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The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me
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The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,470 ratings  ·  277 reviews
Bestselling author Bruce Feiler was a young father when he was diagnosed with cancer. He instantly worried what his daughters' lives would be like without him. "Would they wonder who I was? Would they wonder what I thought? Would they yearn for my approval, my love, my voice?" Three days later he came up with a stirring idea of how he might give them that voice. He would ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by William Morrow (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  1,470 ratings  ·  277 reviews

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Apr 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Won this as a First Reads giveaway. I really liked the idea of it: man gets cancer in his femur and realizes he may not be there for his 3-year-old twins in the future, so he calls upon six friends to create a Council of Dads. These friends represent the different parts of his self, so that they can be his voice should it be needed. The book started off really well--giving background story about a leg injury when he was 5 years old, how he and his wife met, the twins' birth, his diagnosis. ...more
Apr 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
"Take a walk for me."

I cried at page 32. But the good kind of tears, where you remember the awe-inspiring moments of delivering your child and knowing you have a loving partner who has your back, for life. Though Ive never met Bruce Feiler and his wife Linda, I wish that I could be a part of their lives.

Bruce Feiler, the man who wrote Walking the Bible, is suddenly told he has a seven-inch tumor in his left femur.

He will die.

He panics about leaving his twin girls fatherless and so, with his
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and emotional read. I highly recommend it especially if you are a parent, expecting parent, or thinking about it.
Apr 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I won this on GR'S give-a-ways, and I can honestly say, I would have read this..regardless if I won or purchased it. I must start with saying Bruce Feiler is a brave and courageous man. To endure what he went through, while raising a family, to me is noble in itself.

Bruce, gives detail of his experience with caner, he treatments, doctors and procedures. He also describes how he felt, what he suffered during and after chemo, and how it affected his friends and family. It also shows how friends
Beth Warren
May 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I was so grateful to win a copy of this book thru Good Reads First Look. I liked it a lot and it reminded me of combining Randy Pausch and Mitch Albom style of writing with humor, great lines, awesome quotes, and deeply spiritual and moving. The author, Bruce Feiler talks about his childhood and an unfortunate accident that happened when he was a kid. Fast forward years later and he learns that he has cancer. As he worries about his twin girls he and his wife decide on the council of Dads, 6 men ...more
Apr 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Bruce Feiler learns he has cancer and he and his publisher come up with an idea for a book. He is worried about the lack of a father figure in his daughter's lives, if he dies. He reaches out to six men who know him best to ask them to step in for him in some way. He goes back and forth between describing his friendship with these men and relating the events of the ensuing year, his struggle with the disease and the effects on his family.

This book is stirring heart-warming, inspiring, moving,
Apr 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A 5-star book and story about a father with a potentially life-threatening illness who loves his twin daughters so much he invites six men who influenced his life for the better to help influence his daughters' lives should he not survive long enough to raise them. It's so emotionally raw at times you can't help but cry. Bruce's wonderful sense of humor also provides some laugh-out-loud moments. Learning about the family histories of Bruce and his wife was fascinating. In the end I found myself ...more
Mar 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
I love it when really difficult emotions are put so beautifully to words. This book has such a courageous and smart premise. There were lots of quotes I would love to underline and remember (alas, a library book has it's limitations.) One of my favorites, about the power of words, goes like this: "...I was reminded of one of my favorite messages from the Bible, from the opening of Genesis. Before there is order, there is chaos. Before there is light, there is darkness. And what is the only force ...more
Jun 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
I got stuck mid-way through this. I thought it was kind of dull and wasn't what I was really expecting. I'm sure I'll pick it back up at some point, but for now, its going into the book closet.
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: medicine, biography, 2016
This is a remarkable account of how a man transforms his cancer diagnosis into a lesson in how to live each moment and how to keep his voice alive for his daughters.
Bruce Fieggen
Sep 13, 2010 rated it did not like it
Save me from another whiny, angst-ridden New Yorker.
Richard Koerner
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Having seen Bruce Feiler recently speak in Northbrook, Illinois, I feel as if this book is an old friend. I knew much of the story, already. This elaborated on what I already knew. It is the story of a talented, courageous man who is forced to face his monsters as cancer attacks. Having two, three year old daughters adds to this as he realized that he might not be there for them. He finds men in his life to take part on a Council of Dads and be there for them in case he doesnt win his fight. He ...more
Apr 26, 2019 rated it liked it
It's hard to judge a book like this so harshly. Oh, you had bone cancer and have to leave your twin daughters at 3 years old? Meh. It's not the story that didn't work. I just didn't connect with the messages of the book. It's great stories and uplifting life lessons, like really. But it's largely a story of death without hope in any future. Almost a desperation for a future with his daughters. Again, it's hard to be critical, the whole book is focused on the life you choose to live and enjoying ...more
Tami Brown
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In all honesty I read this book on a whim not even knowing what it was about .I did not even read the synopsis. So basically it was a blind date with a book. Let me tell you this was overall one of the best books that Ive read in a long time. It made me cry, it made me laugh and it most importantly made me feel like I knew these people on a deep and personal level one that I was ever so grateful for. This book is one that I will recommend to all I know in hopes that they will enjoy and pass ...more
William Rood
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Being a father of three girls and reading this on New Years day probably skewed my rating, but I was thrilled with this book. The idea was inspiring - namely to form a group of past friends that could speak to some element of the authors life, and help guide, shape, and direct the authors daughters lives in the advent of the authors not beating his newly diagnosed cancer.

While it was the briefest of glimpses into each of the "dads" lives and interactions with the author, it was enough to paint
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous listen--made me cry many times--but also poetic and thoughtful. Enjoyed his perception of his twin girls and what he wanted for them as their father and for his voice to continue to be present, even if he was not. Facsinating that he did research and read the journals/listened to the tapes of his grandfather and wove it all into a story, men's stories of their lives...will definately pick up his earlier books and google him to find out what he looks like as well as what has happened ...more
Aug 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I really liked the premise of this book - creating a group of dads to help raise Feiler's daughters should his cancer become incurable. It caused me to reflect whom I would choose if facing such a terrifying, uncertain dilemma. I appreciated how Feiler steered away from family when making his decisions, and instead, focused on men from differing phases of his life that combined, would be able to describe all aspects of Feiler's personality. Feiler's worry, concern, pain and self-pity are felt ...more
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was inspired by the authors effort he put into thinking about the legacy he was leaving behind for his daughters. There were lots of hard moments that were accompanied by power thoughts and realizations but also just the day to day toughness of fighting cancer and how it affected his family. I enjoyed the humour and stories from his life and especially enjoyed the council of dads chapters where he visits people that have inspired him throughout his life. I could def read this book again. I ...more
May 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Parents, children, anyone!
The Council of Dads recounts the thoughts and feelings and (to a lesser extent) experiences of Bruce Feiler as he goes through treatment for a particular virulent form of cancer. But the unique and enticing aspect of this memoir is his notion of the council of dads. Knowing that he might not be around to see his twin daughters, Eden and Tybee, grow up, he conceived of the idea of creating a council of the men who were uniquely qualified to teach his daughter the most important parts of himself ...more
Aaron Englebright
Jan 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Love this idea. The thought as a dad if I died, having a council of men to be there for my boys. To step in at times with their special gifts, and be and do what I wouldnt be able to.

While I think there are times in life that make us all sit back and ponder how quickly things can change in life or how quickly life can taken, the authors diagnosis was never terminal. I felt like he wrote as if his diagnosis was. It made it feel a little overly dramatic, and even self aggrandizing. The tone of the
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fast and charming book. It wasn't nearly as good as "when breath becomes air", but I admired the author and it was a nice exploration of the people that influence us. I put it down feeling motivated to improve my own relationships and live more intentionally.
Michael Boeke
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A touching account of one man facing his own mortality and attempting to find a way to still be a good father even after death. It has the expected tear jerking moments, but also some surprising insights into mens relationships. A worthwhile read for middle aged dads (and perhaps others, too). ...more
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have enjoyed one of Feiler's other books, and this one caught my eye. While a wrenching account of his battle with cancer, it is a poignant look at male friendships and the role of a dad. I found it very compelling.
Mandi Grasmeyer
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
This gets a 5 because of the phase of life I'm in. I don't usually love male memoirs, but this one hit close to home right now. Excellent book for anyone who's ever experienced any sort of scary health situation.
Kind of sad.
Joe Matson
Jan 02, 2018 rated it liked it
It's more memoir than advice guide but moving.
Alina Ramona
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
in order to have the best life and learn more, let's make a group of dads to replace the natural one
Amanda Miles
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short, good
Sonja Faust
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
It was ok. A struggle. Premise sounded promising but didn't deliver
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BRUCE FEILER is one of Americas most popular voices on family, faith, and survival. He writes the This Life column about contemporary families for the Sunday New York Times and is the author of six consecutive New York Times bestsellers, including WALKING THE BIBLE and THE COUNCIL OF DADS. He is the writer/presenter of the PBS series Walking the Bible and the forthcoming Sacred Journeys with Bruce ...more

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