Review of Climbing Mountains by Osman Gulum


Climbing Mountains by Osman Gulum
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Climbing Mountains is a story about the real life experiences of Osman Gulum, a successful entrepreneur, inventor and loving father. From the days as a child, growing up in a very small Turkish village, Osman had an inherent determination to not only survive his impoverished existence, but to surpass the challenges that confronted him from every turn. His ultimate goal to run his own business and achieve financial stability without having to rely on anyone else is a theme weaved throughout the book. Osman’s writing is entertaining and descriptive, written in a narrative fashion making it a very easy read. I particularly enjoyed how Osman describes people and places he encounters while growing up in Turkey as I have an interest in stories that explore cultural heritage and languages. His interesting way with words is refreshing—I could picture, quite vividly, scenes such as his father exploding with anger at the bursar of the private school Osman had enrolled himself to without his father’s permission.

Osman takes the time to let the reader understand the circumstances he encounters and overcomes, from his time in the military; living and working in Istanbul with his brother; working in the hotel industry in Kusadasi (a Turkish seaside tourist town); owning his first bar; immigrating to the UK; starting his successful restaurant businesses and becoming a father. Although the story focuses on Osman’s business adventures, it is also filled with other events such as dramatic encounters with mafia and other sordid people. Readers will definitely learn to appreciate, from Osman’s experience, that people from impoverished countries have much less than what we in the West take for granted (such as food, shelter, education, opportunities, etc.) His climb up the mountain of his life is fraught with successes and disappointments but his genuine belief in himself and faith in God, shows us that we can all achieve our goals if we put our mind and heart into it.

Climbing Mountains is an inspirational story but I enjoyed it more so because the writing was entertaining, almost like reading a good fictional novel. My only other comment is that I wished he would have detailed a bit more about his personal life, such as what things caused Marie and him to drift apart, how did he balance his life with fatherhood, how does he share his lessons learned with his own son, etc. I felt these points were only mentioned in passing towards the end of the story without the elaboration I was hoping for. These points, although personal and possibly painful, are just as valuable for readers to fully understand that success is not only measured by one’s financial stability but also by the happiness of ones’ family life. Often we see people who focus too much on their career, lose sight of their family and alienate those who love and support them. It would have been interesting to see that aspect of his story fleshed out a bit more. Perhaps we shall see more of Osman’s perspective about the personal relationships in his life in Part 2 of his memoirs?

I look forward to reading more work from this author and anticipate a fictional novel by Osman Gulum in the future.

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