Sally Alspaugh, CAP®

Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy®

building family legacy

Book Review by Sally Alspaugh

book coverThe Ultimate Gift

Authored by: Jim Stovall and Dawn L. Billings

When billionaire Red Stevens died he left his estate to his heirs of course, but he left his legacy to his 24-year old nephew Jason. Left to Jason is a box of videotapes of Red himself to be viewed one at a time on the first day of the month for the next year. The tapes lead Jason to the most significant bequest of them all from Red’s estate.

In the beginning of the book, Jason appears to be the most disrespectful, ungrateful, spoiled, ‘would be rich kid’ ever. Disappointed that he didn’t receive tangible wealth, Jason reluctantly shows up for his first of the month viewing only to be given his great uncle’s gift of Work. After a month of post-hole digging, Jason learns the lesson Red wanted him to learn – that if he can do this kind of work with pride and quality, he can do anything.

The next month, his assignment is to learn the value of Money followed by the gift of Friends, Learning, Problems, Family etc. Each month there is an introductory video, a challenging task, and an important lesson to be learned. At the end of the yearlong odyssey of discovery, Jason is a changed man. As a result of successfully completing all of the month-long tasks, Jason receives The Ultimate Gift from his great uncle Red Stevens.

This tale was released in 2006 as a feature length motion picture starring James Garner and Brian Dennehy.

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