The Delightful Way

Book Review: The Danger Habit
April 2, 2007, 1:27 pm
Filed under: Book Review

The Danger Habit: How To Grow Your Love Of Risk Into Life-Changing Faith.By Mike Barrett. Colorado Springs: Multnomah. 2006.

I was attracted to this book because I recognized the propensity towards risk and danger in my own life. My friends readily admit that I’m crazy, I know I am an adrenaline junkie, and I tend to gravitate towards high-speed activities.

This book was not a disappointment. I expected to find affirmation of who I am and some application of how I could use my personality more effectively in God’s service.

In the preface, Mike Barrett explains:

But The Danger Habit invites you to explore the possibility that God not only intentionally wired you for an extreme life, but He also has a healthy, promising way for you to make the most of what He created you to be.

Mike begins by explaining that some of us are created to be more extreme. Using scientific studies as proof, he established that we tend to be “addicted to risk” and the chemical charge we get off it. But, he also showed how devastating this lifestyle can be to those around us.

The second chapter uses the analogy of tide and wind to explain how some of us are “radicals” (wind) and some are “foundationals” (tide). As both elements are necessary for making the best waves, so both types of people are necessary in this world. A Radical is someone who is difficult to predict or control, highly changeable, and not very dependable. A foundational, on the other hand, is someone who is dependable, predictable and strong.

The Danger Habit goes on to discuss the essentials of saving faith and the change that comes with regeneration. It presents these as being absolutely necessary for success if you have a radical personality.

In the next few chapters, the author discusses several key issues that radicals deal with: relationships, our need to fight, our frequent failures and the importance of having realistic expectations.

He finishes by challenging us to finish the fight well—to live worthy of the prize.

Overall, this book is good. It was pertinent for me, and seems like the kind of book that would be good for many of my “radical” friends.

However, I was personally disappointed in a few minor details of the book. I felt that the author compromised with the world when he identified (positively) with secular rock songs and used street slang excessively. I understand that these come along with the culture he is from and is trying to reach, but the book failed to live up to my standards of what a man should be. Even more so, I felt the book could have emphasized the vision of God’s glory and Christ’s supremacy more. It felt too much like it was about “me” and not enough about Christ.

Overall, this book rates a 3+ out of 5. Good content, but not the best possible.


Book Review: Hand Me Another Brick
March 29, 2007, 8:39 pm
Filed under: Book Review, Leadership

Book coverHand Me Another Brick: How Effective Leaders Motivate Themselves and Others
Charles R. Swindoll. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. 1998.

There have been many books written on leadership. Just this spring, for instance, I have read at least ten different books. Out of these, “Hand Me Another Brick” stands out because of its strong Scriptural base, the emphasis on timeless principles, and the eminent practicality of Swindoll’s insights. It is a well-organized, easily readable book that covers the basics of Leadership in an effective and comphrensive manner.

Using the Biblical “memoirs” of Nehemiah as a guide, Swindoll distills principles of leadership that Nehemiah demonstrated in his roles as cupbearer, builder and governor.

Throughout the book, the importance of devotion to God and of prayer are emphasized. But, so is the need for action: to “Take problems by the throat”, to face problems head on, and to plan thoughtfully. I appreciated this book’s careful and thorough evaluation of criticism, opposition and discouragement. These three “enemies” frequently undermine otherwise strong leaders and are rarely addressed in much contemporary literature. Using Nehemiah’s experiences as a guide, Swindoll clarifies the causes and then explicitly outlines the cure for each of these negative problems.

The book’s format is well organized. It works through Nehemiah’s life in a chronological fashion, yet outlines the topics in a sequential manner ideal for easy understanding. Each chapter contains specific points to remember, and an excellent study guide in the appendix brings the material home for clear applications.

Overall, this book ranks as one of the best books on leadership I’ve read. It is broad in reach, dead center in focus, and powerful in application. I highly recommend this book.