An unassuming faith memoir and handbook for curious Christians.


Stepping Out


From debut author Stone, a beginner’s guide to the basics of the Christian faith.

“You can either ride in God’s triumphant chariot, or get crushed under its wheels.” So said J. Vernon McGee, the Christian theologian, as quoted by Stone. Though McGee heavily influenced Stone—his work is quoted quite frequently here—this book takes a very different tone from all-or-nothing reductionism. Self-deprecating and disarmingly humorous, Stone, “a long-time victim of ‘hoof-in-mouth’ disease,” shares the results of his personal study of the Bible, digging into Scripture and frequently drawing homespun biblical applications from his own life in order to clarify some truths about faith. He insists he’s not breaking any new ground, just “stirring things up a bit,” but his book abounds with scriptural insights of a very approachable kind, born of personal Bible study. In the book’s first half, his central observation relates to God’s intent for mankind: to walk with Jesus Christ while living day-to-day faith. In the second half, the central tenet is trust: in the promise of resurrection, in the individual love of the Creator for all his creations, and even in the unknowable nature of God. “We must trust in God to fulfill his promises,” Stone writes, drawing on classic Christian authors like St. Augustine and C.S. Lewis to emphasize that Christians seeking salvation must work to save themselves while also trusting in their savior. Stone directly confronts the hard work involved with grappling Scripture: “God wants all believers to dig out these truths and apply them to their lives, but He never promised that it would be easy.” The sentiment is somewhat at odds with Jesus’ “Seek, and ye shall find; ask, and it shall be given thee,” but Stone’s larger point will resonate with faith-and–good-deeds Christians. Stone admits he didn’t set out to write a spiritual autobiography, but that’s more or less what his book is, and it’s the book’s greatest strength for both newcomers and lifelong Christians.

An unassuming faith memoir and handbook for curious Christians.

Pub Date: July 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4908-8362-5

Page Count: 218

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2015

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


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

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


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

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