Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Book Review: Jolt! by Phil Cooke




I have a guest blogger reviewing Jolt! by Phil Cooke.  This special guest is very near and dear to my heart–my very own husband, John!  :-)  

Jolt! of Change

I live by the philosophy that self-help is no help at all. Perhaps that’s why I came at Phil Cooke’s new book Jolt! with some healthy skepticism. The jacket copy blasts out self-help standards such as “new direction” and “maximize potential.” As much as I love Cooke’s blog and daily musings, you can see why my shields went up with Jolt! (I also confess a bias against exclamation points).

For the most part, however, the book isn’t really another manifesto for self-help mumbo-jumbo. Instead, Jolt! wants to—well—jolt you out of going with the flow so that you can stand up and surf the waves of change coming at you. “It’s about navigating the changes in the world that will result in a new perspective on living, a better understanding of the world around you, the ability to recognize new opportunities, and a stronger vision of the future” (p. xxv). In other words, Cooke wants you to lead yourself so that you can lead others.

To get you there, the book points to several areas of your life to examine and zap (direction, priorities, growth potential, heart/spiritual matters, future/goals). And each section gives you five ways to do just that. As with his blog, Cooke most shines when giving practical steps to get you examining what you value and how you can change your perspective. By the end of the first section, I had already made a list of things I needed to jolt. So, he got me working.

While the structure of the book works if you read bits here and there, my main concern is that the writing comes across as episodic and lacks cohesion. In other words, it’s more blog than book. Cooke himself confesses that he lacked focus when writing the early draft (p. 57). He says that he jolted his own focus and cranked it out, but the lack of focus still slips through. It’s best, then, to simply read a bit at a time as you would a blog rather than a book.
Bottom line: Cooke’s writing always does exactly what he sets out to do: teach, inspire, motivate, and push. Jolt! isn’t self-help—it’s self-evaluation with an added kick in the pants. Get it and go.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Book Review: The Shelter of God's Promises by Sheila Walsh


When I ordered The Shelter of God's Promises by Sheila Walsh, I honestly thought that I would already know everything Walsh could possibly share about God's promises, but I also knew that I needed to be reminded...again.  Everyone has those seasons of life where things aren't working out the way you think they should, and it seems like God has forgotten about you and any promises He might have made.

In this book, Walsh shares the very foundation for why God can make and keep promises.  She shares ten specific promises God makes in the Bible.  She takes each promise and places it in the context of the surrounding scripture, offering the history of the time and Greek or Hebrew word meanings needed to make sense of exactly what God is trying to tell us through His Word and to provide deeper insight.  She shares biblical stories that display God's faithfulness in keeping the promises He has made, as well as sharing personal stories that let you know she's been there, too.

Overall, this is a great read, both for the lifetime Christian and new converts.  It will remind you that God hasn't forgotten where you are or what He has promised to do in your life.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's Me Again

OK, don't shoot me.  It's been a while since I've blogged.  Life happens.  Since my last post in July 2009, we've added another redhead to our family, and the two of them keep me quite busy! I have been enjoying every minute with them, though.  And while our little family has been growing, I find that my values and desires are changing.  I've been longing for a simpler way of life.  I want to get back to the basics.  I've been paring down our possessions.  I've been moving away from processed foods in favor of more whole, natural foods.  Even though we've moved twice since my last post, we are still not settled, and I've been planning for our permanent, efficient, minimalist home.  OK, as minimalist as a home can be with two little ones.

That said, I've found quite the inspiring book for getting back to the basics--for becoming self-sufficient.  The Backyard Homestead has been my dream book.  While reading it, I dream of owning my own mini-farm with 2 goats for all things dairy (Did you know that a cow produces 9 gallons of milk per day??  That's a bit much for us), chickens (I've already been looking for custom slaughter houses--I don't think I could do that myself), a large vegetable garden, fruit trees, fresh herbs, and maybe even a wheat field.  Oh, my goodness!  Just thinking about it makes my head swim with the possibilities!  I know.  This isn't your average suburban mom's dream.  Why not just head to Wal-mart and pick up what you need?  Because the more I research, the more beneficial it seems to me to know where my food is coming from.  Not that I don't trust the FDA...or the government, for that matter.  (Smirk.) I'm just a bit of a control freak.  Just a little.  Really.

Anyway, if you have any interest in producing any of your own food, this is definitely the book for you.  It is simple and easy to understand.  It provides plenty of information to whet your appetite and gives you the resources to finish the job.