The Compelling Stories of Paul Kotz

I was “introduced” to the winsome storytelling of Paul Kotz through Our American Stories.

That led to my buying and enjoying his first two books. The third has just been published. Their short surprising stories would be so welcome as Christmas gifts.

Paul believes that a friend is just a “hello” away, or even just making eye contact with someone.

Start Late, Finish Happy: Random Encounters–Unexpected Joy

This is Paul Kotz’s newest book. His winsome vulnerability attracts all sorts of people, including his students. I was drawn to this Minnesotan’s gentle stories, such as conversations while taking his mother for regular eye appointments, and encounters with clerks in various shops.

An encourager extraordinaire, the author deliberately seeks to be kind, to listen and hear, to be more comfortable with the uncomfortable, and to deal with loss, especially since these latest reflections have been set in these months of dealing with Covid.

At the end are “A Little Extra Motivation” and “Last Advice,” both lists of wisdom and whimsey, which are precursors to happiness.


Something Happened Today: A Collection of the Unexpected

Gentle observations and nudgings, even while discussing death in a hot tub (which the author did not instigate).

Chapters: Everyday Gifts, Everyday Life, Growing Up, Kindness, Society Today, Mentoring, Unexpected Surprises. There’s also Advice and Perspectives at the end.

Paul is vulnerable and open about his thoughts, acknowledging that “practice may not lead to perfection, but it could lead to new insight.” His stories are full of nuggets of wisdom.

His motto: Fair, firm, friendly. Paul Kotz is the kind of man you hope will teach or mentor your kids and grandkids.


Profiles in Kindness: Stories of Inspiration & Everyday Leadership

Chapters are Eye-Openers, New Insights, Inspiration, Everyday Life, and Leadership.

All the essays are short, encouraging in sympathetic ways, recognizing that each person has relevance, and that discouragement and failings happen because we all are human beings.

Besides a full-time job, Paul also volunteers at the veterans’ home in Minneapolis. Some of his reflections are from encounters there, even one about the curmudgeon who says that Paul ruins the day by being so ugly!


Dr. Kotz is a lifelong learner with education and business expertise. This includes working as faculty and advisor with undergraduate, graduate students and since 2013, in a doctoral program in leadership. Kotz has taught and served as an executive coach to graduate students and business professionals; and has assisted high school students in navigating adolescence. A resident of St. Paul, Minnesota, he continues to collect new experiences that shape and challenge his perspectives.

Paul’s Amazon Author Page.  He is a regular storyteller on Our American Stories–click for all of them. One is such an unexpected story about playing cards with a stranger-become-friend in a dumpster!

Here’s another:


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