David W. Ellis


A high-powered attorney’s authentic journey of transformation and learning as he follows his passion to become an auto mechanic.

A preview of the front cover of the book

Would You Quit Your Job to Pursue Your Dream? David W. Ellis Did

Let David’s story of embracing uncertainty motivate you to follow your own path, whatever that path may be.

David W. Ellis was a successful lawyer, but he was not happy. He wanted something else. In particular, he wanted to learn to work on cars. So in one big leap of faith, he quit his job and enrolled in technical school.

The other students, all of whom were decades younger than David, could tell he was different―he had money. This contrasted heavily with their own financial struggles as they studied to be auto techs.

And yet, they couldn’t anticipate the enthusiasm with which David would pursue his passion for learning how to work on cars. David became “a bro” and found kindred spirits among the 18- and 19-year-olds he took classes with.

A Story of Enduring Motivation

David celebrating his graduation

David’s story is one of endearing motivation. He brings you along for the ride as he relentlessly pursues a year of technical school, sharing the experiences he has along the way:

  • A series of exciting adventures and unfortunate misadventures.
  • What he learned about himself from taking a huge risk and going all in.
  • The practical difficulties of working with your hands for a living.
  • An honest portrayal of courage as he relays stories of his transformation from successful lawyer to auto technician.
  • A look into the challenges faced by technicians in the auto industry.
  • Hard truths about life, learning, and getting outside of your comfort zone.
  • And much more...

Detour is David’s first non-legal book. It is an entertaining and sometimes humorous account of the daily classes, lab, and testing situations that David experienced. You’ll also meet his dedicated instructors and a group of motivated students who all share a common goal.

If you’ve ever considered leaving your job to pursue your passion, or if you’re an auto mechanic or student in the industry—you’ll love this book.

Paperback and ebook cover preview

Available on Amazon

(Paperback + Hardback + Ebook)

A portrait photo of the author

Meet David W. Ellis

David W. Ellis spent more than 37 years counseling multinational companies on international employment and benefits issues.

He retired early from a successful law practice to pursue his passion: cars. David lives with his wife in Chicago, Illinois, where he is now the resident mechanic for his family, friends, and neighbors.

If you have questions about the book or want to chat about the auto tech industry, or share your own experience, please don't hesitate to reach out to David at: