“One man’s journey to bring nuclear power to the world.”
I found this book a challenging read in parts, but overall, it was a clever and entertaining novel. It’s clear the author is passionate about a range of topics, and this really shines through in each chapter. If you’ve been searching for an unusual read that is really well written and planned out, this book should definitely be added to your list!
Grand Portage by Scott Seeger follows the story of Tyler, an extremely wealthy entrepreneur who invents the pool noodle. Being a billionaire isn’t enough, and the idea of meeting other billionaires sparks his imagination. He needs a new adventure. Will his publicity stunt be enough, or will the government shut him and his idea down for good?
I instantly liked how easy this book was to read and the humour that was sprinkled in from the very beginning. The story line is unusual, and something that I didn’t initially expect, but it turned out to be a much more pleasant experience to what I first thought! Tyler owns a company, and invented the pool noodle, (love it already) and alongside becoming the “world’s poorest billionaire”, welcoming new colleagues and patching things up with his wife, Tyler reminisces about his college days and gets an entirely new idea. Well, if he can’t buy a fancy yacht, this is the next best thing…
We’re introduced to many characters early on, and I loved how relatable they all were. Some of the sentences made me laugh, as they reminded me of myself a little:
“He shook hands with the other two men and immediately forgot their names.”
Yep, definitely something I’d do! Because of features like this, I could relate to the characters more than I usually can in a book. It made things much more enjoyable and I was more invested into Tyler’s story as a result.
The book mentions a lot of real life famous people from quite early on, and usually, I really dislike it when authors try to put real life people in their novels. I find it almost cringe worthy, and I’ve no idea why! However, with Seeger’s writing style and his perfect humour, it actually makes this more bearable and quite fun to read. It’s quite entertaining to hear about the fictional lives of Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Nathan Blecharczyk!
There’s a rather long chapter where Tyler and the celebs chat at length about business, new ideas, and what makes a successful business venture. It’s clear that spending time with successful people helps Tyler come up with a unique plan, something that will turn heads and grab people’s attention.
I liked the depth of the story at this point, as well as the amount of research that has clearly gone into this book to create perfectly accurate scenes and discussions. There is a lot of discussion between characters, and even though this seemed to drag a little in parts, the topics mentioned are important to know for the rest of the book.
As you can imagine, it’s not easy sailing and dragging a nuclear aircraft carrier through the Great Lakes and Northern Minnesota (or anywhere, come to think of it). The team run into a few problems. However, through the power of technology, they seem to get a huge amount of media attention. The book was nail biting in certain points and even though the government and rivals try to stop the whole operation, Tyler and his team are determined to complete what they set out to do. After all, the planning must have taken an awful long time!
From the discussions with various successful men to Tyler and his team having a physical aircraft carrier, there seems to be a gap in the book. Even though the effectiveness was there, I would have personally liked to have seen more information about how Tyler obtained the carrier. However, I think the three week gap in the plot did work and how we were introduced to the whole plan worked well. Well… something needs to be left to the imagination!
“The surreal moment hit him as he realised that everything was the same, yet vastly different.”
I personally enjoyed Tyler’s description and demonstration of how the aircraft carrier was being moved. Telling your plans to some of the world’s richest entrepreneurs must be daunting, but the fact that they’re impressed by Tyler’s plans must make him feel on top of the world. Seeger hasn’t left any details out and I was seriously impressed by how all his plans came together. It was at this point where I really appreciated how much effort and research had gone into the novel and Seeger has done an amazing job of bringing his characters and scenes alive.
With orders to turn back to Russia, making numerous enemies and experiencing further set backs, Tyler considers ending his plans and selling the carrier. As he’s come so far, I wanted to encourage him to keep going! At this point however, there’s even more at stake – losing his wife and daughter. He has a huge dilemma on his hands, and at this point, I wasn’t sure which side he would take; both decisions would have huge consequences.
Despite Tyler thinking he’s made one huge mess with his plans, he doesn’t realise how many people are now talking about nuclear power! Tyler becomes the topic of many conversations, and people are now questioning what is being done to carry out and promote further research, and when new reactors will be built. But is this really enough?
Aside from the carrier, we also see Tyler attempting to get through his divorce, which does get quite emotional at times – especially when he chats to Richard about how he wishes things were the way they used to be, and how much easier things were back then. Again, Seeger covers many relatable topics, making his characters much more human, not just at the end of the story, but all the way through.
“We need someone who can give this project a path. We need you, Doctor Chambers.”
Tyler goes above and beyond to show and convince people to “believe in science”, and to trust him and his work, creating yet more media attention. It made me think more about energy usage, the future, and what we’re doing in the world today to make the lives of future generations better. A fabulous ending to an educational and entertaining story!
A very information heavy book, but I personally thought it was written very well! Seeger is obviously a born storyteller with unique ideas, and this particular book will definitely bring something new and refreshing to your bookshelf. A solid plot, real characters you can relate to, and a few laughs along the way. If you have the time to sink your teeth into story that needs a little more concentration than your average book, definitely give this one a chance!
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