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Book Review: "No Opportunity Wasted" by Phil Keoghan

by Ruby Bayan - 12/30/04

If someone came up to you and asked what your dream in life is, would you have an answer? If you do, and you were asked if you were ready to make the dream come true that very moment, would you say yes? Phil Keoghan -- host of the award-winning television series, "The Amazing Race" -- wrote his book to make sure you have an answer to the first question, and a resounding "YES!" to the second.

"No Opportunity Wasted (NOW): 8 Ways To Create A List For The Life You Want" starts with Phil’s personal experiences –- how he almost lost his life in a diving assignment, and how after he miraculously survived, he resolved to do the things he must do before he died. He shared his "List for Life" and the obvious reasons why everyone should consciously find ways to experience a "no opportunity wasted" life.

Phil encourages his readers to write down their lists for life, but he says it’s not just a matter of lining up a hundred or so activities in a to-do list; it needs to be an organized list of definitive things that work together to make your dream life come true. So, he offers eight featured themes as a guide: face your fear, get lost, test your limits, take a leap of faith, rediscover your childhood, shed your inhibitions/express yourself, break new ground, and aim for the heart.

Each theme forms a chapter where Phil shares stories of "NOW dreamers" that he met in his real-life role as star and co-producer of the "No Opportunity Wasted" reality television series on the Discovery Channel. Each chapter ends with an exercise, a motivator, or a prompt to write down an experience you’d love to be in before your lifetime expires. At the end of the book is your personal "worklist," in the form of a contract, of the eight activities you will act on immediately.

What I love most about the book is its down-to-earth practicality. Okay, it mentions Phil’s dream of having a barbecue at the South Pole, or his already-done-that task of changing a light bulb on top of New York’s 700-foot Verrazanno Bridge, but it also includes gems of advice like how not-fluffy it is to sky jump through a cloud, Banana George’s Tips for Staying Young (he water-skis at age 89), how to enjoy being lost, and "in case you have to eat a bug..."

The book is packed with inspiration, advice, and life’s lessons, not to mention quick tips on how to become a cowboy, racecar driver, astronaut, firefighter, or ballerina (what you want to be when you grow up).

Have a dream and make it come true. What else should we be waiting for? Phil tells us in the opening chapters that the first step is to get rid of excuses. So, forget whatever excuse you have for not getting a copy of this book—life is short. The opportunity is here, now.

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