Book Reviews 2009

The Language of Love & Respect : Cracking the Communication Code with Your Mate
by Emerson Eggerichs

I really enjoyed the first half of this book. I consider myself someone who has a good, healthy marriage. Yet, this book put some shape to underlying communication issues that all couples face. Even the simple defining of the differences in men and women based on whether you seek love (women) or respect(men) have brought clarity to many of the petty arguments or coded communication that I have with my wife. While disagreeing with some of the hierarchical view of marriage(although a rather tame one within religious circles), I still found the book helpful in spite of some differences .

The book tailed off a bit in the middle as Eggerichs had to lay foundational things regarding forgiveness and laying down your rights. These parts are true and essential, Many readers will have revelations in this section, yet I found it a bit slow. The author tends to say the same things several times in different ways. While repetition it is an effective tool used to drive points into our hearts – in fact Jesus did this, at times it seems too much. Yet, I think he could’ve shaved 50-70 pages off his book – I found myself skimming several times.

The book finished well and very practically giving tips on better communication. Eggerichs took many of his basic points and elaborated on them further.  Overall I enjoyed it. It was refreshing and enlightening and I was grateful to read a book on communication within the marriage.


The Post American World by Fareed Zakaria

 

As an American who has traveled overseas for nearly 18 years, I have observed the world’s changing view of my country. From the 90’s until recently, I was greeted with joy at being an American, now I am tempted to hide my nationality or change my accent.  Americans are now looked down upon. Zakaria’s book was a refreshing look at this situation which I have personally experienced. I found the book refreshingly more positive on the future than the current glut of doom and gloom, end of America books. At the same time, there is a real and candid look at the issues America faces in order to remain relevant. The alternative is go the way of the British Empire.

Zakaria offers the unique perspective of being an immigrant himself and now a well informed political newsman. He does well to not try to place the blame on any one administration, but follow the slow change that has occurred throughout the years. He compares the US to the rising giants of India and China, showing America is not as far behind as the media may say. In this, Fareed offers hope that we are not so far gone as to not catch up.  He also has the realism that unless things change, we will lose our voice in the global conversation. This is the most enjoyable book I have read in quite some time. (Reviewed by Chris)


white_masaiThe White Masai by Corinne Hofmann
This is an incredibly interesting book that a friend referred to me. The German author wrote about her true life story of forsaking her homeland in order to marry a Masai warrior and live in African village life. From the first page you are captivated by the experiences of this woman who knew absolutely nothing about the Masai tribe of East Africa yet made a spur of the moment decision to enter into it’s culture completely. She married a tribesman and made a home in a very remote village.  All the details of how this unfolds and what she experienced are very interesting. I must say that I think this woman was slightly off her rocker but it does make for good reading, especially if you have been to this area of the world.  Traveling to Africa is not necessary to enjoy this unique story, though, check it out and let me know what you think! (Reviewed by Lindsey)


Obstacles Welcome by Ralph de la Vega
obstacles_welcomeRalph de la Vega seems to be an amazing man. His story of escaping Communist Cuba, rising through the ranks of one of America’s largest companies, AT&T; and his seeming to be an excellent leader are indeed inspiring. De la Vega’s story brings you to the book expecting great things. I can’t say enough how great of a man he seems to be.

But as for the leadership principles, his book leaves you wanting. He quotes many of the best authors of the day, such as Jim Collins and Malcolm Gladwell. His biggest takeaway however, comes from the title itself. Welcome obstacles in your life as an opportunity to grow and change. I could have got that much from the title while leaving the book on the shelf. I hate to criticize a book of what seems to be a very nice man, but the best praise I could offer his book is to say it was very ordinary in the world of leadership books. Spend your time reading Jim Collins, Malcolm Gladwell, or Patrick Lencioni.