Book Report: Can A Lawn Chair Really Fly? by Jess Gibson (1993)

I bought this book not because I’m a big fan of self-help motivational books, but because I knew how the main conceits story ended, right about the book was publshed. Larry Walters attached some helium-filled weather balloons to a lawn chair because he wanted to fly. Armed with a pellet gun to shoot the balloons to control his altitude, some sand bags for ballast, and a six pack. He shot up to 18,000 feet and into the flight paths for LAX. After he finally came down and got tangled in some power wires, he told a reporter he did it because “You can’t just sit there.” A great conceit for a self-help motivational book.

In 1993, Larry Walters killed himself. A little less rousing premise.

So I opened the book to chuckle at the woe-begotten central conceit, and indeed some of the other examples in the book are dated and the end result of the stories ends up not being optimal for the participants. Aren’t I a sophisticated cosmpolitan pooh-pooher?

Jess Gibson was a businessman before his calling to serve the Lord, and it shows. The book is definitely a business kind of motivational book with some scriptures overlaid. I can’t say that it’s roused me out of this chair to do something–I’m busy writing book reports that upwards of a dozen people will read–but if you’re the kind of person influenced by this, maybe it will help you. Actually, I wonder about people who read a lot of these kinds of books. People who read self-help motivational books tend to read a lot of them, don’t they? Do they build up a tolerance, or do they just need a steady diet of motivation? Hey, if it works for them, I won’t knock it.

On a side note, although the author looks a little, uh, seasoned in the jacket photo, he’s still around. I just saw him on PBS promoting funding for public television. Good for him.

Books mentioned in this review: