Tag Archives: book reviews

two sentence book reviews, part 1 (fiction and graphic novels)

getting caught up on book reviews. i allow myself two sentences: one for summary and one for my review.

Fiction

gone girlGone Girl: A Novel, by Gillian Flynn
5 stars
a formerly blissful married couple systematically dismantel each other with deception, spite and calculation. brilliantly written and often surprising, this personal saga hides around the next page waiting to pounce.

the time keeperThe Time Keeper, by Mitch Albom
5 stars
the first keeper of time is chained to millennia of listening to others’ relentless cries for more or less time, culminating in an opportunity at redemption connected to two modern day time-worriers. almost whimsical at times, an insightful and reflective story with rich commentary on our time obsessions.

Illustrated Books and Graphic Novels

maus 2Maus II: A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began, by Art Spiegelman
5 stars
part 2 of the author’s father’s story of auchwitz, illustrated with animals. an important and unique contribution to both the worlds of illustrated books and holocaust stories.

the book of revelationThe Book of Revelation, by Matt Dorff (Adapter), Chris Koelle (Illustrator), Mark B. Arey (Translator), and Philemon D. Sevastiades (Translator)
3.5 stars
vividly illustrated book of revelation, with text straight from scripture. it’s weird, just like the actual bible book, which got a little old at points, even though the illustration style is unique and way beyond most christian stuff like this.

the walking dead vol 17The Walking Dead: Something To Fear, Vol. 17, by Robert Kirkman (Author), Charlie Adlard (Illustrator), and Cliff Rathburn (Illustrator)
4 stars
the next one in the series. i love these, but always wish they were longer and more frequent.

2 sentence book reviews, part 2

it’s a crazy week for me — a few days in colorado for an event at group publishing, and a few days in the san bernardino mountains with my family and another family. so, i think it’s time to post a week of 2 sentence book reviews!

i’ve got 44 lines for 22 books. the first sentence of each review is a summary, and the second sentence is my opinion. hope you appreciate the brevity!

part 1: five general fiction books
part 2: three general non-fiction and two young adult fiction books
part 3: four illustrated books or graphic novels and one humor book
part 4: four christian living books and three theology and ministry books

Non-Fiction

Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson
5 stars
An exhaustive, no-holds-barred biography of the man behind Apple and Pixar. Interesting to a point (and brilliantly written), my primary take-away was that Jobs’ world-changing ends weren’t worth the abusive and narcissistic means.

Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son, by Michael Chabon
3 stars
As the subtitle implies: a collection of essays on being a man, father, and husband. Chabon’s writing is distractingly luminous, as always, but the essays are uneven in insight and usefulness (meaning, some of them are wonderful).

In My Mind’s Eye, by Justin Marciano
2 stars
A collection of autobiographical stories from the author’s wild teenage years. Mediocre writing and poor editing (along with a title and cover that simply make no sense), but it still contains some stories that are fun to read.

Young Adult Fiction

Pandemonium, by Lauren Oliver
4.5 stars
This 2nd book of a dystopian future where love is considered a disease to be medically and permanently “cured,” the teenage protagonist learns life in “the wilds” outside the controlled cities, and joins the resistance. Fantastic and creative storytelling, though, in the end, a bit too exclusively a set-up for the final book (as 2nd books in trilogies often seem to be).

The Age of Miracles: A Novel, by Karen Thompson Walker
5 stars
As the earth’s rotation slows, adding complexities and politics to daily living, a female 6th grade narrator provides a street level perspective. A fantastically unique context for a coming-almost-of-age story.

2-sentence book reviews, part 2 (young adult fiction and youth ministry)

time for another wad of 2-sentence book reviews! my format: i allow myself one sentence for summary, and one sentence for opinion (easy for some, really hard for others!).

Young Adult Fiction

Cracked, by K.M. Walton
5 stars
a bully and his prey both end up in a teen suicide psych ward at the same time and learn some things about themselves and each other. great characters and voices, and a great treatment of an important subject without being either glib or heavy-handed.

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
5 stars
a cancer-ridden female teenage narrator wrestles with love, otherness, mortality, and hope. expertly written. it’s what could have been good about the twilight series, but with cancer instead of vampires.

Youth Ministry

Like Dew Your Youth: Growing Up with Your Teenager, by Eugene H. Peterson
3.5 stars
The Message writer gives advice, rooted in both practicality and theology, to parents of teenagers. written in the 70s, it’s extremely dated in most every way, while still coming from the brilliant mind and pen of eugene peterson.

99 Thoughts about Junior High Ministry: Tips, Tricks & Tidbits for Working with Young Teenagers, by Kurt Johnston
5 stars
this book is exactly what the title says it is. not intended to be a game-changer or thought-provoker, this tiny book is a perfect gift for junior high ministry volunteers.

The Middle School Mind: Growing Pains in Early Adolescent Brains, by Richard M. Marshall and Sharon Neuman
3 stars
an educator and a psychologist team up to inform parents about young teen brains and their behavioral implications. i had high hopes for this book and was disappointed, mostly with the mediocre-story-after-mediocre-story approach, but also with the dry writing.

2 sentence book reviews, part 1 (general nonfiction, general fiction, and leadership)

time for another wad of 2-sentence book reviews! my format: i allow myself one sentence for summary, and one sentence for opinion (easy for some, really hard for others!).

General Nonfiction

Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks, by Ken Jennings
5 stars
jennings (that guy who won forever on the tv show jeopardy) takes us a romp through the world of maps and those who love them. you don’t have to be a ‘maphead’ to love this book, as it’s fantastically witty and fun, while being surprisingly interesting.

Marshall McLuhan: You Know Nothing of My Work!, by Douglas Coupland
3 stars
off-beat fiction writer coupland takes a serious left turn and writes a non-fiction biography of the father of media studies. i had no idea what i was buying, and the book is well written, found myself getting extremely bored with this mcluhan love-fest.

Fiction

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
4.5 stars
the wild tale of a boy lost at sea, drifting in a lifeboat with a massive bengal tiger. this one’s been around for years, but i finally read it and loved everything but the ending.

Leadership

From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership, by Harry M. Kraemer
4 stars
basic principles of what it means to lead from values rather than goals. some fantastic points, but dry and too targeted to a CEO reader.

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, by Yvon Chouinard
5 stars
the founder and owner of patagonia tells his life and company story and how patagonia ruthlessly works to embody their corporate values, even when it means a loss of potential profit. my third read of this fantastic book (and assigned reading in my coaching program), this is an amazing case study of allowing values to be your organization’s decision-making matrix.

Anything You Want, by Derek Sivers
3.5 stars
the founder of cd baby lays out his story and the values his rocketship of a company tried to embrace. a decent case study, but–as with most books in the domino line–rambling and long on words for the points made (which is saying something, since it’s only 88 pages!).

2 sentence book reviews, part 1 (fiction)

i started something new with my book reviews earlier this year, and i liked it: 2 sentence book reviews. i allow myself one sentence as a summary of the book, and one sentence of opinion. it’s a bit like tweeting a book review, i suppose, though i’m not counting characters.

i was a bit behind on writing these, so have 22 books to review! i took a couple hours while on vacation in vegas last week to crank these out. so, while i know my blog traffic goes down when i publish book reviews, i’m giving this week to it anyhow!

today, we’ll start with 5 fiction books:

The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman, by Bruce R. Robinson
3.5 stars
Coming-of-age story of a young teen boy in England in the 50s, whose already dysfunctional family is falling apart around him. The cover is better than the book; but then, it’s an exceptional cover.

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
4 stars
Set in the future where most of life plays out in an immersive, online environment, a group of teenagers race to best an evil corporation in an MMOG with enormous rewards for a single winner. Way better than I expected it to be, I couldn’t stop reading this thing.

A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan
4.5 stars
Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of stories with loosely interconnected characters, set across multiple decades and locations, revealing each character’s obsessions and longings. Brilliant in just about every way, but left me wanting a bit more of a plot at times.

Damned, by Chuck Palahniuk
5 stars
The perpetually bubbly pre-pubescent middle school daughter of wealthy celebrities finds herself in hell and wrestles with the realities of her new surroundings while trying to understand her place in her former world. Way, way, way beneath the extremely thick and garish brushstrokes of setting and context (which will both make you laugh and repulse you), Palahniuk delivers a surprisingly gentle story of a teenage girl individuating from her parents.

An Object of Beauty: A Novel, by Steve Martin
5 stars
The rise (and partial fall) of a charismatic, people-using young woman in the world of fine art auctions. Learn all about fine art collecting and auctioning while following an interesting storyline; but it’s really a morality tale about greed, motivation and priorities.

2-sentence book reviews, part 4 (youth ministry, fiction, and ‘other’)

back in the day, i used to post a full review in an individual blog post for every book i read. after rebooting my blog in the late fall of 2009, i changed that practice to posting 3 or 4 “mini reviews” at a time — one paragraph each.

but in 2011, i’ve gotten behind, and haven’t posted any reviews. i kept meaning to, but just didn’t get around to it. so, i’m catching up. and i’ve decided to do it in a different way, since i have 27 to post.

introducing: TWO SENTENCE BOOK REVIEWS

for each review, i only allowed myself two sentences. in each, the first sentence is a summary of the book, and the second sentence is my opinion of the book. i’m still giving 1 – 5 stars (5 means “excellent”, 4 means “worth reading”, 3 means “ah, take it or leave it”, 2 means “take a pass on this one”, and 1 means “do NOT buy or read this book – it sucked, imho).

up first was 7 young adult fiction books, and second was memoirs and graphic novels. the third collection covered leadership/marketing and theology/christian living.

this last installment (for now!) has five reviews over three categories, including youth ministry, fiction, and ‘other’:

Youth Ministry

Worlds Apart: Understanding the Mindset and Values of 18-25 Year Olds, by Chuck Bomar
5 stars
(Breaking from my 2-sentence pattern, here’s the endorsement I wrote)
We — the church — haven’t had a clue how to connect with college-age students for a long time. Peek inside an average church and it shows; 20somethings are the missing decade in otherwise robust and healthy churches. Before we race off to construct lame programs and structures that miss the mark, we could all benefit from increased understanding. Thankfully, Chuck Bomar has arrived with this book that offers just that.
(note: this book releases on august 30, 2011)

Redefining The Win For Jr High Small Groups: Strategies, Tips, and Encouragement for Leaders and Volunteers, by Johnny Scott
4 stars
A quick and encouraging overview of what middle school small groups can really be like. The perfect book to give out to all your middle school small group leaders (it even fits in your back pocket!).

Fiction

Lullaby, by Chuck Palahniuk
5 stars
A poem that can kill, merely by its recitation, wreaks havoc on the lives of the few who know it. My favorite Palahniuk read so far.

Jesus Boy, by Preston Allen
2 stars
A hyper-conservative Christian teenage boy falls into a decade-long affair with the middle-aged widow of his mentor, and struggles to live a double life. With potential for so much more, this story is, in the end, just depressing – not cautionary, just depressing.

Other

Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto, by Chuck Klosterman
3.5 stars
A collection of essays on modern culture, filled with wit and occasional insight. Some interesting thoughts, but the book had been so built up to me that I was actually a little disappointed.

two sentence book reviews, part 3 (leadership/marketing and theology/christian living)

back in the day, i used to post a full review in an individual blog post for every book i read. after rebooting my blog in the late fall of 2009, i changed that practice to posting 3 or 4 “mini reviews” at a time — one paragraph each.

but in 2011, i’ve gotten behind, and haven’t posted any reviews. i kept meaning to, but just didn’t get around to it. so, i’m catching up. and i’ve decided to do it in a different way, since i have 27 to post.

introducing: TWO SENTENCE BOOK REVIEWS

for each review, i only allowed myself two sentences. in each, the first sentence is a summary of the book, and the second sentence is my opinion of the book. i’m still giving 1 – 5 stars (5 means “excellent”, 4 means “worth reading”, 3 means “ah, take it or leave it”, 2 means “take a pass on this one”, and 1 means “do NOT buy or read this book – it sucked, imho).

up first was 7 young adult fiction books, and second was memoirs and graphic novels.

this time, i’m covering leadership/marketing and theology/christian living:

leadership/marketing

A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix, by Edwin H. Friedman
5 stars
With implications for leadership of every sort (family, church, business), Friedman argues for self-actualized leaders who don’t operate from fear. Every leader has to read this book – I’m going to make it part of my coaching program.

Poke the Box, by Seth Godin
4.5 stars
You’ll never break into new territory in any arena if you’re not willing to push on the assumptions that create the norm. I wish it were longer, but I sure was inspired.

Theory U: Leading From the Future as it Emerges, by Otto Scharmer
5 stars
A deep dive into the (very spiritual) process of organizational change. I’ll be chewing on this insanely difficult read for years, it’s so rich with implications.

theology/christian living

Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, by Rob Bell
4 stars
God loves you, and it’s your choice to live in that or not. The hubbub seems overblown to me – this is a book worth thinking about.

Good News About Injustice: A Witness of Courage in a Hurting World (10th Anniversary edition), by Gary Haugen
5 stars
Haugen meticulously unfolds a biblical view of justice, weaving in compelling stories that leave the reader with no option other than engagement. This book should be on the Christian classics shelf alongside Bonhoeffer, Lewis, Nouwen and others.

The Children are Free: Reexamining the Biblical Evidence on Same-Sex Relationship, by Rev. Jeff Miner and John Tyler Connoley
3.5 stars
An attempt at a biblical defense of committed, same-sex relationships. Not well written, but worth reading, even if only to understand a viewpoint different than your own.

*******

one more set to go, with youth ministry, fiction, and “other”!

two-sentence book reviews, part 1 (young adult fiction)

back in the day, i used to post a full review in an individual blog post for every book i read. after rebooting my blog in the late fall of 2009, i changed that practice to posting 3 or 4 “mini reviews” at a time — one paragraph each.

but in 2011, i’ve gotten behind, and haven’t posted any reviews. i kept meaning to, but just didn’t get around to it. so, i’m catching up. and i’ve decided to do it in a different way, since i have 27 to post.

introducing: TWO SENTENCE BOOK REVIEWS

for each review, i only allowed myself two sentences. in each, the first sentence is a summary of the book, and the second sentence is my opinion of the book. i’m still giving 1 – 5 stars (5 means “excellent”, 4 means “worth reading”, 3 means “ah, take it or leave it”, 2 means “take a pass on this one”, and 1 means “do NOT buy or read this book – it sucked, imho).

up first — 7 young adult fiction books:

The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin, by Josh Berk
3 stars
A deaf boy chooses mainstream schooling and winds up solving a murder. There could have been so much to mine in a coming of age story for the deaf protagonist, but the murder mystery gets tacked on, feeling like a mediocre Hardy Boys plot.

Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story, by Adam Rex
4 stars
A pudgy unpopular 15 year-old gets “turned” and realizes he’ll be this way forever. Good fun, and a great way to look at the inner life of a 15 year-old (who would want to stay there?).

Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver
4 stars
The 2nd-in-command of a “mean girls” pack has to re-live the day of her death over and over, hoping to learn some lessons along the way. Great writing and good insights, though a tiny bit cliché.

Delirium, by Lauren Oliver
4 stars
In a future time when the government controls everything, and every adult has been medically “cured” of the “disease” of love, a 17 year-old female narrator wrestles with love and free will in the weeks before her procedure. A bit sappy at times (surely, teenage girls would love this), but a very well written story with more social commentary and insight than most young adult fiction.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan
3 stars
Two identically named teenage boys, with separate (and eventually, coincidentally colliding) stories wrestle with loneliness, sexual orientation and friendship. Well written, but heavy handed in its agenda.

Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly
5 stars
A suicidal American girl finds herself and redemption from her guilt while unraveling the mystery (at times, mystical) truth about an 18th century political fugitive in Paris. Stunningly written, with fascinating detail; it’s rare to see compelling young adult fiction mixed with chunks of historical fiction.

Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys
5+ stars
A Lithuanian teenage girl narrates the story of her family being carted off by Stalin on a crushing journey across Siberia. Insightful and honest; the best YA fiction I’ve read in a while.

—-

categories still to come for the remaining 20 two-sentence book reviews: memoir (3), illustrated novel (3, leadership (3), theology/christian living (3), youth ministry (2), fiction (2), and ‘other’ (1).

mini-reviews of books recently read, part 2 (of 2)

the children of divorce: the loss of family as the loss of being, by andrew root

5 stars
i’m tellin’ ya, andy root is a prolific author, and he’s cranking out a crazy-wide variety of books that youth workers (and others) need to read. in the last few weeks, he released the promise of despair: the way of the cross as the way of the church. and, i just finished reading the galleys for his upcoming release, the children of divorce (which release on august 1). first a book with IVP, then one with YS/Z, then the just released abingdon book, and this upcoming one with baker: apparently publishers want to publish andy root. and there’s a good reason why — he actually has something to say. the children of divorce is an academic book, but certainly not impenetrable. it’s a book of practical theology, bringing in the disciplines of social theory and psychology, to posit some implications on today’s children and teenagers whose parents divorce. one of the most “framing” sections of the book for me was understanding — right up there in chapter 1 — the historical shifts of marriage throughout history, and how that greatly impacts how children (and teens) perceive themselves in the midst or wake of divorce.

i was asked if i would consider writing an endorsement for this book. i never write one unless i’ve actually read the book (amazing how often that isn’t the case). but this book was easy to endorse, as it’s way-important reading for youth workers (and any parent or grandparent — or, anyone who cares about kids). here’s the wee endorsement i wrote:

Youth workers have always know that the impact of divorce on kids was substantially deeper and all-encompassing that pop culture would want us to believe; but Andy Root, thankfully, gives us the articulation for why. Reading the book felt like sitting with Root at a table set up — precariously, uncomfortably — in the 3-way intersection of history, psychology and theology. I learned more about family in the first chapter than from any other entire book I’ve read.

the glass castle: a memoir, by jeannette walls

5 stars
this stunning memoir released several years ago, and it was sitting on our bookshelf, as my wife had read it. i’d heard great things about it, and can only say they undersold it. rarely, if ever, have i read a true story that so defies the “good/bad” continuum on which we like to plot families of origin. really, jeannette walls’ upbringing is ghastly, and one i would not want imposed on even the most annoying or horrible kid i’ve ever met. but, at the very same time (or, more accurately, intermittently) there are regular moments of love and insight and adventure that lift this off that continuum. i’ve met many kids from privileged surburban homes (the opposite of walls’ experience) whose parents provide for physical needs, but spend their lives completely disengaged from their kids in every emotional and relational way. just when i was wanting to smack her parents, they did or said something breathtakingly wonderful. and just when i was thinking i might give them the benefit of the doubt (something the author seems at peace with doing, in the end), her parents become icons of off-the-charts selfishness and stupidity. it’s an amazing story in-and-of-itself; but the implications are greater than the story. most parents (myself included) fall on both sides of the bell curve; only a few fall, consistently, to one side or the other; walls’ parents are so outside the standard deviation in both directions that the bell is no longer meaningful.

the next 100 years: a forecast for the 21st century, by george friedman

4.5 stars
whoa. while one might consider it the height of hubris to write an entire book making predictions about the geopolitics of the world for the next 100 years, the dude pulls it off. what i mean is: when he predicts that russia will gain strength in the next few years, then fall apart by 2020, he offers enough great reasons and backing that it just makes sense. and when he writes about turkey and poland and japan being the three other world superpowers (in addition to the u.s.) by mid-century, it is not posited as an opinion, but, rather, a well-informed hyper-logical estimation. and the world war around 2050? wow. the whole thing started to give me a mental image of a long string of dominos stood on end, expected to knock each other down: if at some point, there’s a little deviation, the string will eventually break down. and the deeper i got into the book, and the later the predictions got into the 2nd half of the 21st century, the harder and harder they were to believe. that said, even the stuff he suggests will occur in 2080 (like, massive tensions between the u.s. and mexico that could be the beginnings of the u.s. slipping from strongest superpower status) seem based in extremely logical and, even, likely realities. fascinating book. i kept thinking of the missions implications of it all!

rides of the midway: a novel, by lee durkee

2 stars
i was looking for a novel to read recently, and found this on my bookshelf, remembering that i’d bought it a few years ago on a recommendation i read somewhere. i dove into it, and was digging it for a while. it’s a sort of coming-of-age story, of a teenage (then college age) boy growing up in the deep south, in the 70s. but i started wondering where the heck the story was going. was it a morality tale? a ghost story? a character piece? just as i started to suspect i was wrong for my early-pages enjoyment of the book, i came to a startling realization. it was a good 3/4 through the book when i realized this: i’d already read the book. now, that tells me something, if i didn’t even remember reading it (knowing it would have been in the last 4 or 5 years, at the most). and, though i finished it — because i hate not finishing books — it was like finishing a meal you are grossly disappointed with. don’t bother.

mini-reviews of books recently read, part 1 (of 2)

the road, by cormac mccarthy

5 stars
i’ve wanted to see this movie, but haven’t gotten around to it. someone told me the book was really worth reading, so i picked this up in an airport when i was on a trip without a book; and i devoured it in 24 hours. it’s a stunning, bleak, sparse telling of a post-apocalyptic landscape and the relationship between a father and the young son he’s trying to protect. the relationship between the father and son is at time heartbreaking (the lengths the father goes to, and the numbness, fear and acceptance of what shouldn’t be that overwhelms the boy), and at times relationally rich and beautiful. it’s not one of those adventure stories that makes me want to experience their adventure, to be sure; but the hope the father holds onto, in the midst of impossible challenges, lifts the story up well beyond a scenario that would otherwise be merely brutal, indulgent storytelling.

the birth (and death) of the cool, by ted gioia

4 stars
the birth (and death) of the cool offers a history of the rise of the concept of ‘cool’ (mostly through jazz; but, eventually, permeating modern culture), then suggest current realities showing it’s demise. the suggestion is that the concept of cool — aloof and above — has gone by the wayside in our culture both by being watered down and co-opted, as well as by replacement values, like earnestness and authenticity. the author is a jazz historian, so much of the story is told through that lens — but this makes sense since the concept of cool was born in that context. more interesting to me than the actual rise and fall of this youth-oriented cultural construct was viewing this as a case study for how values rise and fall within youth culture, and how those values — particularly once they’re simultaneously embraced by wider culture and by marketers — dissipate and are replaced by new (or old) values. worth a read for anyone interested in the evolution of cultural values. i was constantly, during reading, thinking about how youth culture has become the dominant culture in america (and most of the developed world). the transitory values held by youth culture get amalgamated into mainstream culture, lose their purity (if that word can be used) and lose steam; by then, youth culture has moved on, and culture at large starts to look to youth for what’s next.
(ht to bob carlton, who sent me this book)

the dude abides: the gospel according to the coen brothers, by cathleen falsani

3 stars
let me start with this: cathleen falsani’s last book, sin boldly: a field guide to grace, was one of my favorite books the year it came out. so my expectations for this next book were, i’m sure, unfairly high. i like the coen brothers movies, but haven’t seen them all. so i certainly wouldn’t qualify as an uber-fan. this book promises much more than it delivers, i’m afraid. the promise, at least as i picked it up, was a deep dive into the spiritual themes and subtext of the coen brothers movie vault. there’s some of that here, but it’s mostly summaries of the movies. i still think falsani is an author to be watched, and i’ll quickly grab whatever book she publishes next (and i have her blog in my reader, and follow it regularly). but this one was a misfire for me. it did make me want to rent some of the coen bros movies i hadn’t seen, though.

a million miles in a thousand years: what i learned while editing my life, by donald miller

5 stars
i have a handful of favorite authors where i’ve read pretty much all of their books. then there are those like don miller. i’ve only read two of his books (blue like jazz, and this one). and i want to say he’s one of my favorite authors; but that’s a stretch since i’ve only read two of his many books. i’ve also heard him speak a half dozen times, and have found him to be just the right mix of storytelling and provocative ideas for my taste. in that mix, ‘a million miles’ narrows it down: great storytelling and one really provocative idea. the provocative idea, in my own words, is that a great life worth living is one full of risk. in a sense, don applies ‘low risk, potential for low reward; high risk, potential for high reward’ to the art of living. and, since don’s a guy who is naturally disposed to rut-living and risk-averse choices, his life becomes his own case study for all the reasons any of us readers would have balk. seriously, you can’t read this book and not start dreaming of ways to reinvigorate the story of your life.