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The Cliff Walk: A Memoir of a Job Lost and a Life Found
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The Cliff Walk: A Memoir of a Job Lost and a Life Found

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  283 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Snyder's account of temporarily losing his way in life presents a heartrending and inspiring memoir that "confronts the not-so-secret fear that haunts every American who works for a living" ("Atlanta Journal-Constitution"). Author pubilcity. .
Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 20th 1998 by Back Bay Books
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(showing 1-30 of 422)
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Will Byrnes
A boomer falls from grace and finds peace and happiness in an unexpected place. Don Snyder was a much-loved professor of English at Colgate University. He had a happy home life, with a loving, supportive wife and several young children. His students admired and appreciated him. He was very good at what he did and had every reason to expect that this charmed life would go on forever. Then he got fired. And finding a way back to that idyllic existence proved impossible. This is the story of his fa ...more
Sep 05, 2008 Robert rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anxious breadwinners
One of my biggest failures as a reader is that I generally forget a book, even one I liked, within weeks after reading it. I forget the plot, the characters, even the general feel. This book is different. I read it about eight years ago, and various scenes have stayed vivid in my mind. I hate to say it, but unless you are a breadwinner for a family, it will probably be hard to relate to this guy's story. You can call him a privledged whiner, but unless you have performed the balancing act of wor ...more
Jul 06, 2014 Laurie rated it it was amazing
I recommend this book to anyone who thinks that going through the proper channels will get you where you want to go. This book sends home the message that life is uncertain. I recommend this book to anyone who looks down on any profession and who has the tendency to elevate himself/herself in any way. Don Snyder learned the hard way that the people he least longed to emulate were highly skilled in ways he could barely comprehend. He learned the sad truth that while he looked down on others, ther ...more
Nov 29, 2009 Mekita rated it did not like it
I've long admired people who can work with their hands, particularly in trades such as carpentry that require not only visual-spatial intelligence but also creativity, fine craftmanship skills and the ability to improvise and improve upon. I had also read a similarly-themed book last year called 'Fat, Forty & Fired' by Nigel Marsh about his experience of being fired. It was so well written, laugh-out-loud funny and a genuinely great story that I passed it around at work begging the other boo ...more
Sandie Buto
Jun 13, 2016 Sandie Buto rated it really liked it
Bizarrely intriguing. Drives home the point that you can get so caught up in defining yourself by your job that when you lose that job/career, you can lose yourself. Certainly an exposure of the soul that I would never be brave enough to do. During this train wreck of job loss where each decision he makes seems to be bringing him to a horrible end, you are sure he will never "get it" but miraculously he does. The VIP in this story is his wife.

Ivor Armistead
Dec 10, 2015 Ivor Armistead rated it it was ok
Were it fiction, this book would have more redeeming features, but as a memoir, it is a self description of arrogance, unearned self importance and distain that most authors would be embarrassed to publish.
Feb 29, 2008 angrykitty rated it really liked it
Shelves: bio-autobio
i really liked this book. it's about a teacher that always thought a little too much of himself, and then finds himself not a teacher anymore....not only is he not a teacher, but instead, he has to resort to taking a manual labor job. i think i related to this book even more, since i worked construction while i was going to school to become a teacher. while i was just so happened that i worked in schools almost exclusively......the company installed fire protection (sprinkler) syst ...more
Rindy Beridon
May 11, 2010 Rindy Beridon rated it liked it
Recommended to Rindy by: BookMooch member
This man writes about his anger and sense of importance like it's the only thing in the world that matters. For him, for so long, it is. It's a confusing, puzzling read, but he stays true to the book he started to write and the finish is worth getting to, but like me, you may not rejoice. I want to see where he's gone since this book and how his wife and children are doing, as they bore the brunt of his behavior.

Having been through job loss myself and with my husband, I am so glad neither of us
Good crap, this took me forever to read, but only because I've been so busy with life I haven't had time to read. All-in-all, this was a pretty good memoir. He lost me a little in the middle. Also, his wife is a SAINT to put up with all the crap he put her through. I'm not sure I would have had the patience for that. But I was glad to see at the end he found something that made him happy.
Jun 19, 2009 Florence rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this memoir because the author conveyed a sense of his desperation as things got worse and worse for his family. I still have lots of questions. What was the exact reason given for his firing? Why didn't he try to get a job in a related field like college administrator or editor or any white collar job that it seems he would qualify for?
Jun 17, 2009 Juli rated it liked it
liked this book so much better when I read it 10 years ago- now he just irritated me with all his whining. still written well and gives you an insight (sort of) into how men think so much differently and react differently to life's situations. Liked that he finally got that who you are is not what you do-
Jul 09, 2012 Mark rated it liked it
Excellent writing...very detailed account of thoughts and feelings the author experience in the course of losing everything he had struggled to attain and then starting over. He does a great job of documenting the changes in perspective and paradigms and how that involved his wife and children and friends.
Wesley Blixt
Sep 28, 2009 Wesley Blixt rated it really liked it
I know this spit of land. I know this cliff and this walk. I even know the academic employment precipice, and it terrifies me as I face it unexpectedly all over again. Very, very, very well done, this book. Redemptive without And, honestly, coastal Maine is not a bad place to go to brood. I'm about to.
Mar 23, 2008 Melanie rated it it was amazing
This book made me fall in love with memoirs. A little rough at places, but an honest picture of a man struggling to find his identity when his successful career as a college English professor falls apart. It reminds me that everyone has dignity, and that our lives can be recreated at any moment.
Sep 20, 2007 Sally rated it really liked it
This man takes for granted his job as a professor and his easy life. Then he gets fired.He has a young wife with three children, and one on the way. He becomes a house painter to survive and discovers a life worthy to live.
May 30, 2009 Jill rated it liked it
Worth reading, but the main character wasn't a guy I really wanted to root for. He wallows in self-pity way too long and becomes a pretty crappy person for awhile. Still, I didn't regret the time I spent with it...
Nov 05, 2007 Helen rated it did not like it
This book is horrible. It is everything I detest about successful, privilaged, white men not being able to muster their own resources because they have never before experienced hardship. sigh
Sep 10, 2011 Brian rated it it was ok
The Author was a little bit self involved and annoyed me, when I should have felt sorry for him. He did provide a little bit of humor in his self loathing.
Steve Gardner
Jul 25, 2012 Steve Gardner rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended to me when I was unemployed. It's pretty inspirational, especially for people trying find out what their next career will be.
Feb 18, 2009 Noelle rated it really liked it
Loved this book. Central theme was about job loss and finding something you LOVE to do, regardless of salary or status. Good lessons in this read....
Samuel Parish
Jul 09, 2013 Samuel Parish rated it it was amazing
I first read this more than 10 years ago and still recommend it to others who have lost their jobs and have to refocus and reinvent themselves.
Dec 30, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading the perspective of a man who has lost his job and needs to find his way to support his family. Very interesting.
Dec 24, 2010 Erin rated it liked it
decent story, very boring the way it was written. In the end, the guy is humbled, so that makes it slightly better.
Oct 03, 2012 Sandy marked it as to-read
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Did not finish this one - it was due at the lib and I don't think I'll check it out again.
Just not my kind of book.
Sep 25, 2009 Karla rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1999
A professor loses his job, can't find another one - ends up working 'a real job' building homes.
Pawan Kumar
May 01, 2011 Pawan Kumar rated it really liked it
I like the way it is written. Simple story made interesting in its own way.
Oct 05, 2008 Auntie rated it really liked it
Another in a series of NE books well worth reading, good take on the male ego
Dec 16, 2008 Alan rated it really liked it
For the unemployed. Or those who have been, or think about it ...
Jan 28, 2009 Clwaddoups rated it it was ok
Indulgent - I couldn't relate to the central character.
Sep 15, 2016 Marie rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, memoir, nonfiction
Great for those who are disenchanted with academia
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“That had been the end of Communism. I had a feeling watching the tape that America would be next, but for once I kept my mouth shut. In my silence I felt our common ground: here we were, two men, neither young, neither with money, neither earning a penny or holding down a job or owning a house, both thoroughly confused by the way the world was turning.” 1 likes
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