The Way of Oz: A Guide to Wisdom, Heart, and Courage

Robert V. Smith
Texas Tech University Press (2012)
ISBN 9780896727397
Reviewed by Leslie Granier for Reader Views (12/13)

“The Way of Oz: A Guide to Wisdom, Heart, and Courage” by Robert V. Smith is a self-help book that stresses the importance of the traits the characters in “The Wizard of Oz” series were seeking for getting ahead in today’s world. The book begins with a good overview of the Oz series for those who may need a refresher. Then the life of L. Frank Baum, who authored the Oz books, is chronicled. It is here that the reader is informed how many concepts embodied in “The Wizard of Oz” are based on Baum’s life experiences. 

Throughout the book the importance of learning, loving, and service are stressed. Constant learning, whether it is improving written and verbal communication or developing professional skills at work, is necessary for advancement. Love of others, love of place, love of learning, and love of self are discussed in depth.

Believing in oneself, using critical thinking, and welcoming challenges are common characteristics of people who have developed a sense of heart. The author also stresses that serving others, whether it is in the military or as a group leader, will help a person develop leadership skills. Individuals must accept personal responsibilities--knowing they have the power to bring about change and that they can make a difference in the world. It is through persistence, prioritization, and critical thinking that this can be achieved. Accepting and embracing diversity among people, places and ideas is essential for progress and harmony. The practices of humility and integrity round out the author’s suggestions for improvement. 

“The Way of Oz: A Guide to Wisdom, Heart, and Courage” by Robert V. Smith offers helpful advice for anyone looking to make improvements in their life. However, I think it is geared more toward people between the ages of 16 and 25 because it focuses a lot on aspects such as making career choices and taking advantage of opportunities to study abroad. It also stresses how the choices people make now will not only impact their futures, but the future of the country. There are barcodes in the book that can be scanned with a Smartphone that will connect the reader to videos that show how “The Wizard of Oz” has influenced the lives of different students and professors. I cannot comment on their quality since I do not have a Smartphone.

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