G401 What Counts Most Is How You Finish: Thoughts on Living Life to the Fullest

Title of the book:  What Counts Most is How You Finish: Thoughts on Living Life to the Fullest

Author:  Shelia Payton

Publisher: Xlibris

Publishing Date: 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4653-6498-2


What Counts Most is How You Finish is a book of short essays that shares ideas for addressing life's challenges. The book (which uses experiences from the author's life and the lives of others) is written with two ideas in mind:
• Each person has to find his or her own way in life
• We can learn worthwhile things from each other

To make it easier to find an essay that can help the reader address life situations in real time, What Counts Most is How You Finish is divided into seven topic areas: Being You, Taking Care of You, Dealing with People, Overcoming Challenges, Staying Focused, Achieving Success and Making a Difference.

While the primary audience for What Counts Most is How You Finish is people between the ages of 16-25, the book has received positive feedback from many older than that who say it’s a good reminder for them.

Other Works:

I don't think the author has written any other books, thus this is her first book.

(From iRead Book Tours)

Meet the author:

Shelia Payton is an entrepreneur, former newspaper reporter, corporate manager and educator who spent all of her early life and much of her career in a time when people of color and women in this country were pushing for greater inclusion at all levels of society, and seeking greater opportunities to live life to the fullest. Like others in her generation, Shelia had to face and overcome barriers to entering and succeeding in non-traditional jobs, and create a place in civic and leadership settings. Also like others in her generation, Shelia’s motivation has not just been about what she can accomplish for herself, but also how she can open up opportunities for future generations. Shelia’s current focus is on creating books, plays and music that build human connections by breaking down barriers and stereotypes.

Shelia's website


"We may not all end up in history books and become household names. But each of us, in our own way, is making history on a daily basis. Whether that history will be something to celebrate or something to forget depends on how we live. Live to leave a legacy that others will celebrate." (273)

Problems addressed:

It seems that a lot of books address romance issues or else self-esteem issues, but I don't know of many that address real life issues about finances, career, family and friendships, as well as encourage people to be the best they can be.

Summary of Content:

I would guess that the summary would be is to be true to your needs and desires, find good and positive role models to emulate, keep your head up and always be optimistic.


"While each person has to find his or her own way in life, we can all learn worthwhile things from each other." (From the back of the book)

Main Points:

The book is divided into seven sections, and it reads both as young adult yet something adults will also enjoy. The points are also very short for those that are strapped for time. I will give two essays per section

I. Being You
*God Don't Make No Junk
*Just Be Yourself
II. Taking Care of You
*"No" is Not a Bad Word
III. Dealing with People
*Kindness is Not a Weakness
*Please and Thank You
IV. Overcoming Challenges
*Each New Day is Filled with Opportunities
*What Counts Most is How You Finish
V. Staying Focused
*All That, and a Bag of Chips
*The Most Important Thing You Have is Your Good Name
VI. Achieving Success
*Hope for the Best and Prepare for the Worst
*How Badly Do You Want it?
VII. Making a Difference
*Let Your Light Shine
*Money is a Tool, Not an End in Itself

Why Its interesting and informative:

For one is that she never dwells on how things didn't work out for her, or what things never worked out, which I liked, I have to admit. Instead she highlighted her successes as well as determination in not giving up, and I also liked that there is focus on real life instead of romance. I can imagine that the book is something both men and women will want to give to their children upon them entering their teen years.

Supports Thesis:

I do feel that it supports thesis because I did learn a lot of things from reading her book and if I should have children, this will be something I will pass on to them.

Issues raised:

I often think that there aren't many self help type books written and designed for teens. In fact, I don't really recall any at my age. Yes, there are plenty for adults, especially on how to deal with teens, and very often young adult and teenage life were brushed aside. This book, however, combines short chapters for time strapped people as well as encouraging words of wisdom for those who don't really hear them as often as they like.

Ideas in book vs larger ideas:

I don't think many people are prepared for real life, and it often seems that lessons that should be treasured and learned often end up decaying. (By a weird coincidence, earlier this year I read a how-to book about cleaning up messes.) The author also presents very broad outline and doesn't go into specific details about what one can trust versus distrust, or perhaps what book to start with first if we're interested in learning about finances?


While I agree with a lot that she has talked about, and I do appreciate the fact she doesn't use the name jesus in the book for someone who isn't born into christian faith, I do think that some of it did sound a little too naive in my opinion, or a little too optimistic, but its just me, and some of the things she talked about are repeats from her previous lessons.


Besides her life, I doubt she used any sources.


In some parts I did feel that the book dragged a little too long, and I agreed a lot with what was written in there. I do feel that in some cases she doesn't really address the complexity of saying no to drugs for example. I don't approve of teens doing narcotics or drinking or smoking, but I grew up as a loner, and I can say that socializing and feeling belonged somewhere is very important to teens. I also think that the book addresses what I would call "normal teens", and not those who have special needs. I'm not putting it down or anything, but its simply my observations.

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4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)


  1. Svetlana, Thank you for taking the time to read and review my book. I appreciate your thoughtful approach to giving your readers a sense of the book, and your insights. Needless to say I was happy to see you rated What Counts Most is How Your Finish as both a good read and enjoyable; and to know that you would share the book with your children, should you have any. I wish you continued success with your blog and other projects you’re passionate about. Thank you, again.--Shelia Payton


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