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The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer That Changed the World

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,604 ratings  ·  267 reviews
The history of Guinness, one of the world s most famous brands, reveals the noble heights and generosity of a great family and an innovative business.

It began in Ireland in the mid 1700s. The water in Ireland, indeed throughout Europe, was famously undrinkable, and the gin and whiskey that took its place devastated civil society. It was a disease ridden, starvation-plagued
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Hardcover, 273 pages
Published October 12th 2009 by Thomas Nelson Publishers
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  1,604 ratings  ·  267 reviews


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Erik Bonkovsky
Jan 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
I love Guinness and I've been to Dublin twice. I also love God. But this book just wasn't that good. The writing is cliched and saccharine. The conclusions are unfounded and sweeping. I'd say it's a missed opportunity because the subject is good.
Kate
Apr 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: food-and-drink
(One and a half stars.)

I'd never heard of this author before; I purchased the book based solely upon its title, which is something that I rarely do. As a huge fan of both God and Guinness, I thought I was in the target demographic. Within a few pages, however, something began to smell funny.

A quick Google search revealed that Mansfield has a reputation as a highly politicized writer. (Mike Huckabee loves him, Jon Stewart does not.) I was puzzled by his early admission that he was not a Guinness
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James Korsmo
Thanks to Thomas Nelson for the review copy. This book is, as its subtitle proclaims, "a biography" of a beer. But, it is obviously more than that. In short, it is the biography of a family and a company whose history is seasoned with devotion to Jesus Christ and to the conviction that faith can be lived out beyond the walls of a church. In this interesting and readable journey through 250 years of history, Mansfield writes an engaging chronicle of how this family's faith shaped the ethos of a c ...more
Eric Parker
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wow, I flew through this book. I thought it was so interesting and engaging. It just provides some high-level details on the lives of different Guinness family members and their works, but I think that's part of what kept me moving along so quickly. It didn't get lost in the details. Some of my favorite things I learned:
-The same strain of yeast used in the original Guinness beer is still used today (~300 years later)
-Guinness was passed down from father to son for 250 years
-Guinness ran some re
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Brian
Jun 14, 2010 rated it did not like it
Meh... Neo-con claptrap disguised as cut-rate history. The title makes you think the book will be a lot cooler than it actually is. Move on; nothing to see here.
Bob
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Summary: A history of beer, of the Guinness family and the history of Guinness from its beginnings, and the faith that that motivated the social goods pursued by many of the family members who led the company, and others in the family line.

Unlike the author, who came from a family of teetotalers, I came from a family that enjoyed a good beer in moderation. Most of the beers I grew up with were American beers and often my response to them was “meh.” It wasn’t until recent years that I discovered
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Aaron
May 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Aaron by: Nate Speidel
I read The Search for God and Guinness because of its claim to present an argument towards the compatibility of drinking beer and a Christian life. In a pros and cons, historical facts, and precedence sort of way I wanted to read a book that argued for the compatibility of alcohol in a Christian's daily life. I was let down. It started off strong in this vein though. In fact, I should have just stopped reading after the Introduction because Mansfield does a great job of presenting the historical ...more
Tina Williams
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I needed a light and interesting read and this fit the bill. The story of beer and one family's influence that is far-reaching because of the founding faith of Arthur Guinness. They were mindful that they could make the working man's life better by paying living wages and offering affordable housing and classes to improve everyday living.

If only business of today could operate this way. At the core, the family held a belief that work was good and sacred. Service to God and man was not limited t
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Daniel Butcher
Sep 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: beer
Stephen Mansfield in The Search for God and Guinness combines two topics that many may find opposed, beer and God. Mansfield provides an overview of the long holy history of beer and its importance from ancient to early modern society. He overturns the myth of the establishment of the Guinness brewery as a God ordained antidote to the social ills of 18th century Ireland, but instead shows the determination of one religious man in Arthur Guinness’ establishment of the St. James Gate brewery in 17 ...more
John Collier
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
While it is impossible to truly separate the reviewer from the review, I believe that a book review should be focused on the book rather than the reviewer. That being said, I think a little context is in order. I do not drink beer or other alcoholic beverages. I do not promote the use of beer or other alcoholic beverages. I pastor a church whose official position is to not partake in any alcoholic beverages. The book I am about to review is about beer and the family that made this brand of beer. ...more
Mark Nenadov
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
A pleasant and quick read about a prolific stout. It gives a sympethetic but realistic window into the faith, life, and business of the many generations of the legendary Guinness family. Connections to Hudson Taylor and John Wesley are revealed. A solid heritage of extraordinary benevolence and using a business to take care of one's employees and the broader community is revealed. Mansfield skilfully avoids getting bogged down in details and preserves a lively pace. It hits many of the notes a g ...more
Logan
Aug 16, 2019 rated it liked it
It had a very interesting history of the Guinness family in its early days and some good tidbits about brewing here and there but I found the seeming lack of objectivity or balance to be disappointing. By the author's own admission in the bibliography, the corporation has sued authors for libel and he was able to avoid that by focusing on the social good Guinness has done and the faith of some of the family members. Which is all fine and good but made some of the conclusions and descriptions que ...more
Jake
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
So it turns out that Guinness is a 260 year old cross between Chick-Fil-A and Google.
I really liked this book, in six chapters it explores the history of beer, the brewery and it's employee benefits that rival modern tech companies, the Guinness family and their faith and benevolence, things that aren't widely known in the U.S. The acknowledgement section at the end also tipped me off to a few more books on Guinness history that I'll check out later.
Jacob
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Such a good book. The story about the Guinness family is inspiring. Still have an itch to find out a little bit more about the beer. I will take the authors advice and check out "Guinness:The 250 Year Quest for the Perfect Pint".
Thomas Kidd
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a perfect beach read for me - well-written and quickly paced. This is really two books. It is a good historic background on the Guinness family. But it uses that framework to be an excellent book on the Christian doctrine of vocation or calling.
Steven Mandeville
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not a "beer guy" but great read for the faith and management dynamics of the company. Easy interesting read.
Marsha
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
A biography of Guinness the beer, and the family legacy.
Non-fiction
Loved it. Drink more Guinness, it's good for you.
Joseph McBee
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting book about my favorite beer and the family that made it. This book is more than just a history of the brew, it's also a testimony to how God uses business and works through industry to accomplish His will and to bless individuals, cities, and even the world down through the generations.
Will
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite an interesting and fascinating history of the Guinness family and beer. It is a wonderful look at how God used a company to do His work in the world.
Michelle Angelosanto
I really enjoyed learning about the Guinness story, especially after visiting St James Gate last year. The intro by the author soured me on him and his opinions a little, but overall very interesting stuff. What I liked the most is hearing how the Guinness family cared about their workers and their community. Very timely to read during this pandemic 😬
Jonathan Lu
Jul 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting book that starts about the history of beer and the story of Guinness, relating the great founders' legacy to that of compassion and care (originally very Christian principles, which the religious right no longer value). The ancient Sumerians viewed beer as divine - as one modern brewer says it's not about brewing, but setting the conditions for fermentation, which he sees as the process of god. Beer played heavily into early religious texts and even Christianity itself. Contrary to p ...more
Dan Glover
Nov 07, 2011 rated it liked it
This is the biography of a beer. I've never read the life story of a beer before. I have, however, read several biographies of great people and have always come away with an even greater appreciation of and respect for them, having learned more about them and how they impacted the times in which they lived. Like any good biography, the story of Guinness has bolstered and deepened my admiration for the tall, dark and handsome stout. I appreciate and respect it more now knowing its humble beginnin ...more
Sarah Carter
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
“It is testimony to the importance of beer in their story that the brewery was the first permanent building the Pilgrims constructed.”

Looking at history through the role beer played reveals how important it was to many countries, including America. Beer was often the safe drink since it was boiled and water was easily contaminated. Beer was brought on ships that came to explore the New World. One of the longest brewed beers – Guinness – holds a very special role in the history of Ireland and the
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Adam R. Clarke
Mar 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
A Review by Adam B.R. Clarke

Note:
Disclosure of Material Connection: This book was received free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program.

To be honest, when I saw The Search for God and Guinness on Thomas Nelson’s Book Sneeze program, I was a little skeptical. I had no idea the social impact that the Guinness family had on society, nor did I know the strong moral code their company would portray to, first, the people of Dublin and eventually, the
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Shorel
Feb 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My SB colleagues will perhaps cringe that I've read a book with this title. However, since the book didn't come with a complimentary pint, I shall be forgiven :)

This is perhaps the best book on business done in and for God that I have read in awhile. The legacy of the Guinness Beer company, including its impact on employees and society is amazing.

"The company did not drain a man and expect the church or the state to rebuilt him again. They invested. They paid high wages, offered every type of e
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Brian Cain
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book about great people

This book does a fantastic job of detailing the journey of the Guinness family and their impact in Ireland. Well written and thoroughly researched. Top notch read.
Jouni Koskinen
Sep 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: beer, audiobooks
This is not a book about the beer. This is a clumsy hagiographic fairy tale of a very rich and very christian family who were really good people because jesus and free enterprise.

There's a long bit about improving bad worker conditions in early 1900's. This apparently happened because of good christian morals of the company. The reason why the conditions were bad in the first place obviously wasn't the fault of the same damn people with the same damn morals. The lesson is that rich people are go
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Darren Anderson
Excellent book. Easy to read. It's sad that our recent Christian ancestors chose to live without the joys of beer... especially Guinness! All due to a twisted theology. We Christians need to return to a truly biblical understanding of the role of alcohol in our lives and see it as the gift it is. I think this is starting to happen.

I love the spirit of charity and consideration for workers that Mansfield emphasizes in this book. Certainly ahead of the times in many ways.

The Guinness line, the b
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PJ Wenzel
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books of the year

This is the type of book that when it ends, you don't want it to. There is so much wisdom in these pages, that you want it to go on and on. The story is fascinating, the people are interesting, the lessons learned are invaluable. This is the kind of book that needs to be read, digested, and reread. I'm surprised not having heard much about this in recent years, because it ought to be a modern classic - in the biography section at least. There are business lessons
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Kenneth
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I gave this book five stars, not because it did perfectly what it set out to do. I gave it such a high rating because I think we need more books of its kind. Stories of men and women, common folks, who excel at secular work to the glory of God. Especially jobs that many today would claim to be forbidden for Christians--like brewing beer.

It is amazing to find how much influence was had by this family of brewers on many of the luminaries of 18th through early 20th Century Christian history--like M
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Stephen Mansfield is a New York Times bestselling author and a popular speaker who is becoming one of the nation’s most respected voices on religion and American culture. He is also an activist in a variety of social causes.

Stephen was born in Georgia but grew up largely in Europe due to his father’s career as an officer in the United States Army. After a youth filled with sports, travel, and misc
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“Beer, well respected and rightly consumed, can be a gift of God. It is one of his mysteries, which it was his delight to conceal and the glory of kings to search out. And men enjoy it to mark their days and celebrate their moments and stand with their brothers in the face of what life brings.” 2 likes
“G. K. Chesterton: “The most extraordinary thing in the world is an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children.” And” 2 likes
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