40 for 40

Forty stories, sayings, and lessons learned from a non-celebrity, Costco-shopping, minivan-driving, extremely grateful married father of 5 kids who is turning forty years old.

Non-Fiction - Memoir
267 Pages
Reviewed on 02/18/2023
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Author Biography

40 for 40 is comprised of forty short chapters, each of which representing a different theme, story, and lesson learned that I compiled ahead of turning forty years old.

The topics within the book are as wide ranging as the experiences I’ve had over 40 years, including stories around what life is like raising 5 young children with my wife, Colleen; the beauty that can be discovered when adventuring in the outdoors; the benefits that can be found when you choose to bring creativity and curiosity forth; the joys and challenges of being a Working Parent; growing up in a small town in Indiana then traveling across the world and eventually landing in the suburbs of Chicago; rugby and bike riding; Door County and Pat Conroy; Lou Holtz and David Foster Wallace; and somehow even reference to a “Slamball” tryout in college that nearly changed the course of my life entirely.

But when you get precise, this book is simply a tale of gratitude. Gratitude for the people I have met, for the experiences I’ve had (both the good ones and the challenging ones), and most importantly for the loving wife, children, family, and friends I am blessed to have today.

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite

Dennis O’Donnell’s 40 for 40 is less a memoir than a bucket list, a“wish list” that, for years, was subconscious. He reached each memorable milestone and learned from his experiences. As a youngster, he was subjected to peer pressure. In his twenties, he became aware that life is a learning curve – sometimes as difficult to climb as Mount Langley. Many of the stories are family centered. His marriage to Colleen resulted in the births of five children, with all the joys and trials every parent will recognize. In 40 by 40, Dennis O’Donnell has written a memoir with universal appeal.

Christmas struck an instant chord with me, and not just because the true meaning has been swamped by commercialism. Dennis O’Donnell takes that thought a step further. We struggle to find the perfect gift to express our feelings for the ones we love, but when the wrapping paper is trashed, what next? For children especially, new toys will only hold their interest for a short time. What do you remember? I thought back to the walks, and the games… and so does Dennis. His descriptions of family outings are a delight. But he offers hard-gained wisdom. Problems that have no easy answers. Above all, Dennis O’Donnell offers hope in 40 by 40. Learn from experiences and be open to new ideas and the next twenty years will be better than the last two decades. The book sparkles like its cover!


Thank you very much for the thoughtful review, Sarah - Wow! Receiving a 5-Star Rating from Readers' Favorite is truly an honor and something for which I am extremely grateful. I am thrilled to see that you connected with the book and the stories within it. I hope everyone enjoys this book as much as I enjoyed the process of writing it!