Monthly Archives: July 2009

The Shack — Book Review

I have just finished reading the book The Shack. Through its powerful narrative story, The Shack presents the most powerful images of God that I have seen for a long time. The book challenges the reader's assumptions and views of God and the bible. I'd highly recommend it to anyone remotely interested in God, Jesus and the Trinity. When making this recommendation, I'd only add that this is a book of fiction, that doesn't have everything perfect about God.  IMHO the best place to understand and learn about God is the bible, it is the direct source.  Reading the accounts of the life of Jesus for yourself as an adult will challenge mosts peoples perceptions and understandings of Jesus. The Shack been touted as a modern day successor to The Pilgrim's Progress, a title which (while somewhat bold) is at least partially justified. It's a fresh, unique and thought-provoking book that manages to touch the heart in very real ways

Outliers — Book Review

In Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell presents his findings on why some people achieve in statistically outlying ways. Malcolm Gladwell has performed a broad reaching study aiming to find what makes people who are extremely successful different. As usual he’s done a pretty good job at presenting some of his findings with a good mix of anecdotes and facts.

One of the big overriding factors is how much external influences impact people. The location and cultural context in which someone is born, the year in which they were born, and even the birth month has a huge impact. Before reading the book I would have had no idea, after I can agree with him, but don’t worry, I’m not about to become an astrologer, and I don’t think it is directly related to the Chinese birth years (although there might be some links). Of additional interest is the idea of 10000 hours of practice being required to become an expert.

The quick list of impacts of particular interest for me were:

  1. 10,000 hours of practice is required before becoming an expert
  2. the birth month can have a huge impact (6-9 months of age difference can make a huge difference in early childhood – so early streaming favours the older children, with cascading effects)
  3. the birth year can have a huge impact (careers available, and many hugely successful people are early adopters, so there is only a small window of age/experience that makes it available)
  4. our cultural heritage makes a huge difference (what path and options make sense is often dependant on how we are guided by our parents, which cascades backwards)

The lessons are taught well through the book, and it is a compelling read. You may not agree with all the findings, but I’m sure you will get a good read, learn the stories of some successful people, and be challenged in some of your thinking about success.