This combination memoir/motivational guide tells a story of Dr. Brian Lima’s extraordinary discipline and drive.
Born in New Jersey to Cuban immigrants who struggled to get by, Lima transformed himself from an average eighth-grade student into a high school valedictorian before setting off on an arduous track of medical/surgical training to become a cardiac surgeon specializing in heart transplant and mechanical heart devices. Repeatedly, he beat countless other students and medical residents to the best opportunities for advancement by his power of persuasion and self-taught research skills.
Lima has since earned a national reputation for his research and surgical success. With utter sincerity, he insists his life lessons are a blueprint “intended for all walks of life, to inject passion into the lives of those in desperate need of a driving force, to reinvigorate those who have lost it, or embolden those who’ve been hesitant to go ‘all in’.”
Early in the book, Lima encapsulates his “Heart Way” to success in a mnemonic (H for hard work; E for eager; A for aligned; R for resolute, and T for thoughtfulness). His concise explanations of each trait are much more effective than his additional advice woven throughout, which consists mostly of clichés: “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on”; or “Have faith, and remember that everything happens for a reason.”
His own life is the best illustration of qualities vital to success. At one point, he relates that “Years down the line, I overheard one of our notorious surgical attendings share this with another resident: ‘It’s no fun yelling at Lima. The more I scream, the calmer he gets!’” That’s an original, memorable way to say that it’s important to keep your cool. Any reader seeking success could draw valuable lessons from a straightforward autobiography; Lima’s motivational advice mostly proves a distraction.
Still, there is plenty of reward here. Lima’s life story, which he tells with humor and humility, is inspiration enough.