Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Fred factor : how passion in your work and life can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary

by Mark Sanborn,
Doubleday, 2004

Sanborn's encounter with the original Fred - an unusual postman who went out of his way to deliver exceptional service to the customers on his route - provides the basis for this book, which describes (as the subtitle indicates) "how passion in your work and life can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary." And let's face it - who doesn't want to be considered a phenomenal human being?

After outlining the four "Fred principles" and providing other examples of real-life "Freds," Sanborn gives a blueprint, including three simple difference-making strategies, for becoming a Fred yourself. Success is built on relationships, so he offers seven Bs of relationship building that are easy for anyone to implement. A 10-point crash course in creating value for others, and boom, you're well on your way to transforming your life and your world.

If you're an employer or boss, you'll want to read the section on developing Freds in your company; otherwise, you can skip to the end of that part - "Go Spread Fred" - and conclude with the last section of the book, in which the original Fred summarizes what motivates him to do what he does. Those same points become our motivation for emulating his example.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is dissatisfied with his quality of life and/or employment. As usual, though, your results will depend on more than reading - they will depend on the actions you take thereafter.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Against all Odds: My Story

by Chuck Norris with Ken Abraham
Broadman & Holman, 2004

Chuck Norris tells the story of his life from birth to the present (2004). A "blue baby" at birth, he certainly had good reason to be blue, living with an abusive, alcoholic father until his mother finally walked away from the marriage when Chuck was fifteen. After her divorce, his mother met and married Chuck's stepfather, George, who became a positive, encouraging figure to her three boys.

Immediately after high school, Chuck enrolled in the military, and it wasn't long before he was serving in Korea. While on base, the men had three options for filling their spare time - drinking to excess, taking academic classes, or studying martial arts. Not being a drinker or academic, Chuck opted for the martial arts, and the rest - as they say - is history.

Norris talks about his martial arts schools; his fights; his friendships with the likes of Bruce Lee, Steve McQueen, Arnold Schwarzzeneger, and George Bush; getting married too young and his divorce years later; his remarriage;  life as a father; and his involvement with charitable organizations, including the one he founded - KICKSTART - to help youth in impoverished communities. A believer in Christ, he also talks about his journey of faith and how it has transformed him over the course of his life. He admits that he has been far from perfect, and points to God's grace and work of salvation.

I found this book really interesting and well-written. If you enjoy celebrity biographies and are looking for a change from the usual sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll, you will find it here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Reshaping it All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness

by Candace Cameron Bure with Darlene Schacht
B&H Publishing Group, 2011

Sharing personal experience and advice from Scripture, Candace (of Full House fame) encourages the reader to get physically and spiritually fit. In fact, she says that physical fitness depends on spiritual fitness, and that a robust faith life precedes weight loss and healthy living.

Over the course of eighteen chapters, Candace describes her own journey to physical and spiritual well-being, offers practical tips that help readers achieve their personal goals in these areas, responds to fan mail, shares inspiring quotes from Scripture and elsewhere, and provides healthy recipes from her home kitchen. Along the way, you'll learn more about Candace and her family, and glean some helpful parenting and Christian living ideas as well.

The book is easy to read and well laid out, and I highly recommend it for purchase. Though some of the information is repetitious, those of us on the path to fitness often need to hear the same thing said over and over again before we get it!