“Voyage of A Viking” Reveiw

Voyage of a Viking book coverMany thanks to Oliver DeMille for his kind review of my new book, Voyage of a Viking.


Years ago I gave a speech at a business convention. I’ve done a lot of these, so I don’t remember every detail or venue, but several really stand out as memorable. On this occasion, the big arena had many thousands of people, but due to construction there was only way to the stage and we had to get there early and sit on the wing of the temporary stadium stage with all the speakers for that session. A construction boss walked us all through together to ensure that we were safe and avoided the danger areas.

This turned out to be a real blessing to me, because the speaker who shared the session with me changed my life. He spoke just after me, and because of the special construction circumstances I had to stay after I spoke and listen to what he had to say. I think if I’d had been scheduled after him I would have been busy thinking about my own speech and not listened closely to his message. Thankfully, I was highly motivated after my speech, and I listened carefully to every word he said.

He started by saying that nearly all his important lessons in life had come from his struggles, failures, mistakes or losses. He was a fan of golf, and talked about how every golf mistake he made taught him how to be a better golfer. He related this to life and business losses, and discussed at length how he was taught in school to avoid mistakes and focus on the lessons of success—but how real life had taught him exactly the opposite.

It was a moving speech. He had us all pencil out our 5 biggest losses and mistakes in life, and then helped us brainstorm at least three major lessons we should have learned from each. That’s fifteen top lessons, and he assured us that these lessons were some of the things we most need to achieve our goals in life. I was mesmerized, instructed, and moved. The speaker was right: my fifteen lessons have been invaluable to me.
I went away deeply touched by this speech. I have seldom listened to a speech or read a book that was so genuine, so real, so deep, and so powerful. Until today.

Today I read a book that struck me the same way this speech did. Voyage of a Viking by Tim Marks is a must read for anyone who cares about success and leadership. It will apply to moms, dads, mentors, professionals, executives, entrepreneurs and everyone else. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. I read the book straight through from the beginning to the end.

I was touched, moved, motivated, instructed. I cried. I read quotes to my wife, and later to two of my kids. I found myself taking notes about my own life, and making plans to be better. This book is incredibly real, genuine, and powerful.

Marks admits that not everything in Viking history should be emulated, but he emphasizes how much we can learn from the positive Viking traits, including such things as yearning for freedom, being courageous explorers and connecting communities. He teaches how the name for the modern Bluetooth comes from the Viking king “Bluetooth” Gormsson of AD 958, a great builder of bridges (literally and figuratively) between communities. This concept of bridge-building is still much needed in all facets of modern leadership.

Marks shows how another Viking trait worthy of emulation is bullheadedness, which combines initiative and innovation with tenacity and ingenuity. Together these form the base of the great entrepreneurial values—they are also the de facto values of the great free societies in history.

One of the most moving things in this book is Marks’ view of what it means to be an adult, a leader, and a man. In many ways this reminds me of one of my favorite authors—Louis L’Amour. Some prestigious universities were criticized a few years back when they began using L’Amour texts in great literature courses, but this didn’t surprise me. Some of his works are, in fact, truly great.

As a youth, one of my favorite pastimes was reading L’Amour. My dad was a school teacher by trade, and my mom was an English teacher for both high school and college, but our family ran a farm with croplands as well as cattle, sheep, horses and other animals, and a lot of my non-school time was spent working with my dad and brothers on the farm.

In later years, after I became an author, my brothers made it a standing joke to laugh about how often they’d be in the middle of a farm project (hauling hay, moving wheat into bins, building fences, shearing sheep, exercising the horses, etc.) only to notice that somehow I’d slipped away from the work and was nowhere to be found—I was nearly always high on haystack in one of the barns reading books by L’Amour or some other author. Marks’ Voyage of a Viking book would have fit right in.

This is a book about life, what it means to live a good one, and how all of us have to overcome our challenges if we want to make a positive difference in the world. In my book The Student Whisperer, which I wrote with Tiffany Earl, I wrote about the “desert” or “wilderness” that all leaders must pass through on the path to any success, but I have never seen it more effectively described than in Voyage of a Viking. This alone is worth the price of the book.

But there is so much more. Marks’ thesis sums up what this book, and in fact all success in life, is all about: “Define what you want, learn from someone who has gone before you, and then do it for the glory of God.” Right on. It is full of profound gems. For example: “Being humble doesn’t mean you think less of yourself—it means you think of yourself less,” and “We can judge how good we are as students by how fast we implement our mentor’s advice.”

Perhaps the most powerful thing about this excellent book, as I mentioned earlier, is that it is one of those rare contributions to success literature that shows how our losses, struggles, setbacks, mistakes, and challenges are some of our most important teachers and mentors. A lot of books tell us to make lemonade out of lemons or see the silver lining in things, but this book shows us how this works—in real life, in the face of real obstacles, in our own experiences. As such, it is literally a must read.

Leadership is about wisdom, and Voyage of a Viking is a profoundly wise book. There a few wisdom books every leader simply must read, like Corrie Ten Boom’s Tramp for the Lord, Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints, or L’Amour’s The Last of the Breed. And, of course, there are a few truly wise business books, such as The Radical Leap by Steve Farber, Good to Great by Jim Collins, Organizing Genius by Warren Bennis, Johnson’s and Blanchard’s Who Moved My Cheese?, among others. And who can forget Goleman’s Primal Leadership, or The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey? Tim Marks’ Voyage of a Viking fits right in to this list.

As Marks himself says about this book: “This is a no-holds-barred discussion on the speed of the leader determining the speed of the group.” This book is fun. It is about finding yourself as a leader by dedicating your life to serving others, and it is about the adage, as articulated in the foreword by Orrin Woodward, that example in leadership isn’t the main thing, it’s everything.

I’m still applying those 15 lessons I penciled out years ago as I listened just off stage, and I know that many years in the future I’ll still be re-reading and applying the things I learned today in Voyage of a Viking. It’s a truly great book. So do yourself a favor and don’t miss out on this great contribution to leadership!

Oliver DeMille is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education, Leadership Education, The Student Whisperer, The Coming Aristocracy, Freedom Shift, and other books on freedom and leadership.


To read DeMille’s review of Viking on Amazon.com and to add your own, click here.

God Bless, Tim Marks

33 thoughts on ““Voyage of A Viking” Reveiw”

  1. Tim,
    I received your book in my LIFE shipment and began to devour it about 3 hours ago. I’m just about to page 90, but thought I’d stop to tell you my experience with page 62…I got to the part where you quoted the Nurse saying, “You know, some people just won’t die with people in the room.” and my mouth fell open – I sat and stared at the quote for about ten seconds, then burst into tears, followed by sobs. On March 17th 1997, I asked a Nurse why My Dad was hanging on so long, her answer to me was verbatim the quote in your book! She left the room and I was alone with Dad. I kissed him on the cheek, telling him he shouldn’t keep Jesus waiting like this, and that I’d take good care of his Sweetheart. I left the hospital, and in less than an hour, got a call from my brother, telling me that Dad was gone. In yours and Amy’s recent CD, “Superman 3”, and also in your book, you tell folks who have living parents to “cherish” the time you have left…I say that all the time as well. My Father’s Sweetheart passed only 5 months after he did. Well, this is getting a tad maudlin, and I’ve got a Great Book to finish devouring! (Hope I don’t find anything else in common.)
    Tim McNeil,
    Team Action

  2. Tim, that is well-deserved praise from another author held in high esteem by all of us. Oliver is a model of the self-educated man, and for him to include Voyage of a Viking with books such as 7 Habits and Good to Great is an amazing compliment. His review of your book is perhaps the most thoughtful, impassioned and edifying review I’ve ever read. Thank you for being the man that you are!

  3. Awesome review from DeMille! I agree with every word he said. I picked up your book and ended up reading it all in one sitting. Thank you for putting in the time and effort to put this book together.

  4. Tim,
    Here is what I shared on Goodreads about your book:

    Tim Marks knocks it out of the park on his first at bat in the Majors! He shows how bull dog determination can save a marriage, fix a financial nightmare, and sand off the rough edges of a choleric personality. Marks speaks to the heart about his failures, tragedies, and eventual triumphs, and includes how he and many others fought their “Goliaths” and won, all for God’s Glory. If you want to succeed, this is a must read!

    I suppose I should have mentioned something in my initial response about Mr DeMille’s praise, as he is another fave author, but I kinda think Oliver pretty much said it all.
    Great Work!

    Tim McNeil,
    Team Action

  5. Grand morning to you, Mr. Tim!

    Mr. DeMille is spot-on; his review is truly spot-on. Coming from a man who personifies a liber/self-directed education, to hear his sterling words about your book can only be considered a blessing so your book’s message reaches millions of people.

    I also posted a review on my blog — I had started using a yellow highlighter on two previous books ( one of which is still in progress ) – there were so many excellent nuggets in yours, the highlighter ran out :->

    Deeply appreciate you sharing your journey’s peaks & valleys with the LIFE compensated community!

    God Bless from the ROK of Kaizen

  6. Tim,

    Thank you very much for sharing part of your life in this book. I can describe this book in one word: HOPE. Hope that a man or woman can change their life with the help of God and a trusted mentor.

    God bless you and your family.


  7. Tim,

    I love your book! I couldn’t wait to get it and once it came, I didn’t hesitate to begin reading. Like DeMille, it was hard to put it down. I’m nearly half way through reading it for the second time. I love the way you made your points through telling the stories of your life. It has caused me to think a lot about my own life and realize that my story is not over, but rather just beginning. Thanks for being so humble and vulnerable. The more I learn about you, the more my respect for you grows.

    God bless,


  8. Hello Tim~

    Thank you so much for sharing your LIFE story! I just received the book and can not put it down. Your life story very similar to mine being raised by a single parent. As a young girl I made the vow to never be divorced. Before LIFE and TEAM we started to head down that very scary track. With LIFE we are heading in the right direction for our marriage and our children!

    My father passed 10 years ago and I am sitting in the hospital with my mom. My brother and my sister on the 95% thinking side being barried in your book filling my heart. You have no idea what your book is doing to my heart and soul! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for opening up and sharing yours! What a Blessing and I am looking forward to meeting you and Amy someday! Please keep leading the way!

  9. He knew you before you were born. Tim, you are truly a man of destiny. God’s plan in your life has become clear, and I am thankful we were included through your book.

  10. Hi Tim,
    I just started reading your book and I must admit that you are really touching my soul. Greatness of soul is something that I admire the most in people. I have seen it displayed all over the first two chapters I have read so far.
    Thanks so much for sharing with us.


  11. Tim,

    Your story is the story of many. Some who lost hope until they read your book.
    I believe the Viking lives inside of all of us. It is just waiting for belief to wake it to life. Your book Voyage of a Viking provides that belief for many.

    It takes a Viking to share the inner most thoughts and feelings you so graciously share. The pain of reliving those experiences while writing this book, can be comfort in knowing you have opened the door for others to bring their Viking to life.

    May GOD continue to Bless your Voyage,

    Greg & Lin Johnson
    TEAM Rhino

  12. Tim, I was looking to write you a more personal message hoping that you would not post this on your blog and knew this was really my only way of getting my message to you.

    In the last month I have been finishing up reading 4 different books so when Voyage of a Viking came, I was eager to start reading but knew that I needed to finish my other books so I could more clearly focus on yours. I am really glad I did that and finally was able to sit down and open your book even though it’s been staring at me on my desk for 3 weeks!

    Well, I finished all my other books and I started reading yours after the open meeting last night (not sure if that was a good idea or a bad idea) but read all the way through the night until noon today! A little over 12 hours straight with few breaks! I HAVE NEVER DONE THAT WITH A BOOK EVER!! I can barely sit down for an hour straight reading a book unless it really captures me! Why do I tell you this? Well, I want you to know that since being associated with the Team (nearly 8 years on and off – since I was 18) I have NEVER read a book that has impacted me as much as yours did. When you mentioned in the beginning about how you wanted the reader to relate on your level if they have ever gone through similar experiences (knowing that their life can change), well that was me in a BIG way and I feel that is why I could not put this book down – I could literally hear my story in your book. I just want to share a little of my story on a personal level to you to show my appreciation for the transparency you displayed. Very few people (especially those in my team community today) know anything about my past and someday those stories will be told but because I feel so connected to your story I really want to share briefly some of those experiences with you now.

    Like you, my dad left me and my twin brother at 6 years old. In fact, my mom and dad were both having affairs prior to their divorce. My mom’s affair led to an 11 year relationship with a man that would physically and emotionally abuse her and my dad’s affair led to another marriage with a woman that made my brother and I feel like a cow out in the barn ready to go to the slaughter house. Well my dad’s led to another divorce a few years later. Like you, I struggled all the way through school… my brother would get bullied and picked on and I was the shy kid that never said two words so I didn’t have any friends and my teachers would get frustrated because I never communicated. My dad was an alcoholic for as long as I can remember – since I was a baby (and unfortunately still is today). While I won’t go into all the details of my childhood, many similar things happened as a result of that divorce..things that children should NEVER have to experience or witness! Unlike you I didn’t get into a drinking problem but I did develop an eating disorder that started in the 7th grade (anorexia that led to bouts of bulimia – so when Amy talks about her story I can’t help but feel connected to her as well). That lasted several years even into college. In fact things got so bad there were many instances of cutting and suicidal behaviors. I actually did not learn anything about Christ, salvation or forgiveness until I was 22 years old associating with the Team community, the faith books that George recommended to me and the mentorship I was urged to seek in that category of my life. There was no talk of religion, no churchianity, nothing spoke of in my family on faith so I was not only ignorant of the topic, I was blind to it! I had no purpose in life, no examples of true love and acceptance and was a lost duck in a big lake looking for her family or a group that she could call family. I am 26 years old now and even though life sucked for pretty much all of those years, the ONLY thing that pulled me out of a grave that was already dug, was the Team.

    The reason I share this brief testimony personally to you guys is because I want you to know how big of an impact yours and Amy’s life story has made in my personal life. While we have only met in passing and through some handshakes, it is amazing how someone’s journey and life experiences can truly change another person’s life. That would not have been possible without the transparency you both have displayed over the years in your CD’s, LIVE talks and now your new book! Knowing even some of the smallest details of your life Tim have helped me overcome some of my own limiting beliefs that I still have (and will always have) to make the decision to become a policy member in Team someday – and through God’s help, make a big impact in the world. I know that this is the course that God has laid for me and my life and I am so grateful for people like you and Amy who have truly paved the way for someone like me. When you struggle with confidence, self esteem, self image, ect the only thing you can do if you want to change is find someone who inspires you that displays those qualities already and ride on their belief until you improve in those areas yourself. You and Amy have been that couple for me and I just want to thank you so much for doing what you have done up to this point and what you will continue to do. Someday I plan to have a conversation with the couple that has inspired me to change my life! See you are PC! Love, Kristen Seidl (working with Guzzardo’s)

  13. Tim,

    Oliver Demille is dead on with his description of your book.
    I was totally absorbed by your book. It has taught me many things that I’m positive will remain with me as I grow my business. It has forced me to review myself and stop lying to myself and to others. (not that I’m a lyer cause that is against God’s principals), but truly look at myself in a different light.

    My boyfriend can relate with the kind of child hood that you’ve faced and I know that it has encouraged him alot.

    I want to thank you for overcoming your weaknesses and being a light for people who are struggling in darkness.

    God Bless you and your family.

    TEAM Kaizen!

  14. Tim…

    The Mental Fitness Challenge is amazing! We probably are skipping ahead to much, but Cassie and I cranked through the 1st module and then some while driving through the UP this weekend. Your character CD is outstanding! Thanks for always serving!!!

  15. Tim,
    I love your book. I have cried and laughed ached for you, Amy and Cam. I respect you greatly that you chose to change your outcome and did what it took which meant correct mentoring You said that you really didn’t grow up with much understanding of faith. I don’t know how much you learned in parochial school about the God of our Fathers. I know that I and my generation suffered greatly from poor catechesis. Like many in your generation and mine, there is much misunderstanding about what the Catholic Church teaches and believes. Most of what people say is dead false. The problem is that most Catholics themselves haven’t taken the time to find out the truth. Since many converts have entered the Catholic Church, they are writing books, hosting blogs and speaking to whomever and wherever they can about the “fullness of Truth.” There are now hundreds of catechetical books and audios are available: one site is “Catholic Answers”, one author who is easy to understand is Dr. Scott Hahn, a professor at Franciscan University and one book is the “Catechism of the Catholic Church which gives biblical references to what the Catholic Church actually teaches and holds as Truth and one chapter in the Bible is John 6. Catholics are taught from the Fathers of the Church that “ignorance of scripture leads to ignorance of Christ.”
    Please understand that I respect you immensely, grateful for the book you’ve written and the wisdom you teach through the audios.

  16. I am just getting started reading your book Tim! Congratulations in getting this to print. You have an amazing story that truly inspires people to be courageous.

  17. One thing about reading Voyage of a Viking by Tim Marks and listening to the Superman 3 CD, is that I am closer than ever to creating a mission statement for my life. We appreciate so much that Tim took his life story and put it in ink, because it touches every single one of us. My mom says that if you save even one soul you have a place in heaven. I think Tim Mark’s book is life changing and will touch and save many souls. I am fairly new in the life business and the knowledge that I have gotten in this very short period of time has changed my life forever. Everything is better, especially my relationships and my priorities in life. May the blessing keep coming forth for Tim Marks and his family. We got to hear him in person in Visalia January 2012. I couldn’t look around and see a dry eye around us during his talk. We are so glad that he is leading us by his example.

  18. Dear Tim,
    Man this book has been a blessing in disguise for me(including your Superman 3 CD). I was going through a family struggle while reading this book and a lot of the wisdom you dropped into it truly has changed my life, but most importantly my family. My hard nose Irish Catholic Grandmother now speaks with my Baptist Mother. For 17 years they never spoke. Heck my grandmother hated my mom so much that grandma did not attend my brother and I graduation this past year. Grandma is now ill with renal failure but I’m happy to say she will not die alone. Thank you SO MUCH for everything you’ve done. You broke a broken family and resealed our family bond. I’m truly a new believer of the LIFE business.
    -Christopher B. Rodinsky

  19. Tim!
    Congratulations on such a wonderful review! I enjoyed your book and I thank you for sharing your life story with us!

  20. Tim,
    I finished reading your book and I found myself getting emotional (tears to cheers). This book is a powerful example how someone can change their lives. I was able to pull some key points that I quickly input in my life. The one I would like to share is that we need to place our trust in our Heavenly Father rather than earthly father.

    Take care


  21. I am over halfway through the book and am blown away by what I have read so far. Your story is amazing! It is a true testament to God’s grace and purpose for someone’s life. Your story shows how anyone can change and become a person after God’s own heart. Keep leading the way through your faith and leadership!

    1. The sure fire way to turn a helpful discissuon into an uncomfortable argument is taking things personal. But, that’s human nature.I can not help but wonder if even well educated people cannot stay on the topic at hand for the learning experience, then I can’t have much hope for any stimulating and useful discissuon.Just a thought.

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