Category Archives: Reviews

Taking issue with Malcolm Gladwell

Recently, I was able to download a sample portion of Malcolm Gladwell’s book David and Goliath.  I was interested to read this book because in our Men’s Bible Study we are studying the life of David and I wanted to read someone else’s perspective on this well-known Bible story.  I was flying home from Dallas last Friday and decided to read the sample portion that I had downloaded.

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. Photo courtesy of books.google.com

I was enjoying reading the immense detail as I started in the introduction and then I got to page 10 in the Introduction and when I read this statement:

What matters next is a matter of legend”

I was absolutely appalled.  Here is a well-known author who is writing on a well-known Old Testament Biblical Narrative and he undermines the rest of the book by negating the core Biblical account of the entire story.  After I read that phrase, I went back and re-read it to make sure that I wasn’t overreacting and I read it right.  At that point, I went to my Bible to see what Gladwell was calling legend.

Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.  So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him.  But there was no sword in the hand of David.  (I Samuel 17:49-50 NKJV)

I do not see how this could be considered legend when the Bible is very specific regarding the events that took place at this point.

I was really looking forward to reading this book, but after reading this one phrase that undermines the Biblical narrative, I am not so sure that I would be impressed with the rest of the book. I might end up downloading the rest of the book some day, but right now I am not in a hurry to do so.

I would love to engage Malcolm Gladwell in a discussion regarding this phrase, but I seriously doubt he will even see this posting.

 

 

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World

We live in a busy, noisy world.  I do not think anyone will dispute or debate that fact!  What is disputed is how to navigate our world, especially with the rise of social media (Twitter and Facebook, etc) and how that changes the way we interact with businesses and each other.

Michael Hyatt has cleared out the confusion and lays out the steps to building a successful platform in his latest book – Platform

Platform - Get Noticed in a Noisy World

BONUS OFFER: To celebrate the launch of the book this week, Michael is giving away $375.98 worth of free bonus content for those who purchase the book between May 21 and May 25. Complete details are available at http://michaelhyatt.com/platform

 

Bonuses include: Platform Video Jumpstart Program (six sessions), How to Write a Winning Book Proposal (two e-books and two audio sessions), Why NOW is the Best Time Ever to Be an Author (hour-long video), Digital Versions of Platform (audio and eBook), and more!

 

I received this book free from the author along with a request to post a review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 [...] : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

Do yourself and your future a favor, get this book today, take advantage of Michael’s bonus content and start building or expanding your platform right away!

Book Review: The Greener Grass Conspiracy

The Greener Grass Conspiracy The Greener Grass Conspiracy by Stephen Altrooge Wheaton: Crossway, 2001 143 pgs.

If most Christians were transparent, they would admit that they struggle with contentment more often than they want to admit.  This particular book seems to address the issue in a very unique manner.  The author starts out in the introduction by reminding us that this problem of being discontent or lacking real contentment is an age-old even centuries old problem.  We could trace this back to the Garden of Eden and Satan’s exchange with Eve.  We can hear those words of Satan ringing in our ears as the doubts begin to arise “Yea, hath God said” (Genesis 3:1, KJV) The doubts persist even to this day as we find ourselves seeking fulfillment in everything and everyone but God Himself.

The author is wanting the reader to see that “the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence” but rather we can find true contentment in Jesus Christ.

He starts each chapter with either a personal illustration or an story relating to the chapter title before he launches into the truth or principle that he is attempting to communicate in the chapter.  The truths or principles are reinforced with a set of questions under a heading:  STOP-THINK-DO.  How many times do we read a book and absorb the content but do not allow time for those truths to penetrate our lives and to see the connections within the Scriptures.  We need time to think and meditate and process what we have read and this section allows us to do just that.

One of the unique things about this book is that even though it addresses a sensitive subject regarding contentment in our lives, it is not a self-help book that says, “Do these ten things and you will be content”  Rather, this book drives the reader back to the Gospel as the solution to discontentment.  When I was reading this book and I came to Chapter 6 – Bloody Contentment and the author was relating that the Gospel was the complete and total solution, I stopped and was weeping because I was under a great deal of conviction regarding the discontent in my own life. One statement in this chapter that really took hold was “When we complain, we’re saying loudly that the blessings of the gospel aren’t enough.”  This was a great reminder to me!  When I finished this chapter, I had to stop reading the book and really meditate on what I had read in those six chapters! Even though this is a relatively short book at 143 pages, it took me at least three different settings to complete the reading of the book in its entirety.  I have read many books in my lifetime, but I do not remember one that ever drove me back to the Gospel to deal with my lack of contentment!  I was also thankful for the author’s treatment of several different passages of Scripture within the book and he sought to interpret them and apply them to the reader in a faithful manner.

I also appreciated the author’s transparency in the book.  At the time of writing, the author was in the process of buying a home and as we all know that can be a transaction that is complicated and expensive at the same time.  We can allow our discontentment to rise up in the midst of this. The author was very honest in talking about his experiences and some of his frustrations in the process.

However, there are a couple of things that I noticed in the book that I did not particularly care for:

On page 47-48, there is an exchange with a character named Sol and reading this would lead you to believe that this was a real-life encounter with an individual but then the reader finds out that this is not a true-life encounter, but rather hyperbole.

Also, throughout the book, the author relies a great deal on cultural references in an attempt to reinforce what he is saying.  The author runs the risk of losing some readers (both inside and outside of the USA) because the cultural reference is lost or does not have the same impact as he intended and could possibly be misunderstood.

My other disagreement is of a theological nature where the author states on page 123: “God has gone incredible lengths to make us his children.  He killed his Son so that we could be forgiven.”  This may be an issue of semantics, but I took issue with it because of passages like John 10:15-18 and  Acts 2:23.

My minor disagreements aside, I would recommend this book.  Be prepared to be driven back to the Gospel.  Be prepared to weep and be convicted about your own discontent.  Do not try to read this book in one sitting, but rather allow time to process each chapter.

Even though the book is short, the discussion does not end with the end of the book.  The author has a website where you can read more of his writings and continue in the discussion.

Thank you Stephen for writing a great book which gets to the core of our discontent!

Disclosure : I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content.  The views and opinions are strictly mine.

Restaurant Review – Salad Creations

A new restaurant is in our area and we decided last Saturday to try it.  Salad Creations is a new arrival in the Minneapolis area.  We went to the newest location in Maple Grove.  The name of the establishment says it all, you get to create your own salad or you can choose from one of their featured salads.  I like the concept because we do not have many places like Sweet Tomatoes or Souplantation here in our area.

We enjoyed the food but found it to be very expensive and not very kid-friendly.  Here is what our meal consisted of

1- Create Your own Salad with Grilled Chicken      $9.24

1 – Cup of Soup – Baja Chicken                              $3.49

1 – Chic to be Greek Salad                                      $6.99

1 – Cup of Soup – Chili                                           $3.49

2 Drinks                                                                  $4.58

Total was $27.79 and the obligatory sales tax was $1.81 bringing the grand total to $29.60

My salad was so expensive because they charge a base price of 6.99 and then $2.25 for a protein like chicken.  There was plenty of food and I ate all of it because I was very hungry, but the price left me wondering.  We each tried a different soup, they were also very good but way overpriced.  I could get the same quantity of soup for a much cheaper price at the cafeteria where I work.

The staff was very friendly and nice.  The restaurant itself was very well maintained and clean.  When we visited they had been open exactly one week.

We ended up sharing some of our food with our son who is 2.  That was not enough to feed him, so we had to stop elsewhere to obtain additional food for him.

Overall, I would recommend this place, but with fair warning about the prices!

See my updated post on another visit dated August 17th!

 

UPDATE:  I found out that the Maple Grove location of Salad Creations is now closed and out of business as of the end of January 2011.