The blurb from Richard Branson’s new book, Screw Business as Usual:
Can we bring more meaning to our lives and help change the world at the same time? Richard Branson, at his brilliant and motivating best, reveals how with his exciting new vision for the future. It is time to turn capitalism upside down - to shift our values, to switch from a profit focus to caring for people, communities and the planet. With inspiration for everyone, Screw Business As Usual shows how easy it is for both businesses and individuals to embark on a whole new way of doing things, solving major problems and turning our work into something we both love and are proud of.
There’s no doubt that my daughter Eloise’s arrival into my life has brought way more positives than negatives. There has definitely been one downside though. And that is reading time.
We’re on holiday this week and, before Eloise, a holiday would always mean lots of reading time. Four days in though and I’ve read a measly two chapters of Game of Thrones (a book I’ve been reading for over two months already).
The reality is that there is absolutely no day time opportunity to read with a toddler running around non-stop, endlessly demanding attention and throwing tantrums the minute you fail to respond quickly enough. So that just leaves the evenings. But by then you’re typically exhausted and it’s so much easier to put on the TV instead.
I do miss reading as much as I used to. There’s something wonderful about getting lost in a great novel or simply immersed in a great non-fiction book. So if anyone has any tips for maximising reading opportunities during this stage of life, please send them my way!
I recently finished reading Eugene Peterson’s memoir ‘The Pastor’ and thought I’d jot down a few of the things that stood out to me.
I have to say that I enjoyed reading this far more than I expected to. As you can imagine from Peterson, it is beautifully written and I was fully engaged from the moment I started reading. He has a compelling story to tell and it is overflowing with insights from his many, many years of pastoring a local church.
There is far to much material covered in the memoir to review fully here and, strictly speaking, this is less of a review and more of a reflection on the things that particularly challenged or inspired me personally.
I loved many of the stories and insights Peterson shared about the Sabbath. In particular I was challenged to make sure that we don’t lower the meaning of the Sabbath to that of merely being a day off or just rest. We all need regular times of Sabbath in the sense having dedicated time to (re)connect with God and enjoy uninterrupted time with him. Rest is part of Sabbath but it is more than that; it is intentional time with God (in whatever way that works best for each of us individually).
Sensing Peterson’s pastoral heart for the people in his church community really stood out to me. For someone like me who has a more pioneering gifting and nature, this was a good reminder and challenge for me that caring, loving, supporting, and praying for the people in my own community is not an optional extra and cannot be delegated!
Messy and slow progress
Reading the memoir was also a helpful reminder and encouragement that people rarely change in an instant. Progress is nearly always gradual and full of ups and downs along the way. It is very easy to be impatient for the change we want to see in people. And whilst it is a good thing to want people to become all that they can be, change can only happen in harmony with each individuals own willingness and at their own pace.
Immersed in scripture
I loved seeing how immersed Peterson’s life was in the scriptures. As someone who has translated the entire Bible, this shouldn’t be surprising, but it was wonderful to see that the scriptures hadn’t become some dry academic study. You get the beautiful sense that they were alive in and through his life. And living the scriptures is a big part of his message. Reading the memoir gave me a fresh challenge to continually immerse myself in the scriptures and for that I am very grateful.
The final thing I’ll reflect on from my reading of Peterson’s memoir is his humility. There is no sense of arrogance or ‘look what I’ve achieved’ in the memoir at all. Throughout the whole book you don’t feel he’s trying to show that he’s better or different from anyone else. He comes across as normal and down to earth and human. And that is something I think all leaders would do well to aspire to.
I’ve just read the preface and opening chapter to Rob Bell’s controversial new book ‘Love Wins’ that’s available from this coming Tuesday. I won’t say a lot until I’ve read all of it, but there are a few things that are immediately jumping out to me.
First, Rob is putting onto the table for discussion the questions that - like it or not - millions of people are asking. Whether we agree or disagree with whatever conclusions he may or may not reach, we should applaud his courage for not hiding away from what I think is THE question right now - both inside and outside of church.
Second, I can already tell I’m going to really enjoy reading the rest of the book. I don’t expect to agree with everything (I’ve yet to read a book where that’s the case) but I’m looking forward to embracing this conversation, both in my own mind and with the community of people I share life with.
Third, I don’t think there’s much to be afraid of. As Rob himself admits, there’s no new theology that has never been heard before in this book. So if you’re an anti-Rob Bell pastor, don’t waste your time telling people not to read it. Why? One, because you shouldn’t be afraid of people reading different view points from your own. Better to read it with them, than force them to read it in secret surely? And two, because, if you haven’t realised it yet, the more you tell people not to read something, the more they’ll want to. :)
Anyway, that’ll do for now. I’ll share more thoughts along the way.
Seth Godin has a new book out today called Poke the Box. You should read it. It may just be the nudge you need to take charge of your life and go all out in accomplishing something amazing.
Annie Downs works at the Mocha Club, a nonprofit based in Nashville that raises money for the developing world by working with touring musicians.
Last year, she called her boss and said something she had never said before. “I’ve got an idea, and I’m going to start working on it tomorrow. It won’t take a lot of time and it won’t cost a lot of money, and I think it’s going to work.”
With those two sentences, Annie changed her life. And she changed her organization and the people it serves.
You’re probably wondering what her idea was. You might even be curious about how she pulled it off.
That is the wrong question.
The change was in her posture. The change was that for the first time in this job, Annie wasn’t waiting for instructions, working through a to-do list, or reacting to incoming tasks. She wasn’t handed initiative, she took it.
Annie crossed a bridge that day. She became someone who starts something, someone who initiates, someone who is prepared to fail along the way if it helps her make a difference.
Imagine that the world had no middlemen, no publishers, no bosses, no HR folks, no one telling you what you couldn’t do.
If you lived in that world, what would you do?
Go. Do that.
In Curation Nation, Steven Rosenbaum reveals why brands, publishers, and content entrepreneurs must embrace aggregation and curation to grow an existing business or launch a new one. In fact, he asserts that curation is the only way to be competitive in the future. Overwhelmed by too much content, people are hungry for an experience that both takes advantage of the Web’s breadth and depth and provides a measure of human sorting and filtering that search engines simply can’t achieve. In these shifting sands lies an extraordinary business opportunity: you can become a trusted source of value in an otherwise meaningless chaos of digital noise.