly) what he would like to do with the rest of his life. This book reminds me of the movie "The Bucket List" with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. It may even motivate you to make your own list of "unfinished business" and actually attend to it!

  • L (Sniffly Kitty)
    2019-04-12 14:28

    This was a pretty good account of Lee's one year journey to tie up regrets in his life. They range from the mundane to the more interesting as the author seems to be acquainted with a number of fairly interesting people. This book serves as a reminder of what is important in life, and I'm likely to recommend this book to a couple of my friends who might need the reminder. It waxes quite spiritual in some parts although not overwhelmingly so. Kravitz's financial circumstances let him complete a lot of his regrets without what would seem too much worry to the cost of some of the adventures he went on. Granted any in-depth discussion of finances would have detracted from the story itself, and his brief mention is sufficient for the purposes of the book. I would hesitate to say that such jet-setting would be available to everyone seeking to settle their debts and regrets. The spirit of the book though is a good lesson.Disclaimer: I won this from First Reads.

  • C.j. Clover
    2019-04-20 22:28

    I really enjoyed the concept of the book. Kravitz tells a pretty good story and doesn't drag anything out much further than he needs. The highlight, for me, was the chapter about his teacher, Tony Jarvis. Everyone should have a Tony Jarvis in their lives. The chapter itself doesn't get much done for the book, but I was just enamored with Jarvis. Jarvis exemplified a life well lived. The most important piece of advice came in this chapter: "If your generation is like those that have gone before it -and it is- the majority of your contemporaries will choose unreflective, shallow, comfortable, self-indulgent existences. They will be copies. Don't be a copy. Be a captain of your own destiny." -Tony JarvisOverall this was a 'feelgood' read for me. The point of the book isn't "It's never too late" but rather to go back and TRY to right our wrongs, or at the very least, acknowledge our bad deeds.

  • Becca
    2019-03-24 19:30

    As I have said with previous books, and as others have similarly commented, I liked the concept of this book more than I liked the story. The story wasn't bad, but it also wasn't riveting. What I appreciated was the thought-provoking aspect that made me stop and think about what unfinished business I have in my life. What things could I do differently to improve my life? How have I not lived life to this point and how can I change it? Granted, I'm not as financially stable as this guy apparently was to be flying all over the world visiting people for a year while he is between jobs. This, by default, means my "unfinished business" would be addressed differently, but it certainly was inspiring to be able to see the positive outcomes of his decisions to go back and address some of these situations that he may have previously decided needed to be ignored or put away and not revisited.

  • Novi_khansa
    2019-04-16 22:44

    Aku baca terjemahannya dan di sini, aku berperan sebagai proofreader ;)Buku ini diterbitkan Kaifa dengan judul The Ultimate Happiness, Important To-Do List Before You Die.Banyak urusan tak tuntas dalam hidup kita, entah sengaja tidak kita tuntaskan atau memang benar-benar belum bisa dituntaskan. Lee Kravitz mempunyai banyak urusan tak tuntas yang dia selesaikan satu demi satu. Banyak kejutan dan hikmah yang ia dapatkan. Mulai dari kedekatannya kembali dengan seorang kerabat, pertemuan-pertemuan dengan teman lama hingga janji yang akhirnya berusaha ia tunaikan saat dia di belahan Benua Afrika beberapa tahun sebelumnya. "Sekalipun kau tidak menyadarinya hari per hari, urusan tak tuntasmu terus membebani jiwamu. Kemudian suatu hari, ketika kau sama sekali tidak menduganya, urusan itu akan muncul dengan sendirinya."

  • Eliza Fayle
    2019-04-13 18:32

    Lee Kravitz, author of Unfinished Business, was caught up in work, work, work, work, work. Not just for a year, but for years. Actually, most of his adult life.Until BAM! He lost his job in his fifties.After the to-be-expected-and-who-can-blame-him pity party, Kravitz opened some boxes of memories — literally — and he realized he had unfinished business. So, instead of frantically seeking a new job, he determined to take a year to himself to finish up his unfinished business.Unfinished Business was a life balance wake up call for me. I did mentally scan the last year to see if I had accumulated my own unfinished business, and I came up with one. One is one too many, and I will put that to rights. But it also made me realize that I need to slow down, take time for myself and my family.To read the full review visit