Reading Dying to Live: A Tapestry of Reinvention is an affecting emotional experience. Author Michael Bianco-Splann invests every iota of his considerable literary powers to depict his journey from a childhood as an adopted son in an alcoholic household, his coming of age during the 1970’s, initial experimentation of drugs and alcohol, and eventual headfirst tumble into addiction. The book, likewise, covers his relationship struggles, how his emotional issues affected those relationships, and his gradual understanding of the forces that shaped him.
It covers more though. Dying to Live is far from a memoir about drug addiction and dysfunctional behavior. Bianco-Splann spends just as many pages, if not more, chronicling his journey out of darkness and into light rather than dragging readers into a miasma of despair reading about the pratfalls of his life. Rarely have I read such a well-rounded account of how someone discovered him or herself, in the proverbial nick of time, and recognized their true purpose in life rather than becoming another casualty among many. The inspiring qualities of this book cannot be underestimated.
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He has a strong narrative voice sustaining the entire work. Bianco-Splann has obviously labored over this book to strike the right tone for readers rather than pandering to the lowest common denominator and titillating us with sad and sordid details from his past. Often times works such as these feel like the equivalent of literary car crashes and the writer dares readers to look away from the chronicle of personal wreckage. Not so here. Michael Bianco-Splann’s Dying to Live: A Tapestry of Reinvention has a message to deliver to readers and does so with distinction and genuine class.
He makes this message even clearer with the book’s companion volume Conscious Leadership: 7 Principles that Will Change Your Business and Change Your Life. This book is motivational in nature, but Bianco-Splann is far too artful to present us with a crude exhortative text. Instead, the same thoughtfulness and self-reflection characterizing Dying to Live is in evidence here as well and the seven principles Bianco-Splann lays out for readers are readily comprehensible. He promotes them with such graceful logic and clear passion that it isn’t difficult to buy what he’s selling.
It is also a strength of the second book that he makes clear, in the title and from the book’s earliest pages onward, that these principles are applicable in all phases of life rather than just the personal. The same vulnerability present in Dying to Live informs these pages as well; Bianco-Splann makes a strong case that the stakes are high in our respective lives and he’s willing to put himself out there, figuratively, to bolster a reader’s enthusiasm for his ideas. You finish this book with the same feelings you experience after concluding Dying to Live – the inspiration to, once again, meet life head on with renewed gratitude and focus. Conscious Leadership: 7 Principles that Will Change Your Business and Change Your Life is an involving read and offers everyone a blueprint for steering life in a more productive direction rather than surrendering the wheel to capricious fate or other’s whims.