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Friday, March 16, 2018

"101 Questions You Need to Ask in Your Twenties" (Paul Angone)

TITLE: 101 Questions You Need to Ask in Your Twenties: (And Let's Be Honest, Your Thirties Too)
AUTHOR: Paul Angone
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2018, (256 pages).

Many teens in high school when asked about what they want to do with their lives, the typical answer is: "I don't know." Even those who declare some area of interest soon find themselves choosing other options soon after. High school students change electives and concentrations. Undergraduates move from course to course. Some prefer to simply go earn some money while thinking about what their second job would be. Then, there are relationship matters where young people reaching puberty would try to make sense of where there hearts and emotions lead them to. What if someone could guide them or mentor them? What if questions themselves are more useful than answers? This is what this book is aimed at doing. Instead of trying to give or spoon-feed kids about what they need, let them discover for themselves. This book of questions fit in nicely because they are designed to prompt Millennials into active thinking. For many of them are often less open to people telling them what to do. They prefer to find their own answers. They simply need a guide by the side instead of sage on the stage. Paul Angone is that guide by the side. According to Angone, there are four major concerns about people in their twenties, and other age groups as well.

  1. Adulthood matters: "Thriving in the big picture and small details of adulthood"
  2. Career matters: (How to build a career that is meaninful?)
  3. Relationship Matters: (Dating, marriage, networking, friendship,mentoring, etc)
  4. Calling and Signature Matters: (Uncovering where you passion, purpose, and calling collide)
A total of 101 questions are posed, each categorized in one or more of the above categories. Before entering into the questions, the author shares about his own growing up stage. He knows what it means to be confused, to be searching for the unknown; to wonder what life is about. He has also encountered people who kept themselves busy so that they could avoid the personal questions about life, calling, and significance. The key belief in this book is this: "To find good answers, we must first ask good questions." A good question is a problem half-solved. The trouble with many is that they are so busy trying to find answers without asking the right questions in the first place. The questions in this book have been tested to deal with the many transitions we face. Angone is spot on when he says that too many of us have been preoccupied with trying to settle into the "new normal" and fail to enjoy the transition moment. He writes: "Transitions are not simply a bridge to the next important season of your life. Transitions are the most important seasons of your life." So, the mood of the book has been set right from the start. Don't be afraid of not knowing what to do or where to go next. Let the questions help us to discover our journeys, our contexts, our circumstances, and ourselves!

The questions are phrased to cajole our hearts to face our doubts and our fears. There are those that asks us what we are hiding from.; why we are afraid; our insecurities; social media pressures; and the expectations both real and incredible. He is well informed about the social media scene as well, showing us not only questions but tips on what we could do and how we should manage our social media interaction. For instance, asking "Should I really post this?" sets us thinking about why we want to do what we do. We learn the difference of theory from reality as we form different relationships from time to time.

I love the part about the benefits of feeling lost, where the author highlights six learning points to address our inner concerns, turning a crisis into a learning opportunity. When we shun challenges and avoid them like a plague, we do ourselves a disfavour as many people learn most when they face challenges directly. Angone also takes us further by asking the question behind the question. Why we ask the question of us? What is the question behind the question? Here is a sample of some of the most thought-provoking questions:

  • Question about Passion: "When have others seem me the most alive?"
  • Question about our Big Story: "What are the pivotal plot points of my story?"
  • Question about Bigger Questions: "What is my significant why?"
  • Question about our Fears: "What are 3-5 of the greatest tragedies that I've had to overcome?"
  • Question about Anxiety: "What is my anxiety telling me?"
  • Question about Calling: "What are my problems and personal pain revealing to me about my purpose?"
  • Question about Career: "What do I need to do while I wait to do what I was born to do?"
  • Question about Relationship: "How do I stop networking and start relationshipping?"
  • Question about Perspective: "What is Love?"
  • Question about Fairness: "Should I be asking Is-Life-Fair?"
  • Question about Being Down-to-Earth: "Am I dreaming big and being faithful in the small?"
  • ...

On and on, the questions ought to keep one on the edge of the seat because they are so personal and self-revealing. There are several pages of wisdom in dark blue background that drive home a gem to remember. They are encouraging and assuring to the one in doubt.

My Thoughts
First, I want to commend the author for such a valuable resource to help teens and young adults work through their doubts and uncertainties. As they go through life from school to college; and from graduation to the working world; chances are they are filled with cautious idealism. Cautious because they have been constantly bombarded with fake news and false hopes out there on the Internet. Idealism because they all have this common characteristic: Wanting to make this world better than before. The questions have been phrased in a catchy way, that they grip the heart's attention instantly. One could say: "Finally, someone has put into words what I've been asking all along!"

Second, with this resource, there are many different possible applications. One can use it in church groups, Sunday School classes, or Christian gatherings to help people grow deeper in helping one another grow and understand what it means to struggle through life when in the twenties. It can also be used as a conversation starter in sharing sessions. Those of us called to teach can use this or portions of it to relate to younger audiences. It could also spark a sermon series for youth services. Those with the gift of writing could write about them.

Third, while the audience of the book is explicitly to those in their 20s or 30s, there is no limiting other age groups from using the book. As long as one is engaged with people of these age groups, it would be an important window into the contemporary issues they face. Each chapter is kept brief Key points are in bold, with occasional wise words offered throughout the pages. Who knows, some of the questions might even interest older folks among us, especially those of us who had not really answered the questions in our teenage years. Well, it is never too late.

Paul Angone is passionate about reaching out to Millennials. Stemmed from his own struggles when in his 20s, he has researched, spoken on, and wrote about the biggest challenges and issues surrounding young people. His objective is to help others discover their passion, purpose, and career choices. His website is AllGroanUp.com which has been read by millions in 190 countries.

Rating: 5 stars of 5.


This book has been provided courtesy of Moody Publishers and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Conrade, thank you for this amazing review of 101 Questions! I'm honored.

    Would you be up for leaving this review on Amazon as well. A review of this caliber would make a huge difference. Thanks Conrade!

    - Paul Angone