Sometimes You Win—Sometimes You Learn (book review)

Sometimes You WinIf you’re like me, you grew up being able to quickly finish the phrase, “Sometimes you win, sometimes you… lose.” But John Maxwell gives us a far better way to finish this well-worn phrase in his latest book Sometimes You Win—Sometimes You Learn: Life’s Greatest Lessons Are Learned From Our Losses.

As in his other books, Dr. Maxwell shares very candidly about his own missteps, and the lessons he learned from them. He also brings in the insight from other friends and authors who have also learned the value of making mistakes and learning the hard lessons from them.

What always amazes about John Maxwell’s writing is the depth of insight. On the surface you would think there wouldn’t be much to say about learning from our losses except another well-worn cliche, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” But that try-again spirit is only one part of the learning process. John shows us the value of:

  • Humility
  • Reality
  • Responsibility
  • Improvement
  • Hope
  • Teachability
  • Adversity
  • Problems
  • Bad experiences
  • Change

Following through on all of these aspects leads to the most important step in the learning process: Maturity.

The insight, historical stories, personal anecdotes, and wisdom of other been-there-done-that people are woven together with John’s unique teaching style to give us a book that is highly beneficial. I’d especially recommend this book to parents, coaches and mentors.

I am a Center Street book reviewer.

Finding Purpose Beyond Our Pain (book review)

I’ve been a fan of Dr. Paul Meier for quite some time, and his latest book – coauthored with Dr. David Henderson – kept me cheering. Finding Purpose Beyond Our Pain explores seven areas that prompt some of the deepest soul-searching and some of the stickiest questions that humans face.

There are a couple of things I admire about Drs. Meier and Henderson. One is their understanding that humans are a tri-part being: body, soul, and spirit. Those that try to bring help for the deep pain that we all experience by addressing just one area are missing the mark. There is physical pain, emotional pain, and spiritual pain.

I’ve often found that humanists who just want to address the physical and emotional symptoms, but ignore the spiritual symptoms, offer only short-sighted answers. On the other extreme, some in the church world want to offer spiritual solutions for everything, and completely ignore the physical and emotional causes. Either extreme is unhelpful to someone who is hurting. Drs. Meier and Henderson do an excellent job addressing all three areas.

The other thing I’ve always appreciated about Dr. Meier, and now his new coauthor as well, is his accessible writing style. In other words, although these are incredibly well educated men, they write in a way that everyone can understand. And more importantly, their writing style allows for ready application.

This book is divided into seven sections of four chapters each. Each section diagnosis an area of pain, looks at the causes, the possible responses, and ultimately the purpose beyond the pain. In every section the physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions are addressed. These sections cover the most common pain-filled struggles we all face –

  • Injustice
  • Rejection
  • Loneliness
  • Loss
  • Discipline
  • Failure
  • Death

As a pastor, I have to deal with people who are experiencing past or present pain quite frequently. This book has enlightened me in some biblically-rooted, practical ways I can point to the purpose beyond their pain. But even if you are not a pastor or counselor, this book will be a great resource to have on your shelf. Whether you have lingering questions about the pain you have experienced, or you simply want to be ready to help a friend or loved one who may be battling one of these areas, you will appreciate Finding Purpose Beyond Our Pain.

I am a book review blogger for Thomas Nelson.

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