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Take Off Your Shoes: One Man's Journey from the Boardroom to Bali and Back    by Ben Feder order for
Take Off Your Shoes
by Ben Feder
Order:  USA  Can
Radius Book Group, 2018 (2018)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

How do you balance quality of life (for yourself and your family) with career? Ben Feder shares how he made that call in his informative and thought provoking travel memoir, Take Off Your Shoes: One Man's Journey from the Boardroom to Bali and Back. The book resonated strongly with me as I interrupted my own successful R&D career twice for travel, and one of those trips (a year around the world) included Bali.

As time with his family steadily decreased, and family life in general deteriorated, Feder and his wife Victoria decided that it was time for him to take a sabbatical, whatever the career outcome. They considered Argentina at first, but finally decided on Bali, where they settled their three children in the Green School, focused on teaching global citizenship. Ben and Victoria also sought to advance personal goals. He worked on meditation, learning to draw, and mountain biking.

Though the travel memoir is absorbing, I also appreciated the author's comments on books read, like Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind. Regarding working skills required if his children's generation - 'Anything that could be outsourced or automated would be ... Getting a good education was no longer a guarantee of anything'. Rather 'careers that involved creativity, innovation, and new ideas' would be important.

In addition to the sabbatical's effect on himself and his wife, Feder explains how it changed his children, increasing their political and environmental awareness, and improving sibling relationships and creativity. He also describes the lasting effects of the experience on his family after it was over. Whether or not you have ever considered such a drastic move as this one to Bali, I recommend reading Take Off Your Shoes, while seriously considering life changes to promote health and happiness.

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