Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Books for October 2011

Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative CallingCulture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling by Andy Crouch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a great read, and challenging in its content. Crouch offers a view of how everyone is engaged in the process of participating in, sustaining, and (at least in some way) cultivating culture. He lays this out in a manner that is clear and understandable, both in the abstract as well as in how each of us might more fully take up our role in participation.

One thing I appreciated about the book is the constructive critique of “worldview” as an approach to engaging/changing/shaping culture. Worldview, Crouch argues, will at best make us effective critics and thoughtful philosophers, but it won’t go very far to helping us constructively participate in the change of culture. He helpfully shows where worldview is useful, but also where it is in need of supplement.

One critique I would offer is that the whole approach is almost entirely based on individual participation in culture-making. Where is the church as a community, an institution, a body, in this process? I would like for Crouch to speak more to the communal aspect of culture-making; I’m sure he has much to say on that regard.

Overall: I would call this a must-read for any thoughtful Christian today.

Poke the BoxPoke the Box by Seth Godin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not a bad book at all; I think I got it free or cheap, so it certainly was worth the price!

Obviously, this is a collection of Seth’s blog posts related to the general topic of getting off the ground with “shipping”— he metaphor or catch-all for getting to a final, delivered end-point with some creative or marketing endeavor. It may be as simple as selecting all of the posts tagged “ship” from his blog, and you would have the content of the book. Which is to say, it’s good content, worth reading, and helpful to have collected all in one place— but certainly available in other formats without price (as long as Seth’s blog archives are available, at least.)

The content, though, is good: challenging thoughts about getting somewhere with goals and creativity; analysis of some of the major obstacles that often stand in the way of “shipping”; suggestions for workflow and focus. It’s a good read for anyone who is running a business, trying to write, or in any other way has a final output toward which it is easy to procrastinate.

View all my reviews

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