***** Better Than Putting the Moose on the Table                                              Review by Rox Burkey

Author Ray McKinley writes a practical approach to life, leading, and interaction with others that will turn your world upside down. Everyone makes mistakes. People blame themselves and others. Ray focuses on individuals reflecting upon their beliefs to identify the blame and then put it into the proper perspective. The Red and Blue sides of people outlined in Ride the Elephant opened new lines of thought for me.

Early in the Author’s Notes, Ray makes a statement that kept me reading this journey toward realization. It is a remarkable book. Let me know if this section captivates you.

Ask yourself, why does Ride the Elephant grab your attention? Think about this moment of your life and those around you.

• How are your relationships at work, home, and community?

• How are your parenting, coaching, and teaching skills?

• How are you coping, adjusting, or recalibrating to life changes?

• Has something been gnawing on you that you just can’t talk about, but it’s there lingering in your thoughts?

• Are you unaware that there may be an “elephant in the room?”

The concepts within Ride the Elephant will be the incentive for changing the conversation, and ultimately the relationship with those you love and care about.

Ray discusses the impact of the Red and Blue attributes across every profession along with critical characteristics. It is a stunning book on living life. He shares his childhood tragedy that impacted every member of his immediate family—14 in total that took 30 years to realize and understand.

Each of us has something that impacts how we view the world and allow others to view us. Not dealing with the outcome of such events can alter how we treat ourselves and others. Ray provides a way to ask the right questions, exercises to find out the elephant in your room, and help you live well with others.

I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to remove their regrets, guilt, inadequacy, or other labels of self-doubt. The questions, responses, and exercises can help you open the doors to your success. The content is well written, easily understood, and designed to help you evolve. It is not always easy to have an honest internal dialogue, but you can be a happier soul when you ride your elephant.

About the Author

I was raised in Fraser, Michigan by my father and mother along with eleven siblings. My childhood seemed normal at the time, however as I reflect back on it now, it was unique. It was a childhood filled with love and anger, fear and hate, pain and sorrow, suffering and loss. With times of great joy and times of great sadness. With feelings of unworthiness and perpetual fear. I was always trying to please, always trying to earn love, but never could make up for the mistakes I made.

I grew up on our family business, which happened to be a private airport, base for 140 private aircraft. My chores began when I was 8 years old, including cleaning the hangers, pumping gas, cutting grass, and tarring roofs. At 12 years old, I spent the summer and weekends on the family farm bailing hay, pruning Christmas Trees, planting corn, and tending to the livestock. At age 15, I was put on a bulldozer, dragline, and earthmover to construct, on the family farm, a 27-hole golf course.

I eventually went to college and graduated from the University of Detroit Dental School. I opened a dental practice in Macomb County, Michigan. I am married to my wife Lynn and the father of six children and 5 grandchildren.
 As a consummate learner I was hungry for answers to life’s questions.

I became very interested in education and life-long learning. I served locally on The Excellence in Education panel and was appointed as a delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business. I served as Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce and placed an emphasis on integrating character development and ethics in the schools.

As a dentist in Shelby Township, Michigan for 45 years, as well as a secondary school educator, I have taught professional groups, church leaders, and educators on numerous topics related to character and personal growth. They include:

  • “Leadership is an Inside Job”
  • “Great Leaders Create Great Cultures”
  • “Motivation vs. Inspiration”
  • “Achievement vs. Character: Our Prideful Nature”
  • “The Harmful Effects of Praise”
  • “Value-judging of the Self-Righteous”
  • “Agreement Base Relationships: Being Accountable”
  • “Content and Situational Ethics: Does the Ends Justify the Means?”
  • “Unforgiveness: What is it Costing You?”

I never aspired to be an author, though I did yield to the persistent requests of hundreds of my students, seminar attendees, coworkers, and family. All echoing comments similar to – “The world needs this information, please write a book, so many more can benefit from the process you have invited all of us to employ in our lives.” 

I invite you to browse the website, read Ride the Elephant – The Journey to True Success, and begin the conversation, and invite me to speak in your classroom, your business, or at your conference.   

My hope for you is that the book and resources on this website will identify the BIG questions in your life. Remembering that some of the BIG questions lie in this book, however the answers lie within you. May your journey be blessed and bright.


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