Friday, December 10, 2010

"The Principle of the Path"

The Principle of the Path:
How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
By Andy Stanley

“The Principle of the Path” written by Andy Stanley, is a self-help book. A simple message. The choices you make along your path determine where you will end up. Hence the principle of “the path”. Unless of course, something or someone interferes with the choices you make, in which case, you can end up somewhere else. While the advice offered in this book is relevant for anyone, it is primarily for Christian readers because it relies heavily on biblical references and includes some discussion on sin and repentance.

My thoughts...
The first chapter was a really good introduction and got me pumped to read the rest of the book, but I was wrong. I felt as though, based on the subtitle, this book would give some insight into how to get from point A to point B. It didn't. The book basically shared the things that we all know we should be doing, but did not share how to make yourself do them. Stanley's thesis is pretty clear from the beginning- the choices we make determine our outcome. Making a series of poor choices probably will result in some poor outcomes. Each subsequent chapter outlines more examples of how people were faced with choices and how those choices led them to where they were. I kept hoping the next chapter would provide new information, or more advice on guiding one's self or organization down the path to where we want to go. But it never got better, and I have to say I was disappointed with this book.

There was something Mr. Stanley stated in the book that I really did not care for, where he says, “the casual sex as a teen and cervical cancer or infertility at thirty”. That statement really angered me. Infertility and cervical cancer are punishments for having casual sex as a teenager? What about the women who didn't have casual sex as teenagers and still end up with one or the other or maybe both? That just blames the woman suffering from these problems…what an antiquated view of the world!

After reading that statement, I read the book differently. Yes, you can choose the path you take, but it's not always clear where it leads. You can take what seems to be a promising job, but get fired, laid off or you might not like it. You could be in a car accident that was in no way, shape or form your fault. You could lose a loved one various different ways. Many things happen in life that cannot be easily predicted. Hindsight is 20/20, it's easy to say "Oh, I should have never gone out with him" or "I knew the weather was bad" but I think most people cannot see that far into their future to know that the career they chose at 25 would be eliminated by the time they were 40.

Upon reading the book, I realized the tone was very depressing overall. After the first few chapters we get it: Our choices determine the path we take in life. Good or bad. For the bad though, Stanley doesn't offer much hope. If your marriage fails, too bad, you took the wrong path. In debt? So sorry, you are messed up for life. There seems to be no answers given, and no hope instilled. The author gave no common sense strategies to help those who found themselves on the wrong path other than telling them where that path would lead. He also gave no help for those seeking the right path. He just stated the obvious repeatedly without any practical help. To make it worse, Stanley felt the need to justify the obvious, by spending far too long exaggerating a few verses of Proverbs. I am talking chapters of defensive-sounding Scriptural lay-level exegesis.

And then he repeated it all again, basically saying everyone who is in debt, buys new cars with loans, has a bad marriage or disobedient kids are idiots with only themselves to blame.

On a positive note, the book was a fairly easy read and his examples are relatable. While I felt like I needed something more and deeper from this book, I do think there are those in the world need to know that making reckless choices now will only harm them in the end. I would recommend this book for those who would like encouragement in the truth that making wise choices now is making a choice for goodness in your life. Also, the book ends with a Study Guide that guides the reader through a process for applying the ideas discussed in the book.

Thank You so much Book Sneeze for letting me be a part of your program! I am looking forward to reading more books in the future! This is my fifth book review that I have finished with their program and I am really enjoying my experience :)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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