A Simple Act of Gratitude: Book summary and reviews of A Simple Act of Gratitude by John Kralik

A Simple Act of Gratitude

How Learning to Say Thank You Changed My Life

by John Kralik

A Simple Act of Gratitude
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  • Published in USA  Dec 2011
    240 pages
    Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

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Book Summary

A Simple Act of Gratitude was previously published and reviewed in hardcover as 365 Thank Yous.

One recent December, at age 53, John Kralik found his life at a terrible, frightening low: his small law firm was failing; he was struggling through a painful second divorce; he had grown distant from his two older children and was afraid he might lose contact with his young daughter; he was living in a tiny apartment where he froze in the winter and baked in the summer; he was 40 pounds overweight; his girlfriend had just broken up with him; and overall, his dearest life dreams--including hopes of upholding idealistic legal principles and of becoming a judge--seemed to have slipped beyond his reach.

Then, during a desperate walk in the hills on New Year's Day, John was struck by the belief that his life might become at least tolerable if, instead of focusing on what he didn't have, he could find some way to be grateful for what he had.

Inspired by a beautiful, simple note his ex-girlfriend had sent to thank him for his Christmas gift, John imagined that he might find a way to feel grateful by writing thank-you notes. To keep himself going, he set himself a goal--come what may--of writing 365 thank-you notes in the coming year.

One by one, day after day, he began to handwrite thank yous--for gifts or kindnesses he'd received from loved ones and coworkers, from past business associates and current foes, from college friends and doctors and store clerks and handymen and neighbors, and anyone, really, absolutely anyone, who'd done him a good turn, however large or small. Immediately after he'd sent his very first notes, significant and surprising benefits began to come John's way--from financial gain to true friendship, from weight loss to inner peace. While John wrote his notes, the economy collapsed, the bank across the street from his office failed, but thank-you note by thank-you note, John's whole life turned around.

A Simple Act of Gratitude is a rare memoir: its touching, immediately accessible message--and benefits--come to readers from the plainspoken storytelling of an ordinary man. Kralik sets a believable, doable example of how to live a miraculously good life. To read A Simple Act of Gratitude is to be changed.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Is this book a preachy, condescending type book with fire and brimstone? No not at all, it is easy to read and hard to put down. As books go it is small, easy to hold, but the weight of the words and the deep message is what the gold here is." - Wattpad

"I think this book would be a wonderful gift for someone who is struggling to find anything to be grateful for. I found the book to be inspirational and I am so glad I for the opportunity to read and review it." - The Book Journey Blog

"It was a quick read, and one that I would recommend to you and anyone who might need a fresh perspective on life. It wasn’t overly optimistic, but rather simple and inspiring and it left me challenged to start becoming more thankful and to actually tell others in the written form." - Sincerely Paige, blog

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Reader Reviews

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Cindy M. (Raleigh, NC)

Gratitude
Gratitude has long been believed to be one of the best cures for depression and self-centeredness. John Kralik's book, 365 Thank Yous, is a testimony to the power of thankfulness to transform lives

I LOVED this book! It is a short, quick read but I read it slowly as his honesty and vulnerability touched my heart. Each time I opened the book, I felt like I was visiting with an old friend - a friend struggling in life that I desperately wanted to cheer on and to cheer up. His transparency in sharing his life served as the perfect backdrop to the honesty of his heartfelt thank you notes. By looking for and grasping the smallest glimmers of light in his life, he was able to be grateful for the many previously unnoticed, wonderful things he had been given, transforming himself (and ultimately his circumstances) in the process.

This book would appeal to anyone who has ever struggled with depression, discouragement, or a temporary lack of vision. It is a wonderful book of encouragement. It will make a great friendship gift and should prompt a new movement in appreciating the many blessings of daily life.

Teresa M. (Naples, FL)

365 Thanks yous
I loved this book! I loved it so much that I recommended it to my book club and it is going to be our November selection. In preparation for our discussion we all agreed to participate in our Thank You Project. Over the summer we are going to write thank you notes, keep track of them and share the results with the group in November.

Joan L. (Palm Desert, CA)

365 Thank Yous
This is a gem of a book. The author has taken an oft-neglected good manners - Thank You note writing - and used the exercise to produce a very heartfelt and valuable book. The reader will want to discover the joy of note writing for him/herself after reading this book. All of us can follow his example and find more in our lives for which we can be grateful.

Sharon C. (Newton, IA)

365 Thank Yous
This book is inspiring and very noteworthy (no pun intended). I find Mr. Kralik's pledge to write 365 thank you notes in a year a very enlightening and very challenging idea. Next time you want to thank some one, write it in a note. Try it. Don't email, don't call, but put it in writing to be saved and to be reread. There is nothing more memorable than a note of gratitude for a good deed no matter how small you may think it is. Thank you, Mr. Kralik.

Erica M. (Chicago, IL)

Thank You - for a pleasant surprise
As a lawyer myself, who has struggled through the challenges of the financial meltdown, and watched family, friends and clients, do the same, I assumed I would relate to what Judge Kralik had to say, based on the description of the book. I wasn't expecting a book that was so hard to put down. It was more than a memoir and more than an inspirational book. I am convinced that we all have to struggle in order to appreciate the goodness in our lives - and Kralik truly got to the heart of that philosophy. I found him even-handed about his analysis of himself and others and approached his challenges with an attitude of this is what I did, not, this is what YOU should do. But even in that, he inspires. I found the statement of ideals for running his law firm to be consistent with the way he ran his life and wrote his thank yous. The book was an extremely pleasant surprise.

Helen S. (Sun City West, AZ)

Powerful Reminder
John Kralik's personal story clearly shows the transforming power of saying "thank you." As I read 365 Thank Yous, I was moved by the gradual improvement of his family and professional relationships and his financial situation. Incredibly, these significant changes were the result of simply writing thank you notes!

I recommend this easy-to-read true story to readers of all ages, but especially to young people, who may not know the importance of acknowledging gifts, favors, and kindness with a heart-felt thank you note.

...15 more reader reviews

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John Kralik was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and attended the University of Michigan for college and law school. He practiced law for thirty years, and was a partner in the law firms of Hughes Hubbard & Reed, Miller Tokuyama Kralik & Sur, and Kralik & Jacobs. In 2009, he was appointed a judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court. He lives in the Los Angeles area.

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