Review: The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do

The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to DoThe Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do by Jeff Goins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My thoughts on this book are mixed. It is well-written in terms of craft. The human interest stories are compelling. It does have some useful suggestions and advice, but I don’t know that it accomplished its own expectation. I am probably cynical when it comes to pursue-your-dreams and live-a-radical-life messages. So, keep that in mind.

The idea of selfless service was not absent, but it wasn’t prominent enough. There wasn’t any effort to resolve tensions. For example: it could be an act of complete selfishness and self-centeredness to leave everything and move to Burundi. It might not be so, but the tension wasn’t explored. Being published by Thomas Nelson, I expected more of a Christian worldview on vocation–finding our purpose in life is found in pursuing God’s kingdom and his righteousness first and the greatest is the least and servant of all. It seemed that kind of message was watered down and, instead, there was some fuzzy, mystical stuff about “calling” and some near motivational guru speak. The message comes across as your failing unless you’re living in some radical, unconventional way. Where does this sort of message leave the Bible’s idea of a blessed life as being a quiet peaceable life with loving family?

Again, it wasn’t all bad. Apparently, many have read it and profited from it.

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Review: On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction

On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing NonfictionOn Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Everybody recommends some books because everybody recommends them. Being heard or read recommending them lends cachet in certain circles. Recommendations for those books are easy to find, but finding someone who actually read the book and can tell you what is good or useful about it is not easy. Zinsser’s book is not one of those books. Everybody recommends this book because it is excellent and worth reading.

This isn’t a technical grammar manual, but a book on writing clearly. Zinsser uses numerous examples to illustrate his points. If you read nothing else, read the chapter on clutter.

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Review: The 400 Silent Years

The 400 Silent YearsThe 400 Silent Years by H.A. Ironside
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an interesting read. Ironside gives a brief account of the history of the Jews for the four centuries between the end of the Old Testament and the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. It was a period of unrest, fights for independence, unreliable associations, and the struggle for the purification of the nation. Ironside also gives a brief overview of the apocryphal literature of the period. It’s a book worth reading.

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Review: Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living and Speaking the Gospel

Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living and Speaking the Gospel
Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living and Speaking the Gospel by J. Mack Stiles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This brief book is an excellent practical guide to personal evangelism. Stiles points out some things that have gone wrong and do go wrong. I appreciated the space he took clarifying the Gospel message that we should share and the examples he used. He gives us a good push where we need to be pushed to be more active and faithful in evangelism. Reading books on evangelism is one way we can improve. I highly recommend this book.

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Review: A Man of Means: A Series of Six Stories

A Man of Means: A Series of Six Stories
A Man of Means: A Series of Six Stories by P.G. Wodehouse
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a collection of short stories featuring Roland Bleke. Roland is not armed with high intelligence or great wit, but he does have some luck. He repeatedly gets entangled in difficult situations, but manages to get out of them by sheer luck. A good read but not the best of Wodehouse.

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