Book Review: The Courage Companion

Authors: Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammons
Publisher: Viva Editions
Book Publication: 2010

Most people don’t believe they are, or have the potential to be, courageous. However, according to authors Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammons, each and every one of us has the ability to tap into our own personal reservoir of courage, fortitude, and strength. As they explain in their truly inspiring work, The Courage Companion, “Living bravely today is all about reaching deep within for a quiet power that guides us through our inner fears and anxieties, and steadies and supports us against outside forces.” For them, courage doesn’t mean not being afraid, but rather not letting your fear defeat you.

The Courage Companion describes what courage is, gives tips on how to find it, and provides inspiring stories from those who have it. By sharing stories of extraordinary people who felt fear, but took action anyway, Lesowitz and Sammons have provided a guide for all of us to navigate our own path to living courageously – to face and transform our fears so that we can relax and reach deep within to find hope and opportunity in life’s challenges.

Each chapter has an individual theme – ‘Courage to Fight,’ ‘Courage to Begin Again,’ ‘Courage to Face Adversity,’ and so on. Within a ‘how-to’ framework, the authors introduce each chapter by offering their own views and experiences on facing certain fears and challenges, then follow this with individual accounts of courage – each presenting a unique perspective on what it takes to be brave.

In their own words, we discover how: Alexis Moore spent six years on a “relentless roller coaster of physical and mental abuse”; Katey Merril Foote and her daughter Lacey faced the devastating news that Lacey’s daughter was born without eyes and an under-developed brain; and Ann Mehl tries to cope with a toxic and stressful situation at work. We learn what action these “courage warriors” took, and how and where they got the strength to “deal” and do what had to be done.

What is particularly satisfying about The Courage Companion is that it relates to, and is about, the ‘every’ man or woman. Most of us are familiar with the amazing courage of the likes of Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandala, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King, but the tales shared in this book are about regular people. And we see these regular folks face both devastating, as well as more mundane situations requiring them to dig deep to find the strength and courage to face their dilemma head-on, to fight back, and to not give up.

Without exception, every personal experience, motivational quote, and expert piece of advice in this book provides the reader with practical and inspirational tools to find and enhance courage in themselves. If you are facing a tough situation where courage is required, or you just need a spiritual boost, this book is one you will want to read.


Susannah Kent is a Toronto area Fitness and Healthy Lifestyle Instructor.

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