Category Archive: Book Reviews

  1. NIV Faith And Work Bible

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    The “NIV Faith and Work Bible” (FWB) seeks to help us integrate our daily work life with our faith in Christ. The extra biblical material in this study Bible, is edited by David Kim of the Center for Faith and Work (NYC) with a foreword by Tim Keller, the well-known author, teacher and previously Senior Pastor of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.  The FWB combines the well- known New International Version (NIV) translation of the Old and New Testaments with additional material “to help users deepen their understanding and experience of the gospel and to make them excited to engage their work in a new way.” There are thoughtful essays and introductions for each of the 66 books of the Bible. The additional material is organized around three main “features:”

    1.) A 31-Day focused “journey” or readings with the lofty goal of taking one through the entire story of the Bible;
    2.) 45 “Core Doctrines” of the evangelical (and reformed) faith and;
    3. “Deeper at Work “ articles of real life situations and applications.

    The FWB comes at a time when there is a great proliferation of faith at work ministries, websites and materials. It seems the Christian world has finally discovered the marketplace and the many believers in it everyday. This is a good thing and long overdue.

    My key impression is that the FWB contains some very thoughtful material on work and faith. It has an interesting approach to theological and doctrinal issues and how they relate to Christian living and work. This is done through the “Core Doctrines” section which is then followed by a “Deeper at Work” story. These personal stories are quite valuable. But a big question remains: Is doctrinal application what we are really after in business and professional people? Are we not looking for something simpler: like helping Christ-followers be “salt” and “light” and “ambassadors” in the business world. I have always thought that the value of doctrine is to help us understand and give us solid grounding for the core of the gospel. This is my fundamental problem with the FWB.

    However I have other issues:
    1. The FWB seems difficult to use. The 31 Day journey feature is buried in the Bible and one wonders immediately if it would not be more useful as a separate faith and work devotional. The material is good but it is hard to figure out. I began using it as a devotional and the material was impactful.

    2. The FWB lacks a word index and concordance so one cannot even do simple word studies. For example what does the Bible say about work? About greed? About leadership? This seems like a fundamental problem. One would expect a Bible geared to faith and work to be a reference for workplace related issues.

    3. From a practical use point of view FWB is a large desktop size Bible. It is just too big to carry for use at work or outside of work. One is certainly not going to go on business trips with this tome! We checked and could not find a smaller size.

    Overall, I applaud the attempt to create a faith and work Bible. My experience tells me that the typical Christian business and professional will not find this edition easy and applicable to everyday workplace issues.

  2. The Heart Led Leader

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    Heart Led LeaderBy Tommy Spaulding

    In this easy to read and entertaining book, Mr. Spaulding takes us on an interesting journey of only 18 inches: from our head to our heart! It is a very clever way to encourage us to think about leadership from both a “heart” and ultimately “love” point of view. Spaulding wants us to develop a “leadership philosophy” which changes us into “heart-led” leaders because it will “change your life, your organization, and the lives of everyone you touch.” For the author, “leading from the heart means leading with love.” He refers to heart-led leaders as “Who Leaders” because they are men and women who have taken the time to define their leadership philosophy: “Who are you? Who do you want to become? What do you want to be known for both as a person and as a leader?”

    Knowing his audience of business and professional leaders well, he advises that if the word love “scares” you, consider alternatives such as “passion, commitment, compassion, servant leadership, purpose-driven, mission-driven or your choice of any similar word or phrase.”

    The book features numerous warm and inspiring stories of people who have somehow learned to live out this “philosophy” and thereby clearly touching the lives of people around them. The substance of the book is conveyed in the 18 inch journey: each inch is paired with a moving story and virtue which exemplifies heart-led leadership (love, humility, caring…trust).

    One of the most important lessons and conclusions of this book is its insistence that love is not just an emotion, it is action. While heart-led leadership starts with knowing one’s philosophy of leadership, it is ultimately measured in the quality of relationships and “approaching life with a passion for loving others and serving others, in order to win for tomorrow.”

    As a Christ-follower, I applaud Spaulding’s effort in this book to challenge business and professional people to reach for the highest possible motivation and life virtue, which must be love. His simple roadmap is to start with a leadership philosophy and then put it into practice. However, the main question I have after reading the book is: How does a person learn to love selflessly in a world and global marketplace which neither teaches, rewards nor encourages such love? Even if I found such love, how would I stay on track and live out this “leader philosophy” based on heart-led love? My suspicion is that Spaulding knows, appreciates and even practices the “servant” leadership taught by Jesus Christ.

    Jesus taught the following: “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45)

    Based on my own 31-year career working at fortune 500 companies and private companies, I know that Jesus’ “servant” leadership, like heart-led leadership is nearly impossible to sustain in one’s own willpower guided only by a life philosophy. Even the most virtuous among us struggles daily with the assertion of self-interest (career, performance, survival) over other’s interest. However, Jesus never suggests that we can become true servant leaders (heart-led) on our own. Instead he came to give us a new life and identity in himself by offering a full life change through redemption (ransom). It is in this new life that we become capable of truly loving God and others as self. This is the necessary groundwork I think for real and sustained heart-led leadership.

  3. Business At Its Best

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    Business At Its BestBy Robert J. Tamasy

    Bob Tamasy, who writes many of the Monday Mannas and is a former CBMC staff member, has recently published Business At Its Best, Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace. The book consists of 53 brief chapters addressing a wide range of workplace topics including integrity, leadership, communications, goal-setting, decision-making, teamwork and many others.

    Each chapter is followed by open-ended questions for group discussion and personal reflection. Bob said his goal with the book is to show the truths and principles of the Scriptures are as practical and relevant for the 21st Century Marketplace as when they were written thousands of years ago.

    The book is available on Amazon.com.

  4. The Secret

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    downloadBy Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller

    One of the great privileges of my recent past, along with about 900 other men and women from 50 countries around the world, was hearing Mark Miller, a Sr. VP at Chik-fil-a, address the audience of the CBMC World Convention in September of 2014.  Mark did a wonderful job of explaining the SERVE model which is what great leaders know and do and the featured subject matter of the book The Secret.

    The Secret is a profoundly easy read, yet delivered in a story form that is captivating to the very end.  It is about a mid-level manager, Debbie Brewster, who applies and is awarded with the opportunity to be part of the company’s new mentorship program. Much to Debbie’s amazement, her mentor will be the company President, Jeff Brown. Debbie becomes further amazed when Jeff’s assistant contacts her to schedule their first mentoring session and offers to schedule the meeting at a convenient time for Debbie.  The book leads Debbie through an array of surprises that go against most all of her pre-conceived notions about mentoring, the style of the company President, Jeff Brown, and profound truths that she discovers throughout her mentorship program.

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  5. Godonomincs

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    godonomics-book-coverHow to save our country and protect your wallet through biblical principles of finance

    By Chad Hovind

    In September of this year, Chad Hovind gave an entertaining and challenging keynote presentation at the 10th CBMC World Convention in Orlando, Florida USA. He also generously gave out copies of his new book Godonomics: How to save our country and protect your wallet through Biblical principles of Finance.

    As finance professional with over 30 years of marketplace experience and considerable education in the field, I was intrigued by what a “pastor” might have to tell us about our current weak economic condition and prospects. Hovind would like this book to “create a new context to think, dialogue, and reason together as fellow Americans” rather than “demonize one another.” In fact Godonomics was written to “encourage every Christ-follower to venture into the mine field of politics and to help influence our nation’s economic system.” At the very least, one has to admire Hovind’s desire to see his fellow believers become re-engaged in public dialogue.

    Godonomics begins with an explanation of God’s economic principles as stated in the Bible: property rights, incentives and personal freedom. These are central to understanding Godonomics and form the basis of Hovind’s solution to helping the USA (although one can probably assume all economies) out of its “quagmire.” Having established the foundation of Godonomics, the author proceeds to address key historical and contemporary economic figures essentially with advice from God, the Bible and Godonomics. These figures include Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Alan Greenspan, Jim Wallis, Karl Marx, the IRS and finally the reader. It is a creative tool, which adds interest to the book: I have to say I was looking forward to what God would say to the IRS (among other things, God apparently thinks higher taxes are bad because they lead to more centralized control).

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  6. Economics of Good and Evil

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    EconomicsGoodEvil 160x160by Tomáš Sedláček

    Recommended

    Professor Sedláček is a former economics advisor to Czech President Václav Havel and currently teaches at Charles University in Prague. I first met and heard Dr. Tomáš Sedláček at the Europartners Conference held in Prague in February 2014. In addition to his economics expertise and policy experience, Tomáš is a practicing marketplace Christian who is not afraid to challenge public thinking about economic and social government policy.

    He wrote this book “to show that there is a much broader and fascinating story of economics than its mathematical perception.” Much of the book is devoted to telling the historical story of how we came to see economics as a mathematical exercise despite its’ roots in philosophy, theology, sociology and even psychology. Clearly Prof. Sedláček favors the broader approach since he believes it helps us make policy decisions more closely related to the human condition (reality). When we uncover the ancient myths in our past economic thinking, we discover the same in our current thinking. A case in point- our common misconceptions that modern economic thinking began with Adam Smith’s book “Wealth of Nations” published in 1776. Sedláček believes the roots go back to the very beginnings of the human story.

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  7. The Second Machine Age

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    Second Machine Age

    Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies

    By Eric Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAffee

    HighlyRecommended

    Read a sample of: The Second Machine Age Work

    Most of us have begun to wonder what is going on in our national economies as well as the global one. We note that recession recoveries have not been as robust as in the past and also that government tools (both fiscal and monetary) do not seem to be as effective. Moreover, we have noticed that there seem to be fewer good job opportunities for the average person. What is going on?

    The authors are two MIT professors who have taken the time to explore up close and personal the inventive world of digitization. In Second Machine Age they explain the great structural reordering that is underway and what the future might bring. Essentially it is about the impact of technology on our lives, our businesses and our economies. It does not disappoint. In fact it is hard to read this well written and researched book and not ask: What should I be doing to be sure I (or my family, company, city or nation) am prepared for the impact of this digitized age?

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