Book Reviews

Gut Check by Tarek Saab

Tarek SaabI walked out to the mailbox on a Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. and found my copy of Gut Check stuffed snugly between my mortgage payment and my car payment. It is now 7:27 p.m. as I write this and I have already finished reading this book. It is 191 pages of some of the most useful information I have ever read. Pretty high billing? Maybe, maybe not. I’m an avid reader but my tastes normally stay in the realm of fiction. I like Koontz, Patterson, Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, but it is rare that I pick up a “Motivational” or “Business Success” book and read it in one sitting.

While reading this book I did not stop to go to the bathroom, did not stop to eat, or check my BlackBerry for new emails – I could not put it down.

Tarek Saab immediately caught my attention by being very transparent about his years in college. He edits the language by say “S___” and “F—” so you get the full truth of the message without the crudeness. He speaks openly about the introduction of pornography into the college world in the 1990’s and the corruption that it has caused.

This book, unlike many books marketed to the masses, is simple black and white. You know where Tarek stands in his beliefs. He believes in God and makes it clear that happiness in the corporate life is not about making money and success, it is about doing what you do, whether you love it or not, to do it with love.

One of my favorite parts of the book is makes a brief outline of the man he wants to be:

The man I want to be is…

  • Prays, recognizing that his duty is to God first above all things.
  • Is articulate, communicating his thoughts and opinions intelligently and respectfully.
  • Respects women, directly, through honorable discourse and chaste living, and indirectly by his thoughts.
  • Defends the innocent, especially children and unborn life.
  • Is not addicted – whether to alcohol, pornography, or entertainment, and therefore truly free.
  • Is healthy, actively maintaining physical fitness and proper diet.
  • Holds convictions supported by reason and truth.
  • Is courageous, unafraid to defend truth in all circumstances.
  • Educates himself, not for the sake of accumulating factual knowledge, but for the advancement of wisdom.
  • Works hard, acknowledging that time is a gift to be used wisely.
  • Sacrifices his needs for the sake of others.
  • Is humble, possessing and honesty that doesn’t tolerate deception, and gratitude without envy.

No matter what your beliefs you can read through that list and see that it is an admirable, albeit somewhat controversial, set of goals.

Throughout the book there are numerous quotes from G.K. Chesterton, Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine and passages of scripture that are extremely poignant and while written years ago are still relative today.

I saw Tarek speak just shortly after his appearance on The Apprentice. I went to hear him speak with very low expectations because The Apprentice had made Tarek appear cocky and arrogant. What I found was just the opposite. Humble and forthright, I listened to a man who didn’t stand up in front of an audience and talk about himself and his accomplishments, but instead shared real life experiences that were humbling. When I left the auditorium I felt elated and motivated to go out and work hard and to do my best, not to make more money, but because it was the right thing to do.

I put this book on the Corporate Study Guide list of links (right sidebar) because those books are “must-read” books for being successful not just in the business world, but in this corporate world known as “Life”. You can purchase the book on or at

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