Superior Book Productions

December 5, 2008

A Simple Man’s Psychology: Your Stepping Stones to Leadership and Growth
Marvin Szukalowski
Aviva Publishing (2008)
ISBN: 9781890427689

Finally, an Author who Knows Jack

With “A Simple Man’s Psychology,” Marvin Szukalowski has written a self-help book that does not pretend to be anything more than his personal life stories and the lessons he has learned along the way. Completely unpretentious and with a welcome sense of humor, this book will entertain as well as teach the reader some simple rules and suggestions for living a full and happy life.

Marvin Szukalowski describes himself throughout the book as a simple man. He is blatantly honest about his faults and some negative experiences he has had. Others might try to cover up events like over-drinking in college, but Marvin wants to share with the reader the insights he has gained from his experiences. As his biography states at the end of the book, “he has been a lifelong student of the Effects of Life, and considers this book to be his thesis towards his Life Studies PhD in Human Inspiration from the University of Hard Knocks and Experience.” He has definitely earned this PhD and the university he attended was not an easy one, as most of us who have been there will testify. His rare and comical ability to “tell it like it is” in plain language makes his insights memorable.

“A Simple Man’s Psychology” is also full of playful language. Marvin knows people like Helen Back and Jack Sh-t—his acquaintance with this latter personage he considers quite an accomplishment since so many people “don’t know Jack.” Marvin became acquainted with Jack through his own experiences, making mistakes, and learning from them. He is upfront about admitting that he never finished college because he liked to party too much. He only stopped from going down the road into alcoholism because he saw how his own father’s drinking problem impacted his family. Marvin did not have an easy childhood, being part of a large and relatively poor family, with an emotionally absent father, but his book testifies that he still grew up to have a large heart.

One of the most effective sections of “A Simple Man’s Psychology” is Marvin’s description of his father’s battle with cancer, and how his relationship with his father changed  during this time. Despite his father’s usual dysfunctional behavior, Marvin was able to accept his father for who he was, and he watched how death changed his father in the end—a change he only wished could have happened sooner. Marvin proved himself a loyal son, being there for his mother and father during this long and difficult time in their family’s history. He has equally been there for his wife, stepson and stepdaughter, not afraid to poke a little fun at them, but also to express the wonder and love he feels for them. He has many stories of good and bad times he has gone through, and he treasures all of them for the learning experiences they have provided.

“A Simple Man’s Psychology” does not have the answer to every question—Marvin still hasn’t figured out why women choose to go braless, but he has figured out how to analyze dreams. Readers will see themselves in many of Marvin’s pages, from meaningful moments spent coaching children, to feeling appreciation for a good chiropractor and admiration for the courage of a child with diabetes. In the end, the answer he offers is basically to live, learn and enjoy life.

Marvin’s personality shines through on every page, making the reader feel he knows him personally, as if Marvin were the kid who grew up next door, the dad who coaches your son’s little league team, or the buddy you went fishing with last weekend. Reading his stories is like chatting with a good friend over a beer at camp. He continually reminds us to appreciate the little things in life—they are not that little—and to remember the joy we knew as children—“I don’t need expensive clothes of satin or silk, I just want to blow bubbles in my milk.” The leadership and growth of the book’s subtitle are not the kind of stepping stones that will help you climb the corporate ladder, but rather the kind that will teach you how to be a better parent, adult child, friend to others, and in the end, a friend to yourself by learning to appreciate what matters in life.

For more information about Marvin Szukalowski and “A Simple Man’s Psychology,” visit his website at

            — Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D., author of The Marquette Trilogy


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