Charlie Gilkey – “Start Finishing”

2019’s Start Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done from Charlie Gilkey is only his second book and first in seven years. It reads, however, like a book from a seasoned author who has marshaled a bevy of information and has something important to say. The Portland, Oregon based author served for a number of years as a Joint Force Military Logistics Coordinator and earned a PhD in Philosophy. He has since begun hosting the Productive Flourishing podcast and it has garnered a significant audience. These elements coalesce well into the book Start Finishing and the lessons Gilkey has acquired along the way magnify the text’s impact. I finished this book impressed with Gilkey’s uniform application of the book’s ideas to both the personal and professional arena.


A great deal of Charles Gilkey the man comes through in this book as well. Gilkey adopts an unassuming tone while providing a ton of information and it helps make the material easy to comprehend without ever dumbing things down for his readers. The text is a blend of subjects gathered in an assortment of headings, blocks of text outlining steps readers can take to realize Gilkey’s guidance and questions for readers to ask themselves, among other attributes. One of the chief attributes is the inclusion of reference material strengthening the overall presentation. Gilkey’s work gains much from his unabashed willingness to consult other writers and thinkers to help illustrate or reinforce his conclusions.

The structure of the book has the same sort of clarity as its prose. Gilkey advocates an approach that’s methodical, among other qualities, and lays it out in a methodical manner. There are no sideshows or bloat distracting the author or his readers from the subject at hand. He keeps his eyes on the proverbial ball from the outset and this focus dovetails well into the same focus he recommends for readers weighing whether they should take on Gilkey’s prescription for realizing their goals. His structuring talents extend past the conclusion of the book thanks to the inclusion of a “Further Reading” section and a thorough explication of Gilkey’s background that further illuminates the book’s contents.


His previously mentioned military service, philosophical studies, and successful podcasting career are further evidence that his approach can bear fruit. Start Finishing, however, reads like a brilliantly conceived extension of the qualities that brought him to the place in life he enjoys today and you get the feeling while reading that Gilkey has a genuine interest in assisting others realize their potential in the same way. The book has the right length, language, and tone to have that effect on any readers open to its ideas and those who are will likely find themselves consulting its pages again and again long after reading the book for a first time. This is, perhaps, the highest praise you can bestow on any work – Start Finishing has enduring value rather than fly by night virtue and, ultimately, is more interested in individuals from every walk of life than it is ideas.

Michael Rand

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