Book Review: Visions of Vocation by Steven Garber

One reason I love networking and attending conferences is the fact the you get exposed to people, ideas, and resources that  otherwise would have never come across your path. That is how this book ended up in my hands. I attended Jubilee Professional and everyone in attendance got a copy of this book.

To be honest, I was excited that we got a book, but I was hesitant to read it. I didn’t really know much about the author and the title and cover were not very appealing to me. However, I trusted the people who put on the conference and I decided to give the book a chance knowing that I could always put it down.

As soon as I started reading this book, I could not put it down.  All other reading was put on hold. This book is a game changer. I recently wrote an entire blog post on the primary challenge Visions of Vocation presents: Knowing what you know about the world, what will you do?

That question will go with me everywhere I go and challenge me in everything I do. This book will challenge for you to take responsibility, for loves sake, for the way the world turns out.

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You need to read this book and get that challenge embedded into your heart. The question is, after reading it, what will you do with what you learn?

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Book Review: Playing God

Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power by Andy Crouch was one of the most challenging books I’ve read. He addresses issues in this book that we don’t talk enough about: the use of power. In the beginning of the book, Andy says: “We speak of leadership, influence or authority. All these are important and beneficial forms of power. But these words can camouflage what is really at stake. The best word for it, with all its discomfort, is power.” 

We hear a lot of talk on leadership, influence, and authority. We do not hear about on how to use these things for God. We always want to be better leaders, have more influence, and  more authority. However, you need to ask yourself several questions about this: Why do you want these things? What will you do if you get more of them? Can God trust you with power?

This book will challenge every motive you have for wanting more leadership, influence, and authority. Too often, if we’re honest, our true motive for wanting these things is so we can play god. Until we learn  to use power in the way God intended us to, we will always leave a path of destruction in the wake of our leadership, influence, and authority.

God’s motive for allowing us to have power, influence, and authority is to do His will on the earth. If we’ll submit ourselves to God, we’ll use power correctly. This book teaches you how to do just that. Buy this book and read it… now!

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What I Read in the Fall of 2013

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Vegabonding by Rolf Potts – I read this book because it was the first book Tim Ferris had everyone read in his book club. It’s a book about traveling. Vegabonding is about taking extended periods of your life to travel. The book is full of travel hacks. If you love to travel, this is a quick read and it will inspire you to rethink the way you travel. It’s a great guide book to keep with you when planning a trip. I’d only recommend this book for those who have a passion for traveling.

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Henry Cloud, Workbooks, and the Changes that Heal

In March of this year, I had something happen in my life that was outside of my control and it ended up setting me on an entirely new growth track. While the circumstances were not ideal, I can see that God used the circumstances to help me grow into a healthier and more mature person.

When this happened, I had a mentor sit down with me and speak into my life. She noticed that through my reaction to the circumstances that had surfaced that I was: codependent, a control freak, and more! At first, I just kind of brushed it off, not thinking much about it. However, the more I evaluated how I was reacting to the situation, the more I realized that she was right.

She recommended reading some Henry Cloud books. To be honest, I had read Boundaries when I was in my early twenties and it didn’t really connect, so I was a tad pessimistic, but I was willing to give it a go and so I got the book.

When I got the book, the woman said to me, “Did you get the workbook?” “No…” I responded. “Ohhhh…. so you think you can just read books and not actually work through the principles presented in them? That sounds like a great plan!”

I bought the workbook.

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I’ve been working through Changes that Heal and several other Henry Cloud books since March. It has absolutely changed my life. I found out that I have a lot of issues that I have to face head on if I am going to become the person and leader that God wants me to be. I have started working on those issues and it has set me free from a lot of bondage in my life.

The book focuses on four major shifts:

1.) Bonding to Others

  • What is bonding?
  • When we fail to bond
  • Learning to bond

2.) Separating from Others

  • Understanding Boundaries
  • Crossing Over Boundaries
  • Learning to set boundaries

3.) Sorting Out Good and Bad 

  • What is the problem?
  • When we fail to accept good and bad
  • Learning to accept both good and bad

4.) Becoming an Adult 

  • What is adulthood?
  • When we fail to grow up
  • Learning to become mature adults

From a glance, it may not seem like the most exciting topics to dive into. When I saw them, I thought, “Ok… maybe I struggle with one of these areas…” WRONG! I have issues in all four areas! This book opened my eyes to blind spots I had in my life that I didn’t even know I had!

I am grateful for Henry Cloud’s work and for the mentor who was willing to point out issues in my life that I needed to address. While I certainly have not arrived in these areas, I am way further than I would have been had I not gone through these books.

I would encourage you to buy the book and workbook. Read the book and do the hard work of working through the workbook. See what God will do with it. He’s used it to grow me and change me. He’ll do the same for you.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. I believe God has different purposes for different seasons in our lives. In each season, there are specific lessons we need to learn and issues we need to address. I’m not sure why it took me until I was 28 to start dealing with some of the issues presented in his books, but I am glad I am dealing with them now!

Give it a go. Regardless of how hard some of these issues may be to work through, it’s worth it. The more you grow, the better your life will get, that I can guarantee!

Thoughts? 

 If this post helped you and you believe it could help others, please recommend it on Facebook, Twitter, Stumble Upon, and the other social media sites listed below. Also, I would love to hear your thoughts on this post. Leave a comment below! Thank you!

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What I Read in the Summer of 2013

For past book reviews, go here:http://dougsmithlive.com/book-reviews/

As a side note, a lot of you have asked me how I read so many books. The truth is, I read a lot of books at the same time and I read a chapter a day in each book. I try to read for 45 minutes to an hour each day. It’s a discipline I believe is worth the effort and sacrifice. Schedule time to grow! If you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen!

Also, I believe I can learn from anyone, but that does not mean that I agree with and endorse everything that is said in every book I read. In Bible School, one professor taught me to always “be as smart as a cow . . . eat the hay and spit the sticks.” If I don’t agree with something someone says, I “spit it out” and forget about it. If it’s good and I agree, I try to apply it to my life. I’d recommend you do the same when consuming information.

Summer 2013 Reads:

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Changes that Heal by Henry Cloud – Henry Cloud has quickly become one of my heroes. I’ve read several of his book this year and this one is definitely my favorite. For me, this book was perfect timing for the season of growth I am in. It focuses on four key areas that all of us need in order to grow to our maximum potential. The four areas are: Bonding, Boundaries, Good vs. Bad, and Growing into Adulthood. I had no clue how big of a deal all of these subjects were. They play a critical role in your growth in development.  If you decide to read this, I would also recommend buying the workbook. I have spent a ton of time working through this book and the workbook and it has made a significant difference in my life. I believe this should be required reading for everyone.

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Integrity by Henry Cloud – This book is excellent. It’s probably not about what you think it’s about. It’s not about knowing the difference between right and wrong. It’s about how to become as effective as possible in your workplace. The tagline of the book is: “the courage to meet the demands of reality… how six essential qualities determine your success in business.” The six qualities are: the ability to connect with others and build trust, oriented toward reality, the ability to finish well, the ability to embrace the negative, oriented toward increase, and having an understanding of the transcendent. If you’re in leadership or in business, you need to read this. While you’re at it, have your team read it and go through it together.

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Becoming a Coaching Leader by Daniel Harkavy – I read this book because Michael Hyatt recommended it. Daniel has coached Michael, Patrick Lencioni, and a score of other high-level leaders. This book is a step-by-step process for becoming a coaching leader. It is one of the best leadership books I’ve read. If you’re a coach or you have a desire to become a coaching leader, this is required reading.

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Start by Jon Acuff - Start is a book for anyone with a dream. This book will show you a roadmap for getting to where you want to go. What I appreciated most about the book is the focus on making the most of where you are at. If you don’t start where you are, you will stay where you are, and never to get where you want to go. To get to where we’d all like to get can often take years and years and years of doing what we know we should be doing day in and day out. This book will give you the courage to start pursuing your dream.

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Unbroken by Laura HIllenbrand - This was my vacation read. The first quarter of the book was slow, but once the action started, I couldn’t put it down. This is an absolutely incredible story. I finished the book on our plane ride home, without going into the details of the book, I cried at the end. I would encourage everyone to read this book! It’s a great story!

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What books have you read this year that have made an impact on you? Comment below! 

If this post helped you and you believe it could help others, please “like” and share it on Facebook, Twitter, Stumble Upon, and the other social media sites listed below. Also, I would love to hear your thoughts on this post. Leave a comment below! Thank you!

I would also encourage you to subscribe to this blog via RSS feed or e-mail! You can sign-up for e-mail by typing your e-mail address in the box on the left hand side of this site that says “E-mail updates”.

 

 

What I Read in the Spring of 2013

For past book reviews, go here:http://dougsmithlive.com/book-reviews/

As a side note, a lot of you have asked me how I read so many books. The truth is, I read a lot of books at the same time and I read a chapter a day in each book. I try to read for 45 minutes to an hour each day. It’s a discipline I believe is worth the effort and sacrifice. Schedule time to grow! If you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen!

Also, I believe I can learn from anyone, but that does not mean that I agree with and endorse everything that is said in every book I read. In Bible School, one professor taught me to always “be as smart as a cow . . . eat the hay and spit the sticks.” If I don’t agree with something someone says, I “spit it out” and forget about it. If it’s good and I agree, I try to apply it to my life. I’d recommend you do the same when consuming information.

whenhelpinghurts What I Read in the Spring of 2013

When Helping Hurts – I work for an organization that helps the poor. The longer I am there, the more I realize that although everyone knows they should help the poor and desires to, very few people know how to actually help. This book will open your eyes to some of the realities of helping the poor. It will also give you a roadmap for how you can actually hep. If you have a heart for helping the down and out, read this book.

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howpeoplegrow1 What I Read in the Spring of 2013

How People Grow – Hands down the best book I’ve ever read on personal growth. The thesis: All growth is spiritual growth. If you want to get serious about growing yourself and growing others, then you need to read this book. I would put this in the top 5 books I’ve read in the last 5 years!

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Boundaries for Leaders – If Henry Cloud writes something, buy it and read it! The thesis of this book is that you are ridiculously in charge and you will ALWAYS get what you allow and what you create. For me, realizing that whatever I see around me in my life is a result of what I have created or allowed revolutionized the way I view leadership. I never viewed myself having that much control over my life, my team, my organization, etc. A must read for leaders!

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Draw the Circle – This is Mark Batterson’s follow-up to The Circle Maker. The Circle Maker is probably the best book on prayer I’ve read. Draw the Circle is a 40-day prayer challenge. You read a chapter a day and comitt to praying for 40 days straight. Prayer has always been something I’ve struggled with, so my wife and I started going through this book together. It’s been great for our relationship and it’s been great for me to focus on prayer. I actually find myself looking forward to praying instead of dreading it! If you struggle with prayer, I challenge you to take this challenge!

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Awaken the Giant Within – I’ve been into personal growth for ten years now and have listened to a lot of speakers and read a lot of authors. Up until this point, I’ve heard a lot about Anthony Robbins, but never actually listened to or read any of his stuff. I started YouTubing videos of Tony and watched a few of his talks. He definitely caught my attention! I enjoyed what I was hearing, so I picked up this book. I’m 60% done with it and I absolutely love it. It’s extremely practical and I find his material very refreshing. I have not been exposed to a lot of the things he teaches, so it’s great to get some new perspectives on topics that I’ve been studying for years. I’m going to say that this is a success classic and you have to read it!

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Codependent No More – A mentor gave me this book. She said, “You’re so CODEPENDENT! READ THIS!” To be honest, she gave me this book a year ago and I never read. I finally got to a point of frustration with my codependence that I knew I had to deal with this issue in my life. This book was excellent and I will definitely be going through it again. I never realized how controlling codependency can be and how freeing it can be to let go of it. If you struggle with control issues or codependence, then this book is for you!

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The Catalyst Leader – I’d recommend this book to young leaders, ages 18-24. This would be a good book to take young leaders you mentor through. I don’t recommend it if you have been reading and studying leadership for a while.

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What books have you read this year that have made an impact on you? Comment below! 

If this post helped you and you believe it could help others, please “like” and share it on Facebook, Twitter, Stumble Upon, and the other social media sites listed below. Also, I would love to hear your thoughts on this post. Leave a comment below! Thank you!

I would also encourage you to subscribe to this blog via RSS feed or e-mail!You can sign-up for e-mail by typing your e-mail address in the box on the left hand side of this site that says “E-mail updates”.

What I Read in the Winter of 2013

I am changing the format in which I write book reviews. Instead of providing individual book reviews, I’ll review quarterly what I’ve been reading. For past book reviews, go here: http://dougsmithlive.com/book-reviews/

As a side note, a lot of you have asked me how I read so many books. The truth is, I read a lot of books at the same time and I read a chapter a day in each book. I try to read for 45 minutes to an hour each day. It’s a discipline I believe is worth the effort and sacrifice. Schedule time to grow! If you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen!

Also, I believe I can learn from anyone, but that does not mean that I agree with and endorse everything that is said in every book I read. In Bible School, one professor taught me to always “be as smart as a cow . . . eat the hay and spit the sticks.” If I don’t agree with something someone says, I “spit it out” and forget about it. If it’s good and I agree, I try to apply it to my life. I’d recommend you do the same when consuming information.

reasonforgod What I Read in the Winter of 2013

I have been consuming a ton of Tim Keller’s content lately. This book is a must read for any believer or any skeptic of Christianity. Tim Keller seems to be this generations C.S. Lewis.

The Reason for God by Tim Keller

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GenerousJustice What I Read in the Winter of 2013

I just started reading this book. It’s focused on social justice through the eyes of scripture. If you have a passion for social justice, this is a must read.

Generous Justice by Tim Keller

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radical What I Read in the Winter of 2013

This is the second time I’ve read this book. It will definitely challenge you in your commitment to God. You can read what I wrote about this when book the last time I reviewed it here.

Radical by David Platt

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sifted What I Read in the Winter of 2013

This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. The tag line says it all “Pursuing growth through trials, challenges, and disappointments” If you’re a Christian leader, this is a must read.

Sifted by Wayne Cordeiro

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necessaryendings What I Read in the Winter of 2013

This is another must read. Once again, the tag-line says it all: “The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward” I wish I would have read this book ten years ago! If Dr. Henry Cloud writes it, you need to read it!

Necessary Endings by Dr. Henry Cloud

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becomingaleader What I Read in the Winter of 2013

This is a leadership classic. I’ve heard a lot of speakers talk about Warren Bennis and his influence on the subject of leadership. That is why I decided to pick this one up. It didn’t disappoint. I found it very challenging compared to most leadership books. It’s worth the read!

On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis

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costofdiscipleship What I Read in the Winter of 2013

This is a Christian classic. This book is challenging to the core! When you read this and look at Christianity in our culture today, you will think we are a bunch of whiny babies. This book will challenge you to fully commit your life to Christ, regardless of the cost. A must read for every believer.

The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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nonprofit What I Read in the Winter of 2013

This was the first Drucker book I’ve read. Now I know why he was so influential. This book was full of great content. This helped me learn what it takes to lead at an 80,000 foot level in a non-profit organization. It changed the way I show up to work and lead in my own non-profit organization. I’d encourage any leader in the non-profit sector to read this book.

Managing the Non-profit Organization by Peter Drucker

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spiritualleadership What I Read in the Winter of 2013

This is a Christian Leadership classic. You absolutely HAVE TO read this book. I’ve read it several times now. Every time I read it i am challenged to my core in several areas of my life. I would recommend every leader have this book in reach at all times. It’s a great road-map for leadership. If you have not read this book, do yourself a favor and read it now!

Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Chambers

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merechristianity What I Read in the Winter of 2013

This was my first C.S. Lewis book. I’ve always stayed away from this book because to be honest with you, I thought it would be way over my head. It wasn’t. This is another Christian classic that will challenge the believer and the skeptic. It’s a must read.

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

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If this post helped you and you believe it could help others, please “like” and share it on Facebook, Twitter, Stumble Upon, and the other social media sites listed below. Also, I would love to hear your thoughts on this post. Leave a comment below! Thank you!

I would also encourage you to subscribe to this blog via RSS feed or e-mail! You can sign-up for e-mail by typing your e-mail address in the box on the left hand side of this site that says “E-mail updates”.

What I Am Reading Fall 2012

I am changing the format in which I write book reviews. Instead of providing individual book reviews, I’ll review quarterly what I’ve been reading. For past book reviews, go here: http://dougsmithlive.com/book-reviews/

As a side note, a lot of you have asked me how I read so many books. The truth is, I read a lot of books at the same time and I read a chapter a day in each book. I try to read for 45 minutes to an hour each day. It’s a discipline I believe is worth the effort and sacrifice. Schedule time to grow! If you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen!

Also, I believe I can learn from anyone, but that does not mean that I agree with and endorse everything that is said in every book I read. In Bible School, one professor taught me to always “be as smart as a cow . . . eat the hay and spit the sticks.” If I don’t agree with something someone says, I “spit it out” and forget about it. If it’s good and I agree, I try to apply it to my life. I’d recommend you do the same when consuming information.

Here is a list of my fall reading:

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From Values to Action

This book was required reading for the Serving Leaders Collaborative I am going through. One benefit of going through this program is being exposed to books that I would have probably never read on my own. From Values to Action is a book by Harry M. Jansen Kraemer Jr. You can read his long list of accomplishments  here.Harry is the former chairman and CEO of Baxter International Inc., a multibillion-dollar global health care company.

In the book, Harry shares his journey from starting off in a cube and working his way up to CEO. It helped me realize that I can lead wherever I am at and that become a values based leader is what will ultimately set me apart from my peers.

This book reminded me a lot of one of my favorite books that I have read this year, Love Works. The first half of the book focuses on becoming a values based leader in your personal life. The second half of the book is devoted to teaching you to become a values based leader in your organization. Learning to lead through your values is extremely important and often overlooked in our world.  I’d recommend this book to anyone starting off their careers in a cube to a CEO of a large company.

My biggest takeaway: Perhaps there is no greater benefit of becoming a values based leader than setting the standard for the rest of the organization so that it, too, focuses on what matters most.

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Some Highlights:

  • The four principles of values-based leadership is self-reflection, balance, true self-confidence, and genuine humility.
  • No matter how far you have risen, you should never forget where you started.
  • Perhaps there is no greater benefit of becoming a values based leader than setting the standard for the rest of the organization so that it, too, focuses on what matters most.
  • One of the biggest benefits of self-reflection is identifying what comes first and what comes last.
  • Once you’ve established your priorities then making decisions based on what matters most becomes easy.
  • Until you measure how you spend your time, you cannot make meaningful changes that will positively impact the quality of your life, and, by extension, your leadership.
  • You will not be a good leader unless you are also a good manager. How can you possibly be effective as a leader if you don’t have a track record of executing and implementing?
  • If we have 40 percent of the information we need, we will probably choose the right direction. However, if it turns out that we are headed in the wrong direction, we will adjust.
  • Your reaction to change has a direct impact on how you lead and your effectiveness as a leader.
  • Unless you make social responsibility a priority early in your career, you will find it difficult to focus on it in a significant way later on.