Within each of us are stories that have the power to inspire, challenge, motivate and  guide generations of our families. Your story is your greatest legacy. In their novel, What Matters, Cam Thornton & Rod Zeeb take us on a journey through the life of Martin Forrestal. We meet Martin when he is near the end of his long life. From his hospital bed, he conceives a plan to share the stories from his life that will be his greatest legacy to his family. He wants them to know who he was, understand what he believed in, appreciate what he fought for, and see exactly how values shaped and guided his life.   During a long night of reflection, Martin identifies the values that matter most to him. His list begins with the value of Love.  By the time the sun is rising outside his hospital window, he has identified fourteen values, from Responsibility to Family Unity.


As family and friends come to say their good-byes, Martin records his stories. The action of the novel flows back and forth across more than a century, from an icy mountain cave where he was trapped by an avalanche with his Scout Troop, to a tiny coral island in the Pacific that saw some of WW II’s bloodiest combat. From a pioneer cabin in old Montana on Christmas morning, to the sweeping plains of the Argentine pampas,  Martin recounts  how each of the values on his list were forged into his character. He is not financially wealthy. But he knows that by sharing What Matters with generations of his family, he is passing a far more important and enduring legacy than material wealth.


What Matters brims with original stories, heartfelt emotions, and the eloquence of simple truths. Many of the chapters can be enjoyed as stand-alone stories.

We all have stories to tell.  Have you told yours?

Softcover  • 308 pages

“What Matters...weaves an inspiring tale of friendship and values and love and heroes and loss, and how the simplest of lives can be the most important.”

–Larry Elder, Author & Radio-Television Host

Imagine that a distant relative of yours discovered a weathered old trunk in her attic, and sent it to you. When you open the trunk, you find a number of possessions that belonged to your great-grandparents, including the handwritten personal journal that your great-grandmother kept for years. How important would that frayed old book be to you?


Now, imagine that you also discovered a similar kind of journal that had been kept by your grandfather, and another that your mother filled with her most heartfelt thoughts and experiences for many years. What would be the value to you of having those journals? Would you understand your family better, and would you gain a deeper sense of what it means to be a family tied together by common threads generation after generation?


And now for the big question: do you have those journals? Do you know your family story, going back generations? Not just the family tree– that is simply a chronology chart. Do you have the complete picture, the stories about how your parents and theirs became who they were, about how they faced life with all of its triumphs and tragedies. The legacy stories that define your absolutely unique family. The sad truth is that very few families have journals or any other kinds of collections of first-hand stories about their own families.


The purpose of this Reader’s Guide to What Matters is to provide you with the opportunity to tell your own story. And not just to share it in writing or audio recordings, but also to reflect upon the things that matter most in your own life and how you have shared (or not shared) those with your own family.


What Matters: The Guide for Readers

What Matters

Softcover  • 125 pages

The Guide contains exercises and information you can use to identify and articulate your story and what matters most to you as a way of preparing your children / grandchildren to receive the most important and meaningful legacy of all from you– your story. Plus, you will find out how and why you may want to share this information with your attorney, financial advisor, CPA, etc., or with professionals trained to help translate your ‘What Matters’ list into concrete tools to help your family today, and for generations to come.


As What Matters co-author Rod Zeeb puts it, “Financial and estate planning help you to pass what you own to future generations. What Matters planning helps you to pass who you are to future generations.”

Rod Zeeb & Cam Thornton

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