Insurance Academy

Book Review: A Cuban Love Affair (it’s not what you’re thinking)

By Patrick Wraight | March 20, 2019

A good chunk of writing a blog is being willing to experiment and try new things. A few months ago, I tried something new in writing a book review on Bill Wilson’s When Words Collide. If you haven’t read that, it’s still online. Read it now.

Not long after that post was live, a “young” man reached out to me and offered to send me his new book. Let’s be honest. I like to read enough that if you offer to send me a book without offering to let me pay for it, I’m on board.

That’s how I ended up meeting Bill Kirksey, author of A Cuban Love Affair. Now you’re wondering what (if anything) this has to do with what I would normally write about. Give me a minute and I’ll get there. You just have to trust me.

You’re right, this book is only tangentially related to the insurance world. It’s really Bill’s way of telling his story from his point of view. It’s about him, his family, and their two great adventures; life and an escape from Cuba.

If you can imagine sitting down with Bill and letting him tell you some stories, A Cuban Love Affair reads kind of like that. He tells the story in a stream of consciousness kind of way. That means that you could get a little lost between the memories of the trip and the memories of life before the trip. The linear plot line of the story is how Bill and his wife Marta came to be involved in working to help her family to leave the small island nation of Cuba in 1980. In the telling of that story, he weaves his life story, and the lessons he learned from his time in the US Army and his many years in the insurance recruiting industry. He skips between the main story (how they got themselves into, and his wife’s family out of Cuba) and the trails that detail life before that trip to Cuba.

Insurance connection? Bill worked as a recruiter in the insurance industry. He tells about how he started out, working for someone else. His story weaves into the days when his company had offices in California and Chicago. It also dips into restructuring operations into a small office of just him and a couple of others. The point of that? You’ll learn how he weathered the storms of life as his business went through different cycles.

Why read it? A lot of strictly business books will put the cookies on the bottom shelf for you. They’ll tell you what you’re supposed to learn from them, give you the take-aways, and then summarize everything into a neat package. This doesn’t do that and that’ probably because it isn’t primarily a business book. It’s a story. The story of a man and how he felt uniquely gifted to live the life that was put before him. It’s part adventure, part memoir, part love story, and part instruction in life and business.

You should read it if you like a good old story. You’ll read about a man that appears almost larger than life. You’ll read about the courage it takes to do something that, quite honestly, most of us couldn’t imagine trying.

You should read it if you like to learn some lessons through someone else’s eyes. Bill does a great job dealing with the things that he learned along the way. You’ll discover how he dealt with many issues in his life and business and you’ll come away with some lessons for yourself.

Overall, I can’t tell if it’s for you or not. Only you can. What I can tell you is that it’s a good story, one worth telling. I enjoyed it.

About Patrick Wraight

Patrick Wraight, CIC, CRM, AU, is director of Insurance Journal's Academy of Insurance. He can be reached at pwraight@ijacademy.com.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.