Book and Audio Book Review: Unmeasured Strength by Lauren Manning
It can happen. Miraculous resurrection can sometimes emerge from unspeakable tragedy. On Sept. 11, 2001 Lauren Manning, senior vice president and partner at Cantor Fitzgerald, an investment bank which had several floors of offices in the World Trade Center, was on her way to work and getting ready to enter the elevator at the North Tower when the 9/11 terrorist attack punched the building — and a giant, massive fireball originating on the 90th floor engulfed her in the lobby, burning her to the extent few think she’d live, sending her running out into the street where a bystander helped put out the flames that tried to consume her. But she was among the lucky: her company lost 658 employees.
“Unmeasured Strength” is a story about just that: about how like so many others on that day an innocent’s life was forever changed in a beyond-obscene instant. In that instant the question became whether Manning would have the fortitude to fight unspeakable pain, ignore the often defeatist vibes she got that with burns on 82.5 percent of her body she might never make it or could never hope to be close to what she was before. It’s the story about how in that horrible instant when so many of her dear friends and co-workers were incinerated and in a mega-instant she suffered indescribable pain due to scorched flesh all she could think about was her loving husband and her new baby boy — and how she could not leave them, how she’d battle to survive no matter what it took. All she could think about was holding her infant boy in her arms and holding her husband’s hand with whatever fingers she]d have left. If she picked up the vibes that she might not walk again, she worked hard till she most assuredly did.
Her book is how she struggled literally step by step in a recovery peppered with hopeful advances and devastating setbacks that took 10 years. She had to reach deep into her gut and draw out every single ounce of her faith, mine her determination, and keep herself going — fueled on by displays of love from her son and husband. She had to discover that faith in oneself can pull you through. And throughout the ordeal she had another thought: there was ABSOLUTELY NO WAY she was going to let the terrorists win and leave her dead or disabled for life.
No published reviews have done justice to Manning’s story. It’s a story not just of “unmeasured strength” but what have been divinely inspired courage, faith, and steely determination. I read the print book but in September, while traveling the East Coast, I listened to the audio book version. The audio book is truly special: she is not just reading the book but reliving it, and you can hear the love she feels whenever she talks about the family that inspired her to keep going and rhe determination to not let those bastard terrorists make her one more victory notch on their belts.
Unmeasured strength has been praised far and wide as a story of courage, the ultimate inspirational story. And it is. Buy it and read it, then gift it to a friend or relative. Or do as I did and get the audio book and listen to every minute of it as you drive — then gift it to a friend or relative. If you’re facing big or small adversities it’s required reading — not because it’ll put your problem in perspective but because it’ll inspire you to reach down into your own gut, set some goals other might suggest are unrealistic and then — literally — never say “die.”
The audio book: