Never Again Return to What Hasn’t Worked

Never Go Back: 10 Things You'll Never Do Again [BOOK REVIEW]

Depending on who you ask, success looks different and has many definitions.

Although some define it differently, successful people have common trains. According to Dr. Henry Cloud, author of Never Go Back: 10 Things You’ll Never Do Again,

Successful people have certain realizations, or awakenings, that change the course of their lives forever in a positive way. These realizations are essential to a good life and are both scientifically and spiritually backed.

He describes ten of those awakenings in Never Go Back: 10 Things You’ll Never Do Again. The first awakening, Never Again Return to What Hasen’t Worked hit me like a ton of bricks.

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Never Again Return to What Hasn’t Worked

Make sure that if you ‘go back’ [to an old relationship, an old job, an old way of thinking] you’re not going back to the same thing . . . Remember there’s a reason it didn’t work. If you’re going back make very, very sure that reason is no longer there. . . Ask these questions: Am I different in some way that would make this work? Is the other person different in some way that would make this work? Is the situation fundamentally different in some way that would make this work? (pp. 17-18).

Everyone makes mistakes, even the most successful people out there. But, what successful people do better than others is recognize the patterns that are causing those mistakes and never repeat them again. In short, they learn from pain—their own and the pain of others.

I once heard someone say,

A good thing to remember is this: pain is unavoidable, but repeating the same pain twice, when we could choose to learn and do something different, is certainly avoidable.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, do you agree or disagree?

5 Books You Should Read During African-American History Month

Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month in America, is an annual observance in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom for remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African diaspora.

Research has found that the proportion of young people who are daily readers drops has dropped dramatically in recent years. According to some studies, since 1984, the percentage of 13-year-olds who are weekly readers dropped from 70% to 53%. Even worse, the percentage of 17-year-olds who are weekly readers fell from 64% to a startling 40%. It’s jarring news.  Therefore, I’m sharing my list of reading recommendations.  Here are a few titles that had an impact on my life and that every African-American should read.

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The Mis-Education of the Negro – Carter G. Woodson, Ph.D.

The thesis of Dr. Woodson’s book is that African-Americans of his day were being culturally indoctrinated, rather than taught, in American schools.  This conditioning, he claims, causes African-Americans to become dependent and to seek out inferior places in the greater society of which they are a part. He challenges his readers to become autodidacts and to “do for themselves,” regardless of what they were taught: History shows that it does not matter who is in power… those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end.

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Kindle Edition

Book Review: Empty Promises

Just finished Empty Promises: The Truth About You, Your Desires, and the Lies You’re Believing by Pete Wilson, author of Plan B, as part of the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze program

 Publisher’s Description:

We all long for more of something in our lives. In our endless pursuit to feel worth and acceptance we find ourselves sacrificing everything for the promise to be a little more beautiful, a little richer, a little more powerful and successful, a little more loved.

How do we break free from these empty pursuits and start chasing the only Promise that will ever satisfy? How do we uncover the hidden idols that are driving us and turn our devotion toward the one true God?

Join Pastor and best-selling author Pete Wilson in discovering the joy and freedom that comes with seeking after God with your whole life. Learn how to replace, and not just relinquish, life’s empty promises by turning your focus and worship toward Him. It is the only thing that will set you absolutely free from the endless pursuit of everything else.

Empty Promises Book Cover

My Thoughts:

I became aware of Pete Wilson after reading his first book Plan B.  I was at a crossroads in life and his book help me think through the issues.  I was thrilled when I saw that I had the opportunity to review Pete Wilson’s new book Empty Promises.  His first one, Plan B, is one that I frequently recommend to others and have been told it has changed their lives.  I also love reading Pete’s blog and couldn’t wait to see what his next book held for me.

Empty Promises: The Truth About You, Your Desires, and the Lies You’re Believing addresses head on the issue of idols in our lives.  Wilson notes that “idolatry is when I look to something that does not have God’s power to give me what only God has the power and authority to give.  He then goes on to explain that we, including those in the church, are practicing idolatry on a daily basis not allowing us to achieve our purposes.  Wilson then chronicles the common idols of our day, including the warning signs that we are worshiping at a false idol.  These idols include; power, success, money, beauty and religion.  Wilson notes that humans are inclined to worship and that only by worshiping God can we achieve our true purpose of reflecting Him.  Wilson finishes with practical tips for connecting with God and throwing off false ones.

 Conclusion:

Not every page in this book will apply to you. But this book is definitely worth the read. You will find yourself in some of those chapters and find out how to pray for those you know who can be found in other chapters of the same book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. 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.” 

Book Review: Healing Is A Choice

Life has a way of dealing us the wrong cards. Many of these cards come with painful circumstances which leave scars. Scars are visible reminders of a painful event in our lives. Steve Arterburn’s book, “Healing Is A Choice” shows us how to deal with our painful past.

In 11 chapters, Arterburn explores 10 choices we need to make if we are to experience the healing that comes from Christ. These Choices are as follows (these are also chapter titles):

  1. The Choice to Connect your life
  2. The Choice to Feel your life
  3. The Choice to Investigate Your Life in Search of Truth
  4. The Choice to Heal Your Future
  5. The Choice to Help Your Life
  6. The Choice to Embrace Your Life
  7. The Choice to Forgive
  8. The Choice to Risk Your Life
  9. The Choice to Serve
  10. The Choice to Preserve

I would recommend it for those who must look at their scars daily. “Healing is a Choice” provides a fresh touch from God. This book shouldn’t replace a pastoral counseling, but could be helpfully useful on your journey towards healing.

FULL DISCLOSURE:

I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson via booksneeze.com in exchange for this fair and honest review.

Are You Fearless?

Imagine your life, wholly untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats? If you could hover a fear magnet over your heart and extract every last shaving of dread, insecurity, or doubt, what would remain? Envision a day, just one day, where you could trust more and fear less.

Can you imagine your life without fear?

Review
This was a very easy, quick read and I enjoyed it. I think it’s a topic that is very relevant in today’s world, there just seems to be an endless amount of things to fear nowadays. I like the message by the author that with faith, anything is possible. With faith, you have an endless amount of support and can live without fear. Pretty powerful stuff! I think we need more reading material like this, more positive messages like this and reminders how strong a tool faith really is. I thought this was an inspirational read and would recommend it to anyone who’s feeling they’ve kind of lost their footing a bit.

About the Author
In almost 25 years of writing, Max Lucado’s books have been sold 65 million times. He is the only author to have won three Christian Book of the Year awards. In 2005, Reader’s Digest magazine dubbed him “America’s Best Preacher” and in 2004, Christianity Today magazine called him “America’s Pastor.”  His works have appeared on every major national bestseller list including Publishers Weekly, USA Today, The New York Times, Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, and Christian Booksellers Association. He has been featured in countless media outlets and national broadcasts.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for a copy of Fearless and a chance to review this book. Please note that I was not compensated for this review.

The REAL TRUTH About First Impressions

How many times have you met someone and immediately formed a favorable or an unfavorable opinion about them?  Honestly, we’ve all made what I’d like to call, “snap-judgments.”  Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking is written by Malcolm Gladwell on how we make decisions about people (and many other things) without full knowledge.

The author describes the main subject of his book as “thin-slicing:” our ability to gauge what is really important from a very narrow period of experience.  In other words, spontaneous decisions are often as good as—or even better than—carefully planned and considered ones.   Gladwell explains how an expert’s ability to “thin slice” can be corrupted by their likes and dislikes, prejudices and stereotypes.

Whew, that was pretty heavy.
Take a deep breath…relax…are you still with me?

Here’s what Gladwell is saying:  People rarely make decisions as a product of long deliberation.  They make take weeks to announce a decision but often make the decision in minutes, perhaps seconds.

People do not gather data to make a decision;
they often gather it to JUSTIFY their decision!

They are not accumulating understanding; they are seeking comfort and support.  Most decisions are made, and then justified, rather than the other way around.

Therefore, that leads me to one obvious implication: “First impressions are really lasting impressions.”  The first impression, with startling frequency, is also the FINAL DECISION.

HERE’S THE POINT:
The first thing to plan for is your first impression.
Why, once a mind is made up, seldom does it change.

Has anyone judged you based on their first impression?

Have you ever judged someone based on your first impression?

Business Books That Transformed My Life This Past Decade – Part 2

As I mentioned in my previous post, I absolutely love reading books!  Consequently, I’ve read a lot of books in the last 10 years.  There are many books that I consider to have greatly been a part of literally transforming my life.  There were many great books that didn’t make my list that are classics and didn’t meet the criteria that I considered.

Additionally, since I have so many recommendations, I’ve decided to break them down into the following categories: Church Growth, Theology, Christian Living, Leadership, Self-Improvement, Business, Sociology, and African-American Studies.  I will devote blog space to cover each category in subsequent posts.

Here we go:

Books That Transformed My Life This Last Decade – Part 1

I love reading books, and like many of you, I read a lot of books in the last 10 years.  Half of the decade I spent in graduate school (finishing up my Doctor of Ministry degree) so there were a lot of books to be read and I just really enjoy reading anyways.  I read about 500 books this last decade and there were a lot of great ones….some good ones….and some not so good ones. But there were definitely some books that stood out and really changed my life.

There are many books that I consider to have greatly been a part of spiritually transforming my life.  When I chose my books there were some basic criteria that I considered:

  1. I didn’t list the bible, because I’m hoping you assume that that is the book that has spiritually transformed me the most.
  2. They were memorable (some books are just forgettable, and these were not)
  3. They didn’t have to be written this decade
  4. They are ones that I recommend to everyone
  5. They are leading works in their field
  6. They are ones that I have read multiple times, or are back on the reading rotation to read again
  7. They needed to have fundamentally shifted some area of my thinking–paradigm shifting influence
  8. They transformed me spiritually (my theology, my ministry, my prayer life, my leadership, my preaching, my counseling, my pastoring, my understanding of humanity, my relationship with God, etc.)

Additionally, since I have so many recommendations, I’ve decided to break them down into the following categories: Church Growth, Theology, Christian Living, Leadership, Self-Improvement, Business, Sociology, and African-American Studies.  I will devote blog space to cover each category in subsequent posts.

Here we go:

How The Mighty Fall

In case you’ve wondered what happened to my blog, rest assured because all is well!  I had to take time and prepare for my doctoral thesis defense.  Consequently, I’ve had to steal away and prepare.  I’ve been sort of “micro-blogging” primarily through facebook and Twitter.

I just started reading a book by Jim Collins (author of Good to Great) titled, How the Mighty Fall. Collins unveils several years’ worth of research on why great companies collapse. These are companies like Zenith, Circuit City, Bank of America, Merck, IBM, etc. They were at some point leaders in the industry and seemingly invincible, but they have all suffered horrendous falls. Collins says there are five stages of decline.

Oops!!

Here is an interesting quote:

I’ve come to see institutional decline like a staged disease: harder to detect but easier to cure in the earlier stages, easier to detect but harder to cure in the later stages. An institution can look strong on the outside but already be sick on the inside, dangerously on the cusp of a precipitous fall.

Here is what struck me in the first few chapters: stage 1 of decline is “”Hubris Born of Success”, i.e. pride. Collins is not writing from a Christian perspective, but his research states that great companies begin a skid to irrelevancy and death by pride. The insidious cocktail of entitlement and arrogance begins to course through the company’s veins and eventually seduces it into stage 2, and thus, the decline is well under way.

What is true for the organizations we work for and serve is also true about our own lives. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Or perhaps Proverbs 11:2, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” Lastly, Mark 7:20-22 says, “And he said, ‘What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come…pride.”

Dictionary.com defines “pride” as, “a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.” The antidote for pride is humility. Humility is the root of any virtue and all graces flow from it. The purest form of humility was displayed in the life and death of Jesus Christ. The One who deserves all accolades and praise came to serve. The One who is esteemed above all else emptied himself and died on a cross (Phil. 2:1-11). He laid down his life for the proud, but then, our pride is what keeps us from seeing and savoring this.

Discovering The Truth About You

With 2009 destined to be a tough year for a lot of people, I thought now would be the perfect time to review Marcus Buckingham's book , The Truth About You which aims to empower you to enjoy higher satisfaction and performance in life and work.

If you are someone who still is not sure what to do with your life, then this is probably a great book for you to pick up.  It includes a DVD, the book and a notepad, all of which make for a very interactive experience.  If you are already in tune with your strengths and how you want to spend your life, and you are one of the 2 out of 10 people Marcus mentions that get to play to their strengths at work, then there are still some solid nuggets in the book for you as well.

The book discusses how successful people can build their dream jobs. The philosophy of the book revolves around 3 myths that hold you back from building your own dream job.

"Your strengths aren't what you're good at, and your weaknesses aren't what you're bad at." 

“When it comes to the job, the 'what' always trumps the 'why' or the 'who'."

“You'll never turn your weaknesses into strengths.”

It also explains the differences in your strengths versus your weaknesses in a way that you probably have not thought about. Ensuing chapters provide 5 pieces of advice (a chapter for each) to stay on your strength path and succeed in both work and life.

In short, if you're really yearning to discover more about your strengths or weaknesses, give this book a try.  Pick the book up and read it. Then give it away to a young person preparing for a new career path. And then treat yourself to a new copy.

To read the first 12 pages click “read” on the widget below:

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Disclaimer: I was given this book by the publisher, Thomas Nelson, as part of a program for book reviewers, but given no direction to follow nor compensation for this review.