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Saturday, October 27, 2012

"One Big Thing" (Phil Cooke)

TITLE: One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do
AUTHOR: Phil Cooke
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: Thomas-Nelson, 2012, (186 pages).

This book begins with two big questions to drive home one big thing. The two questions are:

  1. "What am I supposed to do with my life?"
  2. "In a hyper-competitive, cluttered, and distracted world, how do I get noticed?"
Both of these questions intersect to drive home one big thing, to discover what exactly are we born to do. It is about focus. It is about being able to recognize what is important and what is not. It is to know oneself, and to be purposeful according to one's knowledge of self. Cooke shows us that without intentional living, we let culture define who we are and what we ought to do. Without a sense of destiny, we will miss the opportunity to make a choice, and instead let ourselves be vulnerable to the whims and fancies of chance occurrences. This is a culture of clutter, of distractions, and very limited attention span. One of the biggest downside of such activism is a sense of meaninglessness. That is why Cooke argues for the need to have a sense of direction, appropriate influence, and a healthy sense of personal identity. Once this is appropriated, one can begin the journey to living the person we really are. We learn to let priorities be driven by values, to learn to take responsibility for the choices we need to make for ourselves, to map out our own future, to see the difference between jobs and our vocations, and to learn to harness the power of modern communications, according to our own make up.

My Thoughts

The way the author writes is captivating. He poses good questions to hook the attention of readers, to enable them to internalize the question into a personal one. He suggests several ideas, in the hope that at least one will hit home. He reads the culture at large and reminds readers that all that glitters out there is not necessarily precious or worthwhile. What is more important is to recognize our true sense of self and worth, and having done that, to learn to live in a manner that blesses others. There are at least three ways to benefit from this book. First, it is a mirror to look and to reflect on our own lives. Far too many people are living according to the values of the world, chasing after material dreams simply because everyone is doing it. As a mirror, it makes us think more seriously about what is more important for us. Second, it is a guide to help us discover who we are and what we are called to be. This sense of being will determine what we can do best. In our world, it is easy to react according to what the world hits us with. We need to learn to sift through the mass of information, to determine what is central and fundamental, and what is peripheral, and having done that, to make a conscious choice for the necessary. Third, it is a book to help us live well, that we can benefit others. Yes, no one is an island. No one needs to live only for self. We need to discover the role we play as a community. For people who feel uncomfortable about self-improvement, lest one becomes too individualistic focused, I like to offer some encouragement. Improving oneself is not wrong. Learn to see self-improvement as a way to bring positive energy and good to the community you are in.

This is one book that makes readers feel good about themselves, and having done that, to make one sit up and do something with their lives. The practical steps are easy to understand. The challenge to step out of our comfort zone is more difficult to practise. If readers are able to overcome their resistance to change, and to live on purpose and overcome the obstacles to change, they will benefit most. This book is strong in calling one to take the first step. It is not so useful when the going gets tough, or when discouragement steps in when the results are not forthcoming. That is why this book may give us the kick start. For Christians, we need the Bible and the Holy Spirit to help us navigate the marathon.

Rating: 4 stars of 5.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> 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<http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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