Spencer offers a back-to-basics guide to achieving “peace of mind, God-discovery, self-discovery” in this personal outline of a Christian worldview that ultimately hinges on one key point: Humans can’t change God’s laws; we can only accept those laws and live in harmony with God or fight against those laws and thereby court “disease, confusion, lack, and chaos.” Spencer uses a close reading of Christian Scripture to unfold a series of “natural and spiritual principles” that can be used in the same way blueprints and a “constructive imagination” were used to build the White House and the Empire State Building. He encourages his readers to examine the lives of accomplished, successful people in order to discover “the thin but unbreakable thread that runs through the lives of those who succeed” (in one of the book’s many personal notes, he offers himself as a source of encouragement if the reader needs one). Attempting to bolster his contention that life is simple, he maintains that what we think, we then speak, then believe, then act upon—“Action creates effort, and effort creates results.” Therefore, fully understanding our own thoughts is the key to controlling and shaping our behaviors. This is the “simple 101 of how desire works,” a concept he explains throughout his book, though it may seem contradicted by his later assertion that the subconscious mind is “the most amazing thing about us.” Spencer is able to reconcile the two by characterizing the subconscious mind as a kind of garden, where conscious thoughts are internalized into aspects of character in a cycle over which the individual can exercise control through prayer and self-discipline. In clear, accessible prose, Spencer details the crucial role “foundational choices” have on all aspects of life, and although he advocates that those foundational choices be guided by Christian faith, his charting of personal responsibility will be thought-provoking for readers of any denomination.
A plainspoken, well-conceived manual for uncluttered faith and self-examination.