The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is one of my favourite non-fiction reads. Although it’s been out for several years now, I’m still inspired by the book’s message. Despite having a totally disfunctional childhood with shockingly incompetent parents, she grew up to become what today’s society deems “a success”. When I asked her at a book launch for her second book, The Silver Star, what made her different from other people who don’t manage to rise above their circumstances, she cited her father’s recognition of her ability to do and be anything she wanted. While this may seem like a simple response, it obviously worked for her. I wonder what would have happened if her father, in view of his own mental instability had not offered this encouragement. The bottom line is she succeeded. As someone who also did well in life and in business without parental support – financially or emotionally beyond high school – and without a college or university degree, I am always respectful of people who accomplish this.