Review and Competition: Make the Impossible Possible

by | 15 comments

“Make the Impossible Possible”. Ok, I admit that when I first saw this book’s title nothing about it made it stand out from the plethora of personal development books available in a typical bookshop. Make no mistake, though, this is a very special book about a man who has lived, and continues to live, an extraordinary life.

Over the past 30 years, Bill Strickland has helped change the lives of thousands of people through the creation of Manchester Bidwell, a jobs training centre and community arts program located in Pittsburgh. The centre works with corporations, community leaders, and schools to help give disadvantaged kids and adults the opportunities and tools they need to envision and build a better future:

“We greet them all with the same basic recipe for success: high standards, stiff challenges, a chance to develop unexplored talents, and a message that many of them haven’t heard before – that no matter how difficult the circumstances of their lives may be, no matter how many bad assumptions they’ve made about their chances in life, no matter how well they’ve been taught to rein in their dreams and narrow their aspirations, they have the right, and the potential, to expect to live rich and satisfying lives”

The centre has been remarkably successful, and its unique approach to tackling poverty has seen it draw support from figures as diverse as Hillary Clinton to prominent conservative Rick Santorum. Over time the centre has grown to include a diverse range of programs, including culinary arts, pharmacology, horticultural technology, ceramics, photography, and painting. The centre is based on Bill’s belief that the way to unlock an individual’s potential is to place them in a nurturing environment and expose them to the kind of stimulating and empowering creative experiences that feed the human spirit.

Making the Impossible Possible

One of the main reasons I love this book is that, like a good work of fiction, its story continues to unfold until the very last page. There is a point in the book, approximately two thirds of the way through, where Bill writes about his dream as a child of becoming an airline pilot. And guess what? Yes, while he was in the midst of building this amazing centre Bill trained to become a commercial airline pilot. How did a young black man, who lived in a rough neighbourhood of Pittsburgh and had very little money, manage to get the 200 hours flight experience needed to make his dream come true? Well, he purchased an airplane and then leased it back to a flying school of course! The flight school maintained the plane, and the money from the lease paid back his loan. As Bill says,

“Good sense would have told me that my dream was impossible, and when the mind accepts impossibility, the game is over. But that’s the power of genuine passion – it ignores the impossible and gives you the drive you need to do whatever you have to do to make a dream come true, no matter how extreme, or unlikely, or absurd those actions might seem.”

Bill truly is a man who, through what seems to be a bottomless reserve of commitment, perseverance, creativity, and hope, has proved that the impossible truly is possible.

Find Out More

If you would like to learn more about Bill Strickland, I encourage you to visit his site here. Also, the following is a short video that will give you a better understanding of the Manchester Bidwell:


I have 5 copies of Make the Impossible Possible to give away courtesy of the book’s publisher, Doubleday. If you would like to win a copy, leave a comment describing something which you once considered impossible that turned out to be possible. I will announce the winners this weekend. If you would like to purchase or learn more about the book, here is the Amazon page.