A comprehensive prayer manual that takes a maximalist approach.

READ REVIEW

TOOLS FOR EFFECTIVE PRAYER

MECHANICS, DYNAMICS, AND CONTENTS OF PRAYER

A debut guidebook on how to pray more successfully.

Most Christians acknowledge the importance of prayer, but that doesn’t mean that they’re praying as much as they should be, according to Washington, the senior pastor of Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Abundant Life Community Church. Prayer isn’t only for Sundays or moments of extreme stress, he says, noting that those who pray infrequently can’t expect God to answer them. Christians should be praying a lot more, he asserts, and he wrote this book to tell them how, asserting that “Effective prayer is the key element to rising above a mediocre, average, or ordinary Christian life.” The author examines not only prayer’s purpose, but also its mechanics, dynamics, and content. He offers extensive quotations from Scripture and a bit of theological discussion as he lays out a regimen that’s anything but casual. Readers may think they know how to pray, but do they know the “Seven Principles of Physical Needs” or the “Five Essentials for Good Stewardship”? What about the “Six Weapons of the Armor of God?” At more than 400 pages in length, the book presents a much more complex view of prayer than most people have likely experienced before. Still, Washington’s deep dive is friendly and accessible, without many of the admonishments that one might expect. That said, the author is a fan of lists and acronyms, which begin to feel cloying, and some lines feel devoid of real substance: “Spiritual Purity + Effective Prayer + Effective Praise = Power for Effective Living. This equation also gives the order or normal progression of events that result in power for effective living.” Washington mostly bases his interpretation of God on biblical accounts, but the rather needy vision of the deity that emerges may not mesh with many readers’ beliefs. For readers who are looking to increase the intensity of their prayer, however, it’s difficult to imagine a more enthusiastic guide.

A comprehensive prayer manual that takes a maximalist approach.

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5127-2505-6

Page Count: 198

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more