This book is both realistic and readable. Bregman starts with the premise that you can't get everything done. You just can't, because the time isn't tThis book is both realistic and readable. Bregman starts with the premise that you can't get everything done. You just can't, because the time isn't there. So what do you do? You stop, rise above the situation, focus on the one thing you want to accomplish over the next year, then work each day to accomplish that goal. At the start, middle, and end of each day, you pause and assess whether you focused your day properly, and you take time to pause throughout your day to make sure that each hour is focused on you being the person you want to be and accomplishing the goals you set out to achieve.
I cannot testify to how well his method works, as I am in the beginning stages of the method myself. Currently I am figuring out what my focus is to be over the next year, so I've still got some distance to go down the path he describes. However, I can see what Bregman is trying to accomplish, and I don't like it - precisely because I want to do it all. But that's what makes Bregman's book realistic. We can't do it all, and we do ourselves a disservice when we fool ourselves into thinking that we can. Bregman's goal is to help people best utilize their time once they understand this, and that time utilization is best done with a very specific focus in mind.
The chapters are very short (5 pages max), so it's an easy, digestible read for anyone. 10 minute breaks at work or a half hour at the start of your day will see you through it in a couple weeks. Highly recommended for people who want to make the most of their time, and who understand that they can't do it all....more
1) This Joffrey fellow needs a good slap on the wrist. And the butt. And a good lop on the neck with a big freaking sword.
2) DaeneMy initial thoughts:
1) This Joffrey fellow needs a good slap on the wrist. And the butt. And a good lop on the neck with a big freaking sword.
2) Daenerys loves her husband, but makes very, very, very stupid decisions.
3) Ned Stark made the mistake of trusting the government.
4) This book was way more addicting than I would have expected it to be.
I have an incredibly high standard for fantasy literature, which probably comes from the fact that I've not only read "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" multiple times, but also have read Tolkien's essay "On Fairy-Stories" and found it to be a fantastic definition of what fairy-stories should be.
This book (and series, if this first book is any indicator) is not fairy-story. It is adventure/politics/drama/soap opera. Incredibly well-written soap opera, to be sure. But ultimately, it is missing a lot of the elements of fantasy you might expect, and I think that's the way that Martin intended it to be.
That makes it less of a true high fantasy, perhaps, but nothing less of a well-written story. I plan on buying "A Clash of Kings" tomorrow.
It's most certainly an acquired taste; it's almost an anti-Tolkien, in my opinion. Tolkien explored good people doing the right thing in the face of impossible odds. Martin explores self-interested people doing their own thing in the face of nebulous threats. Few lovers of fairy-story will like this sort of thing, but some of these characters are just so well-done that I want to see what they do in this world of traitors, inbreeds, liars, and fools. I almost want to not like this book, but I actually do....more
While this is my second time reading this book, it's almost as if it is my first time. I read it six years ago during a month-long missions trip, andWhile this is my second time reading this book, it's almost as if it is my first time. I read it six years ago during a month-long missions trip, and while I remember liking it, I had forgotten a great deal of it by my second time around.
Unfortunately, the time that has elapsed between my finishing the book and this review has been significant, and my review will be short and incomplete. This is in part due to the fact that I forgot I had it listed as "currently reading," and I want to try and at least give each book that I read a fair review that gives someone of similar taste a good sense of whether to pick it up or not.
I certainly can recommend that anyone who is a fan of Lewis read it. I think that this book is an important and revealing portrait of one of the twentieth century's most revered Christian figures, and the fact that it comes from Lewis in his own words makes it all the more authoritative. From the things I heard of Lewis when I was growing up, it seemed as if his conversion was Pauline - he was a staunch atheist, he was a big personality, and he was a brilliant mind, and suddenly the force of the Holy Spirit came upon him and converted him on the spot, turning all of these skills over to the spread of the gospel and the glory of the kingdom. While all of these characteristics of Lewis' personality are certainly true, this book illuminates how each of them are less fantastic than most people think, and more circumstantial. That is to say, Lewis shows what events in his life led him to atheism, what events in his life led him to think the way that he did, and what events in his life led him to become the person he was. It de-mythologizes him, to be sure, but in Christianity we want individuals to be de-mythologized. No man is greater than any other, for all are sinners.
Lewis even goes so far as to tell us about things that he doesn't need to so that we can know just how much of a sinner he is. He confesses his intellectual sins of becoming a "highbrow," confesses his arrogance in his intellectualism, and even talks about his interest in the occult. Lewis didn't need to bring any of it up, but the fact that he did, I think, is indicative of his own awareness of his sinful nature, and reflecting on his life he could see the part that each of those times played in his eventual conversion to Christ. Should all of us be able to reflect on our own experiences so effectively (I don't think I could), I do believe we would find similar times in our own lives that had a similar effect, that God used as part of our own personal timelines to eventually call us to himself.
The most important, and most thoughtful, feature of this autobiography is the concept of joy - a happiness that supersedes all happiness, a supreme pleasure in something too grand and too fleeting for words. I think I know what Lewis talks about when he talks about joy - in my own experiences I've had those longings, those indicators that something grand resides in the background, that there is so much significance and meaning behind the things that seem so ordinary and inconsequential at the time. Lewis was stirred by a toy garden on a biscuit tin; the feeble little model reminded him of the true and unspoiled Eden. Throughout his life little things continued to open the deep wells of love for the old and strong and beautiful, and that is where this autobiography sets itself apart. Rather than a trail of sins in a man's life (which it certainly is), it is more a trail of joys, of rare moments where the bright shining glory of eternity breaks through. And I think that this book helps the believer understand why Lewis was who he was: he was a sinner, like any of us, but he was also keenly aware of those subtle, and almost undetectable, moments in life where joy burst forth. It was the circumstances of life that led him away from Christ, but it was the reality of joy that brought him back. We've all had those experiences, but I think so few of us have been able to identify them that we simply don't realize what they are when they come upon us. Lewis, by helping define and identify joy, and by helping us see how it arrives in the most unassuming ways, gives everyone, believer or not, a tool to understand the glory of God breaking through the apparent mediocrity of so much of life that we tend to take for granted or even toss aside.
If you've ever read a book of Lewis' and felt something even remotely similar to joy, and felt as though there was something more to that little thing, then read this book. It will show you that, chances are, you're probably right....more
This book is exactly what the author says it will be. I would usually give a book like this three stars (due to the fact that it is really a very concThis book is exactly what the author says it will be. I would usually give a book like this three stars (due to the fact that it is really a very concise survey without much intellectual originality), but the author made it quite clear from the beginning that this book is to serve as an introduction to systematic theology; more specifically, Christian doctrine. The author is clear, concise, and meets the very specific goals he said he would; one of the main contributions of the book is the distinction the author draws between "theology" and "doctrine." I think these are often easily confused. Plus, it really is a fantastic intro to systematic theology for anyone who has not had background in that field. A great choice for first-time theologians....more
This book is an astonishing whirlwind of romanticism. I didn't know what to expect from this book when I began reading it, but when I got to the end IThis book is an astonishing whirlwind of romanticism. I didn't know what to expect from this book when I began reading it, but when I got to the end I found that I had just plunged headlong into a hidden pool of crystalline water in the middle of a desert. It was a breath of fresh air, a relief for the soul, filling for the spirit, and just a work of happiness.
This is not an apologetics book. In fact, it might make for an utterly horrible apologetic, because Chesterton is not making an effort to defend the Christian faith in a rational way. He is instead illustrating the process that led to his conversion to Christianity, which is a perfectly rational one; however, the way that he thinks, and what he admits as "rational," would be highly contentious to any modern secular mind conditioned by rigid scientism. In order to appreciate Chesterton's reasoning, and even to simply appreciate the book, you have to have a bit of romanticism in you, a willingness to admit that some parts of this world are simply beyond comprehension and that science doesn't have the final say on the way the world works.
And not to be egotistical in any way, but I've felt like that about a great number of things but have never quite had the ability or opportunity to express it. Orthodoxy frees that voice. Orthodoxy is written in the style of a child who has experienced a great sampling of all the good and bad the world has to offer, and simply dismisses the bad as being abnormal and dispensable, while remaining wondrously transfixed at all of the good. This book revels in mystery and wonder, and reminds Christians - especially in the last paragraph - that our standard is not sorrow but joy, not jadedness but wonder, not contradiction but paradox, not omniscience but mystery. Whether this will do anything for the non-Christian reader, it's hard to say. If this does nothing for the Christian reader then someone needs to work on having an imagination....more
This short but dense little book is a transcribed Aquinas lecture (the same lecture as Chisholm's "The Problem of the Criterion"), with the topic coveThis short but dense little book is a transcribed Aquinas lecture (the same lecture as Chisholm's "The Problem of the Criterion"), with the topic covered being that of the seeming conflict of God's sovereignty and aseity against the existence of such absract objects as universals and propositions.
Plantinga, with the usual artistic intricacy he brings to philosophy, covers the topic beginning with the negative: He answers those who say that the question cannot be discussed (Barthe and Tillich's influence being prominent) and demonstrates that the very affirmation undercuts the argument. He then addresses Aquinas' conclusion that God is identical with his properties and shows that such identity commits us to some pretty absurd conclusions about God. He follows by demonstrating how utterly unsatisfactory and ultimately irrelevant nominalism (the belief that there are no properties) is in discussing the question of God's nature, and for almost the rest of the book wrestles with Descartes' intuitions about God's power over even necessary truths such as mathematics, both criticizing and defending Descartes' attempt to answer the question.
(On a side note, Plantinga does a great job of showing just how intelligent and sensitive Descartes was to preserving a high view of God - a credit to the man, I think, because his view as represented by Plantinga showed that Descartes was more willing to cast aside the truths of his beloved mathematics than to adopt a view that would compromise God's sovereignty.)
Finally, in the last ten pages of the book, Plantinga offers his own view about the nature of God: He does have properties essential to himself, independent of himself, that exist along with him but not caused by him. But this does not compromise the sovereignty of God in any way (at least not in the way that Scripture defines it), because it does not require us to hold any kind of view that limit's God's power over creation or us.
Overall, I found this book to be a wonderful "philosophical devotional"; it is a work of philosophy that is a devotional for men to think, weigh, and consider what it is for God to be sovereign. And rather than compromising anything, I found the book to be an affirmation of truth: God is so interested in truth that even he cannot violate it, just as he cannot be unrighteous or unforgiving or unjust. This is an important book for anyone interested in the philosophy of religion, and I would say that it is important for any Christian in general....more
This book is not one of the books that C.S. Lewis is widely known for writing, and it is likely due to the fact that this book is unlike most of C.S.This book is not one of the books that C.S. Lewis is widely known for writing, and it is likely due to the fact that this book is unlike most of C.S. Lewis' other books: It is technically a work of fiction, but feels like an anthology of disconnected letters that muse on the theology of the church and of prayer. A cursory glance of some of the other reviewers tells me that many people seem to have expected the work to be a sort of theology of prayer, only to find that it is nothing more than an individual's musings on the nature of communication with God.
This is not a theological work; it's far more like a formal diary of Lewis' thoughts on prayer. If I remember correctly, Lewis intended to originally write a sort of sequel to "The Screwtape Letters" where two angels were communicating with one another; instead he realized that we are far closer to the devilish than the divine and that he could not write a work that involved communication between two holy creatures. So, instead, he wrote this book: fictional letters between two friends considering what it is like to communicate with the God who made them both.
I found the book (this being the second time I have read it) to be refreshing. It's not any kind of in-depth theology (though I enjoy that immensely), and it's not a heady philosophical treatise on the nature of the soul's interaction with the immaterial. It is simply the intuitive thoughts of a seasoned scholar and churchman who has lived an enormously experienced life versed in blessing and cursing and love and loss. This book was published only a few months before Lewis died, and it really reveals the state of his heart at the time.
There are a lot of refreshing insights into what Lewis considered prayer to be, as well as some slightly questionable practices that Lewis openly admits to (that is, praying for the dead; his reasoning is sound, but the practice is nevertheless theologically questionable, though not outright wrong). The book is, more than anything, a conversation piece that invites other believers who struggle with prayer and communicating with God (Lewis admits that prayer is a burden for him; isn't it somewhat encouraging that a man of Lewis' caliber could feel the same way as most of us about this?) to join in considering what prayer is by practicing it more and more. This book is not an apologetic; it is for people who already know the Lord, but have trouble talking to him. Approach it as Lewis' contribution to the ecclesiastic community about the nature of prayer and praying, and you will learn from it and see an aspect of prayer through very different and very unique eyes....more
There is nothing I could say about this final installment of the Lord of the Rings that has not been better said by far better writers; all I will sayThere is nothing I could say about this final installment of the Lord of the Rings that has not been better said by far better writers; all I will say is that the enormous triumphs and heavy sadnesses of the story are reflected in Tolkien's writing style. Tolkien, more than any other writer I know of, can effectively communicate the moods that he talks about in his stories; Tolkien's writing is rich with adverbial substance and lyrical aesthetic, and he knows how to take a boring, run-of-the-mill description and make it sound like a line from a poem or song. This story is the pinnacle and payoff of the other two books, and you feel as if the drudgery of the journey you've endured until this tale has been worth it to find yourself in the midst of the events that constitute the culmination of the War of the Ring. The end of this tale has been a long time coming, and Tolkien delivers the payoff....more