Book Review: You’re Born an Original, Don’t Die a Copy

Cover page of the inspirational book You're Born an Original, Don't Die a Copy by John Mason. PHOTO/John Mason.

Author: John Mason

Publisher: Baker Publishing Group USA

Reviewer: Wangari Njoroge

Between the covers of the beautifully written You’re Born an Original, Don’t Die a Copy book are words of inspiration and motivation by John Mason, a motivational author and speaker.

The author insists that being different is one’s greatest asset and that nobody should be afraid of being their authentic selves.

“Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the things you did,” is just but one of the powerful motivational quotes written in the introduction of this masterpiece.

Divided into three parts, the book asserts the need to look inward, outward and upward.

In 52 nuggets of truth, the book contends that everyone can be successful in life without exceptions with lived strategies of how to climb up the ladder.

Style and themes

The masterpiece is a collection of different styles of writing. It uses narration to tell lived experiences of how being authentic helped different people overcome different difficulties in their lifetimes.

Further, the author is creative in explaining concepts, quoting other sources such as different authors, (pg. 74, Joel Weldon’s The Sower’s Seeds) and the Bible.

The language used in the book is instrumentally motivational and has a ripple effect on the readers as it characterizes their attitudes to gain fulfilment in their lives. The author uses ‘You’ to personalize the book while addressing the reader.

In the book, there are themes of dialogue (pg. 109), friendship, religion and love, a combination that makes the book less monotonous.

Looking inward

In part one of the book, Mason suggests that success comes from within. This means that one should not go out looking for miracles and great personalities in others but rather, just within themselves.

He states that the number of people who don’t take advantage of their talents is more than made up for by the number of who do.

Jason Mason, now 100 years old, is an international best selling author and speaker. PHOTO/John Mason.

In an inspiring line on page 18, Mason states, “A copy adapts to the world, but an original tries to make the world adapt.”

This inspiring line urges the reader not to copy the behaviors of the world but rather live uniquely and let people and the world suit you.

By looking inward, it is easy to recognize one’s abilities, talent, passion and originality.

Mason beautifully writes about enthusiasm and its importance in sparking passion and living fearlessly; fear, he says, is similar to faith, and one might get torn between the thin lines.

‘Why does fear like to take the place of faith? The two have a lot in common – they both believe what you cannot see will happen. Faith ends where worry begins and worry ends where faith begins.

In this part, the author continues to encourage readers on how they should be persistent in wanting to change themselves, to not judge or build cases against themselves (pg 59), be flexible to change, like children, and eventually focus as it helps to say no to distractions and points to the purpose and direction of a goal.

Looking outward

Literally, looking outward means being aware of what and who surrounds you.

Mason uses this chapter to show how human beings can cohabit or co-exist in harmony and teamwork to rise up the ladder of success.

His introductory statement is, “It is possible to give away and become richer. It is also possible to hold on too tightly and lose everything. Yes, the liberal man shall be rich!”

In the contemporary world, helping each other with advice, and sharing opportunities among other life challenges is a catalyst for successful relationships (one hand washes the other).

Nonetheless, the book discourages its readers not to having distracting and draining surroundings as they will impact on the choices one has to make, and that will, in turn, influence one’s level of success.

Using the Bible as a reference book, the author illustrates why human beings are created for connection, but we should be very cautious because the wrong friends and associations will make you more critical, less faithful, and lack a vision for the future.

He reiterates the importance of persistence and resilience when others throw bricks at you.

‘Whoever criticizes you will criticize about you. A person who belittles you is only trying to cut you down to their size. A critic is one who finds fault without a search warrant,’ he states, encouraging people to use the bricks thrown at them as stepping stones.

Looking upward

Looking upward hypothetically means being prayerful, spiritual and having faith in God.

Another masterpiece by John Mason; he has authored 15 motivational books. PHOTO/John Mason.

This book gives accounts of the different opportunities that God sends for us to invest in through the gifts and talents we were born with and the people and connections he has put across our paths.

He writes about the importance of adopting the pace of God who is a planner and strategist and has everything organized in a definite flow and pace.

While recapping the title of this motivational book, Mason states that just as how original God created all of us, he expects our ways of thinking, doing things, direction and timing to be uniquely different.

On page 142, he creatively answers the question that many ask when in despair, ‘Is God finished with me, yet?’

‘If you are still breathing, the answer is no,’ Mason simply puts it.

We are encouraged not to kill and bury ourselves while we are still breathing but just be patient and look upwards as God is still perfecting us because we concern him.

Tricks and tips for positivity

Everyone has different, unique and original ways to cope with life’s challenges and difficult times. While it would be difficult for all tips to work for everybody equally, Mason gives a few tips to stay positive:

  1. Believe in six impossible things before breakfast -stretch your being with all the good things life has in store for you. Think, plan, believe and pray for things that require God’s involvement.
  2. Go from thinking TGIF to TGIT. TGIF means Thank God it’s Friday while TGIT means Thank God It’s Today. According to Mason, the latter helps one live exhaustively for that day, avoid procrastination and give the best for each new day.
  3. Compliment three people. Looking outward and appreciating three people is important in bringing positivity in our associations. This way, you leave somebody better than you found them while still spreading positive energy.
  4. Be like a baby. “When you can’t adjust the direction of the wind, adjust the sails.” Mason says that we should all be like babies when it comes to change. Being flexible will make us strong and not break easily, it also enhances open-mindedness and understanding.

About the author

John Mason, 100, is a highly regarded international speaker and author of 15 motivational books, including Imitation is Limitation, An Enemy Called Average and Impossible Is Possible.

He is known for his quick wit, powerful thoughts and insightful ideas. His books are widely regarded as a source of wisdom and motivation.

Mason is the Founder and President of Insight International and Insight International Publishing Group, both dedicated to helping people achieve their dreams and fulfill their destinies.

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On the blurb of You’re Born an Original, Don’t Die a Copy, he wraps up by saying one of the riskiest things a person can do in life is to take too many precautions and never have any failures and mistakes…You don’t drown by falling in water, you drown by staying there.”

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Ms. Njoroge holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Journalism from Moi University. She is a Digital Human-Interest Writer, particularly in the realms of Gender, Book Reviews, Environment and Climate Change. Email:


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