Nebraska author learns, teaches lessons through book
OMAHA -- With the loss of his father, Brett Atlas realized the importance of putting together his life experiences and lessons in a book for his children to read one day.
But what the 48-year-old Omaha businessman didn’t prepare for was the impact his book would have on the community.
“A lot of people liked it and I wanted to share it. I spent a lot of time gathering the materials, learning these lessons, reading and it's put all in one book,” Atlas said. “You don't have to spend 20 years reading a bunch of books. These are the important things that I've learned.”
Atlas published his first book “Three Things Matter Most: Linking Time, Relationships, and Money” in September of this year with the intention of leaving his children a personal guide to understanding life. He is the father three kids: 10, 15 and 17 years old.
Although he is originally from Chicago, Atlas said he came to truly understand the importance of the three main ideas of time, relationships and money living in Nebraska. Concepts that he now uses as steppingstones to guide his children through life.
“I want them to read it, but I also want them to read it again every few years, because I think there's some things in the book that will take on more importance as they get a little bit older,” he said.
Atlas created the book using wisdom from philosophers, world leaders, his own experiences, but most importantly, his father’s advice.
“My dad was a was a big influence in my life and he would dispense wisdom, anecdotes, things like that. He was my most trusted resource for much of my life. And when he passed away a few years ago, it was just gone in an instant,” Atlas said.
And now he is sharing his father’s generational wisdom through his book.
“A lot of the ideas from the chapter about relationships are from him. Relationships are what tie everything together,” Atlas said.
The book is separated into three main sections: time, relationships and money with time having the most importance and money having the least. Each section contains life lessons, personal stories and reflective questions at the end of each chapter.
An important feature most philosophy and self-help books don’t have.
“When you do read a lot of books, what I've learned is, you can go back and read the highlights, but a lot of that doesn't stick.”
“If you have these activities in there, it kind of reinforces the concepts and allows you to do something to internalize that. You can't just read it; you'll forget about it.”
Other than wanting to guide his children through life, the two-year process of writing this book has helped Atlas better understand his parents' divorce, their parenting style and now himself as a father.
“We didn't always have the best relationship, but you know, over time what I've come to learn is, you can have a different perspective on it,” Atlas said. “Being able to lay it out forces you to put it into a context and give it a name and describe it.”
He said he encourages Nebraskans to read his book and use it as a guide to discover what is important to them.
“I'm a Nebraska author. I live here in the community. I give back to the community. I love being a part of it,” Atlas said. “I want each Nebraskan to identify with what's most important to them in their lives and give them the motivation and the inspiration to make the most of it.”