Thursday, June 28, 2012

Book Review: When Work & Family Collide by Andy Stanley

I received this book a while back from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing in exchange for my unbiased review, but haven't had time recently to read it. Well, I finally got around to it and am very glad I did. It's a very short read - only 133 pages in a small package, but a potent one.

The subtitle to When Work and Family Collide is "Keeping Your Job from Cheating Your Family", and was previously released as Choosing to Cheat (I like the new title much better). The author's premise is that people (often men) spend too much time at work in order to get ahead, be successful, or achieve some goals or dreams they have but in the process they sacrifice, or cheat, something else more important and lasting - family.

The book is broken into two parts: the internal processes that desire success over family relationships, and how to change this so that it's reversed. As with other Stanley books, this one has an easy-to-read style that feels more like a conversation than a book. It's full of stories of people's lives, which I greatly appreciated because it enabled me to see parts of myself in each of them, allowing me to evaluate myself from different perspectives.

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As such, the book is also very practical - he doesn't spend much time in abstract theory land, although it's not without those critical reflections. He invites the reader to think in specifics, not settling for vague and empty promises that can easily be broken, which was very convicting - but in a good way. Drawing upon first chapter of the book of Daniel for an example, Stanley uses Daniel's model of change throughout Part Two to identify how to make changes. The following steps are simple yet incredibly insightful, wise, and mature:

  1. Make up your mind
  2. Create a plan
  3. Set up a test
Stanley explains each one in some detail and with some useful tips on navigating through difficult situations, making his advice that much more priceless. As a bonus, the back of the book contains study guide questions for small groups who might use this book together.

Overall, this is a little book that can have a big impact, and one I will probably skim through every so often to keep myself and my schedule in check with what my true priorities are. I would easily recommend this book to Christian friends who struggle with imbalances in their life or to purchase and donate to your church's library. It's definitely a great tool for pastors and counselors to access to help the people they serve.

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