by Greg Meakin

Rules To Live By

Sheriff Mark Lamb
Self-Published: 2nd book of American Sheriff series, 140 pages
$20.00 US (including free shipping and personal note from the author)

This book needs to be required reading for all high school and college students in the United States – and every civilized nation for that matter! It is that urgent a document, especially in a chaotic world that is spiraling out of control every day.

For my 14th birthday (back in olden days Montreal!) my school teacher mom gifted me a beautiful birthday card with the poem “IF” by Rudyard Kipling. It deeply moved me at the time, even as a wild teenager! 

But after carefully reading Sheriff Lamb’s second book, I realize the poem silently dwelled within me through all these years. The timeless poem sprang to life, and the priceless life-messages leapt off the pages. Historical anecdotes were woven beautifully into each chapter, and the lessons were followed by clear summaries and instructions for the reader moving forward.

What I like about this book is the clear and crisp structure. Each chapter discusses a stanza of the poem. This is not a rambling memoir or wordy tribute to the author, as are so many these days. You can read just the Table of Contents and get a crystal clear picture of what is coming. You can read just the last chapter and get a snapshot of the entire book and its messages. 

The book is as much a Checklist as it is a Dialogue. The clarity and simplicity of each chapter – with its thoroughly entertaining historical anecdotes and a concise review of each “lesson”– keeps the reader “organized” and excited for the next chapter.

Mirroring the poem, there are 12 short chapters (much like months in a year, or the number of Disciples!). Punchy chapter titles abound.

And, I just can’t do a clickbait partial list. Here are all 12:

    1. Keep Your Head
    2. Trust Yourself
    3. Waiting, Lies and Hate
    4. Dreaming and Thinking
    5. Triumph and Disaster
    6. Twisted Truths: Don’t Look Back
    7. Take Risks
    8. Strength and Determination
    9. Virtue and Humility
    10. Tough and Dependable
    11. One Bite at a Time
    12. You’ll be a Man My Son

Each chapter begins with the applicable stanza from Kiplings’s poem. Then, an entertaining story from American history; the Sheriff’s personal life or experiences; and a wrap-up up and call-to-action. Because of this crisp and organized structure, It is very easy to read and understand.

I knew many of the stories, having read Lamb’s first book (American Sheriff, Traditional Values in a Modern World) and knowing him personally for almost two years. Full disclosure here, I feel blessed that Mark has become a dear friend and mutual confidante. 

But friend or not, what entertained me the most were the cool American History lessons, many of which were new to me…

We’ve all heard of George Washington, but how about Robert Morris? Benjamin Franklin, sure, but how about Sybil Ludington (who put Paul Revere to shame). John Hancock, ok, but how about “Mad Anthony” Wayne? Daniel Boone? Of course! But how about Dr. Joseph Warren? John Hancock, fine, but how about Chief Blackfish?

Rules to Live By has you sitting in the bleachers of life, watching a three circus of timeless, priceless knowledge and self-help:

  1. American History – especially the Founding Fathers and the Revolutionary War.

  2. Law Enforcement and Politics – and the Sheriff’s amazing public and private world.

  3. A Mentorship and Deeply Spiritual Retreat – teaching young people (and old like me!) step by step, lesson by lesson, how to survive and thrive in today’s crazy and morally rapacious world. The book could sit in your back pocket 24/7 as a reference book for tackling and overcoming life’s daily challenges and obstacles.

As a humble wordsmith and political wonk, it was fascinating to hear bygone words like “KNAVE”, but also tragic 2022 anecdotes, including 100,000 of our young people dying of Fentanyl right before our eyes. Lamb always tells it like it is, good or bad news. 

The reader will always walk away from a Lamb book with a stack of memorable sayings and expressions.

“Don’t be afraid to do the uncomfortable work”
“You want to be a better version of you? Get intimate with discipline”
“Make sure to share yourself with those around you”

“Surrender the outcome”

There are so many other powerful expressions, it is a challenge to choose which ones for a Book Review summary. You have to read them to appreciate them all, seriously.

As a final practical note, of all the thoughts and concepts Sheriff Lamb proffers throughout this delightful book, I can personally attest that he is a Man of Action, and DEMONSTRATES to all of us how it’s done in real life.

Sheriff Mark Lamb is not a Talker, he is a Doer.

And in this vein, I was deeply impressed with his Sheriff’s Youth Redirection Program. At-Risk Kids 10-17 are welcomed into this educational mentorship program. It is designed to help kids and their concerned parents how to overcome being swallowed into the dark hole of criminal behavior, and future unscrupulousness and immorality. 

What I love is the Redirection program is multi-dimensional – classroom work, digital media, drug education, and community service. Here, students are assigned Horse Therapy, where they clean stalls, “shovel some crap” and interact with the horses. I guess the kids LOVE it, and often spend extra time in community service!

And the great news is 150 students have graduated, with a 97% success rate! (Only 5 students to-date have reoffended). Wow.

The Sheriff’s Youth Redirection program is a shining example of community success, and I hope will be the wave of the future for the millions of at-risk youth throughout America today.

As I said to open this review, American Sheriff: Rules to Live by should be REQUIRED reading for all high school and college students – and anyone really, who cares about our country, our young people, and our future.

I highly recommend this book to all Americans, of all political persuasions, and of all age groups.

It is a moral Game Changer.

Greg Meakin is a retired Seattle businessman, now author and publisher living in Arizona. His website is, and he can be reached by email at

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