Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review: The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters by Albert Mohler

Review: The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters
Albert Mohler
Bethany House Publishers

This seems to be Dr. Mohler’s foray into the plethora of leadership/management books available to the public. His stated goal from page 20 is to “redefine Christian leadership” related to held beliefs, and “to motivate” those with those beliefs to preparation for leadership. Worthy goal and hopefully one that has defined his twenty years as the president of a denominational seminary.

His 25 principles are a list of what he thinks leaders should be. He draws heavily from those he considers to be successful leaders of the past in business, political, and military fields. Martin Luther, Francis Schaeffer, and Stephen Colbert are also mentioned. The principles here are not new or innovative if the reader has read any of the works published in the business field within the last thirty years.

His presentation of the principles is brief and in some cases he makes statements that seem antagonistic. “The fact is that most human beings evidently do not like to think.” (59) Really? Or this one, “Reading is like any other skill---most people are satisfied to operate at a low level.”(101) or this speaking of credibility, “…you cannot even lead a Boy Scout troop without it.” (89) where he denigrates the efforts of those that have ever worked with the Scouts as some minor thing. I understand the point he is trying to make in these cases, but find his communication skills (chapter 11) lacking.

Overall, this book one that you can pass up despite the glowing recommendations that some have given it.

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Review: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren

Review: What on Earth Am I Here For?
Rick Warren

It’s been 10 years already? Yes, it has, and in that time another generation has grown up and is asking what life is all about. So it’s time for an updated edition of this book.

The first thing I noticed when I received this book was the crisp clean design for the dust jacket. Much nicer, cleaner look than the earlier edition. Inside there’s a new font, paper and page setup. Then there’s those nifty little QR links. Yes, I did check them and they work just fine, as did the other links related to this study. It’s all free, too. Except the book, of course. There are even listening guides to download if you want to follow along with the discussion that accompanies each week’s focus. So far I am impressed with this anniversary edition.

The original text was maintained here with the addition of a couple of new chapters at the end. Those two chapters are helpful. They cover a couple of the major pitfalls that most of us know all too well,envy and people-pleasing. As with the rest of this study, Warren covers these topics well too, in my opinion.

The general topic, “What on earth am I here for?”, covers a huge territory, but the author has approached it well and presents enough material so that by the time a person is finished with this study he’ll have enough information and encouragement to examine his own life and formulate some plans that he’d liked to see accomplished in his own life. The student will also have a better idea of his own place in the grand scheme of things.

As I read through this book, I realized that those of us who have already been through the study could benefit from a refresher course, too. So this new edition isn’t just for the younger generation. Maybe a checkup to see how we are doing with our lives?

Yes, I recommend this book. Do I agree with every word? No, and that isn’t the point. Direction, focus, and a sense of my place in the world is. Warren has a book that makes you look and decide for yourself about those issues.

This book was provided by Zondervan in exchange for this review in conjunction with BookSneeze.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Review: Jesus: Pure and Simple by Wayne Cordeiro

Review: Jesus: Pure and Simple
Wayne Cordeiro
Bethany House Publishers

I have to admit I had not heard of this author until I received this book for review. Judging from this list of his other titles I have been living on another planet recently. All that is corrected now.

Jesus: Pure and Simple reminds the reader about what is most important in his relationship with Jesus. Jesus, Himself. The basis of this book could be from either a verse from the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 6:33) or one from Revelation 2 (the letter to the Church at Ephesus). The focus is the same. And this is serves as a good reminder of focus.

Throughout the book the author speaks of different distractions that distort or blur our focus on the “things above.” Dissatisfaction really spoke volumes about the climate today. The quote that stuck with me was “staying near the door” and related to that Cordeiro’s reminder to focus more on how many are not within the Church (read “Kingdom of God”, or how ever your tradition describes the Church universal) than how many are inside your church. Ouch! for all that tend to get too wrapped up in bigness.

The book is an easy read and filled with helpful, insightful and useful guidance for anyone from the pulpit to the pew. I do recommend this book. The author has included some questions for consideration at the end of each chapter which could be used for private or group study.

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers for review.