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Thoughts on the Christian life in a fallen world

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Beyond IQ - Garth Sundem

Scientific tools for training problem solving, intuition, emotional intelligence, creativity, and more. The author says in the introduction " This brain training book for everything but IQ will teach you to drive your mind, to get the most from what you've got under the hood." It does say that the exercises are not easy,"if they weren't challenging, they wouldn't do you any good." This book challenges you to "Forget the IQ tests and tweak those parts of intelligence that matter most to real-world success."
This book will appeal to anyone who wants to improve their mind with practical exercises and real world examples of problem solving.  The subjects of intuition, working memory, creativity, multitasking, and will power, and they all get a full chapter each. Included is an explanation of the skill, and exercises to develop that skill.  In the chapter on willpower the author states "If IQ is the strength of the bulb in your lighthouse, willpower is the lens that focuses it into a beam."  There are answers in the back to most of the exercises in this book, but you won't want to look at them until you at least give them a try.
The author says this book will "help you train your brain with useful and engaging exercises that will help yo make the most of your brain in the area that matters most- life."
The author has written numerous books, among them Geek Logic, Brain Candy, and Brain Trust. He has also written for Esquire, New York Times, Wired, and Men's Health.
This book makes the point that I have always believed, that IQ is not enough to be successful in life.  Concepts like creativity, willpower, emotional intelligence, and intuition have the most impact in the real world. If you enjoy word games, stretching your mind, thinking outside the box, and want to increase your brainpower, this book is for you.
Some puzzles require cutting out parts of the book to rearrange in a certain order, so be prepared to do so.
Published by three rivers press.com. and also available as an ebook.
I have been provided a complimentary copy in exchange for this review.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Every Disciple's Journey - Thomas R. Steagald

Following Jesus to a God-focused faith.  Find the meaning of your life in the life of Jesus.  The author is pastor of First United Methodist Church in Stanley, NC.  This book is divided into two parts, God's journey to us, and Our faithful response.  It follows Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and Trinity Sunday with a chapter on each.  In one section he analyzes his own preaching, "Did I say what needed saying? Did I preach the Gospel?" After all this he humbly concludes, "I need the touch of Jesus before I can even begin to offer Jesus to others." This is good advice indeed, and we should all heed everyday.
Some may be disturbed to see a quote from Charles Wesley and Pope Pius XI on the same page. Some may also take exception to his mention of Pope Pius XI inaguration of the Feast of Christ as King as the same truth as the Barmen Declaration of Karl Barth.
 This book is definitely written from a Methodist perspective, as one would expect from a Methodist minister.  This book was dedicated to his father with an honest description of his life, warts and all, but still credits him for what he has become.
Each chapter ends with an Affirmation and, A Confession, and A Discipleship Task, more of a call to action. Some of my Calvinist brothers may structure as a bit ritualistic and limiting, but I think there is something to be learned from this book.  The life that Jesus lived on this earth has a lot to teach us, and a book that helps us to practically live out our lives is always helpful.
Definitions of the word origins of Advent, Lent, Epiphany, and Holy Week are included, and why each one has that name.  Some may take exception with the ritual aspect, but I see nothing wrong with special emphasis on certain times of the year, as long as sincere worship is encouraged.
Published by Navpress. www.navpress.com
I have been provided with a complimentary copy of this book for review.