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70 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2008
I was so impressed with this book because of the many practical and Biblical suggestions contained in it. I highly recommend this to anyone! I found myself taking notes as I read to make a list of specific things I want to do right away to become a "better me." I have been a born-again Christian for 47 years of my 54 and still feel like I learned much from reading this book.

I was also relieved to find it wasn't at all boring. A few chapters in the beginning went slow for me because they didn't really apply to my life, but others may find them to be very useful and helpful. I truly enjoyed reading this book in less than a week. I can honestly say there was nothing in it that I disagreed with.

I haven't read many self-help books, but this one is GREAT! I was very encouraged by some of the things he mentioned such as:

1) Keep stretching because my best days are yet to come. Your best days are not behind you, they're in front of you. (I am 54 so this is very encouraging to me)

2) Develop a Habit of Happiness. Choose to put a positive spin on things and be happy-even in bad circumstances.

3) Remember who you are and act accordingly--child of God Almighty, redeemed, talented, creative, have potential to fulfill your destiny.

4) Find work you are passionate about.

5) Relationships are more important than accomplishments. Build others up--compliment someone each day. Be the head cheerleader and encourager for your spouse.

6) Leave places better off than they were before I came by.

7) Celebrate other people's victories.

8) Keep a running record of the good things God has done for you.

9) Keep a tender conscience by listening to and obeying the small voice that nudges you to do or not to do something so you can keep hearing God's voice.

10) Plan on a long and healthy life!

11) Keep a song of praise in your heart all through the day.

12) Smile on purpose.

13) Believe expecting--put actions with your faith.

Although I knew some of these things and even used to do them at one time, it was good to be reminded of them. My husband was right when he said Joel uses good illustrations. I'm pretty sure he had a real-life illustration for every main point in this book.

I also liked at the very end, Joel gives concise and clear instructions how the reader can begin a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. I was glad to see he included this.

--Karen Arlettaz Zemek, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry"
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109 of 136 people found the following review helpful
"You have something to offer that nobody else has." ~ Joel Osteen

Joel Osteen presents a message of hope. Through his experience as a pastor he has encountered problems people have struggled with since the beginning of time. No matter what situation you find yourself in, Joel Osteen has a spiritual solution. He draws on biblical references and his own inner wisdom and life experiences.

One of the major points in "Becoming a Better You," is the issue of how to change defeating messages into life-changing affirmations. Instead of focusing on weaknesses and faults, you learn to speak to yourself in more positive ways.

"Becoming a better you is all in how you choose to view life." ~ Joel Osteen

The section on overcoming hereditary problems with a positive mindset is enlightening and very helpful. Some very convincing stories show how humans have the ability to overcome illness just by thinking differently about the problem.

Joel Osteen encourages you to stop dwelling on negative thoughts so you can reach your full potential. In order to fulfill your destiny you have to leave your past mistakes behind you as you reach into the future by following spiritual wisdom.

Some of the areas covered in this book include: divorce, parenting, marriage, addictions, relationships, illness, lifestyle choices, goals, happiness, habits, handling criticism, peace, dreams, kindness, success, God's love, blessings, career choices, health, aging, forgiveness of sin, compassion, challenges, miracles and self-improvement through a deeper relationship with God. Each section ends with "Action Points."

"Today I will reach for something beyond where I am presently. I will actively pursue new goals, keeping them out in front of me, and expecting to meet them." ~ pg. 376, Action Point 3

The most powerful idea in this book is about how you can change your life through remembering that you are a child of Almighty God. With God's help you can overcome your problems and live the life you have imagined.

~The Rebecca Review
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38 of 47 people found the following review helpful
One of the great pleasures of this book for me was to re-read many of my favorite sermons by Pastor Joel Osteen. No matter how many times I've listened to a sermon that's included here, the Holy Spirit helped me to draw new meaning from reading it in Become a Better You.

Another great benefit was to see the structure that Pastor Osteen used to organize these sermons relative to one another. Just by seeing that structure and thinking about it after finishing the book, I better understood the process of sanctification (the way that Christian believers go about becoming more like Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit).

People who don't know Jesus as their Lord and Savior often think that Christianity is simply about accepting or rejecting Jesus. That's the first step, the step of salvation from our sins. But our relationship with Jesus builds from there through sanctification.

Those who aren't Christians often don't know what large impacts becoming saved and sanctified have. This book is eloquent testimony of how much Christianity does for you here on Earth, long before you die.

Through the many stories (many of them based on his own experiences and those of his family) in the sermons, Pastor Osteen does a marvelous job of showing that transforming experience and potential for even more improvements.

The 31 sermons are organized around seven steps which I have paraphrased as follows:

1. Seek continual improvement and larger challenges.
2. Use your faith to have a positive view of yourself.
3. Improve your relationships with others.
4. Eliminate bad habits and form better ones.
5. Accept your situation.
6. Listen more carefully to and act on God's directions.
7. Embrace life with Godly passion.

Each step concludes with a few action points that allow you to refocus and redirect your life. These are good habits.

The book concludes with a call to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Some would argue that this book is only for Christians. But if you are not a Christian and wonder what the Christian life is like, I think you'll find this book to be interesting and valuable as well.

I was struck that some people think this is a self-help book that should be filled with novel ideas. Pastor Joel Osteen is drawing on the timeless words of the Bible. I'm glad he didn't vary from what God has directed for us.

May God bless you!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2007
This book if read in its entirety and put into place for thirty days will change your life. My suggestion is to try what Joel states for thirty days and see if this will change your marriage, your family, your attitude toward your work, your outlook on life and most important, your outlook toward God.

If you put into place his suggestions for thirty days and find it does not change your life (and your outlook on life) then go back to what you were doing and write a book on how you can be a better person by following your methods. Write how you can improve your relationship with your spouse, your "kids", your employees, employer, your co-workers, etc. following what you have learned from your study of the Bible and life experience. Write how you can have a positive impact on those around you and society in general following your methods.

Joel is not stating he is a theologian nor is he passing this book off as a theology book (which I have read many while earning my Doctorate in Theology).

I read both of his books and they are excellent. However, IMHO this will have more impact on those that read it and put it into practice in their lives.

Listen for the shout!

1Thes 4:16-18
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2007
I sharply disagree with the reviews that the book is unoriginal. I've read most of Osteen's stuff and this simmers with fresh, inventive originality. From page one I was enthralled by the authors 7 steps to success.

I am not a devout Christian. I don't attend church regularly nor do I watch Osteen's weekly service on TV. But I can still appreciate this book for the vital life advice dispensed by the author.

The knock againast Osteen has long been that he preaches a "simplified, feel good" view of spirituality. Namely that God wants us all to succeed, so if you do the right thing you will be healthy, happy and successful...And there is an element of truth in that. But there's also much more to Osteen's treatise. Osteen pulls back the layers of Christianity to allow us to see how one should live to achieve that most successful prize of all - inner happiness.

"Become A Better You" is a pretty good spiritual book. It made me feel better about myself. I also recommend "Race You To The Fountain of Youth" which made me feel better about being middle aged while laughing myself silly. Funniest book of the year. Race You to the Fountain of Youth: I'm Not Dead Yet (But parts of me are going fast)

Osteen's books are all good, but this is one of his best. I heartily recommend it. It's not a great book, but it's better than a lot of the spiritual stuff on the market.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2007
"Sometimes we lose our enthusiasm because we let what once was a miracle become too common to us," Pastor Osteen writes on page 370. In essence this book helps you to recapture the excitement of life as it is lived and be thankful to God for His ongoing goodness. Thankfulness is one of the essential components of the seven keys to improving your life that the book covers. The author talks about meeting Jacques Cousteau on an international flight. Cousteau, who was in his 80s at the time, was excitedly sharing his plans for the next decade. That's the zest Osteen is selling!

In His unique way, God put within each of us gifts that will not be realized unless we make our contributions. Struggles and difficulties develop us internally so that when the time is right we will be prepared for what God has in the future. "God has a plan and a purpose for everything," he notes (p. 266). He adds on the following page, "Don't let that obstacle be the central focus of your existence."

Some of what he observes on God placing you geographically relates to what Jentezen Franklin wrote on the same subject. that God places you where you are for a reason. Be fruitful where you are. Seasons change and when the time is right, if God wills it, you will be in a more prominent place or the place you are will become more prominent because of God's work through you there. God doesn't act without reason. Placement is part of His plan.

Celebrating other people's victories is a sign that a person has grown beyond selfishness. It is a sign of spiritual maturity. Infants are the epitome of self-centeredness. Adults express concern for the well-being of other people. Pastor Osteen says sometimes God tests our attitudes by sending a promotion to someone else before we're promoted to see how we'll respond.

This book is filled with encouraging insight on how to live on overcoming life. Ancient Wisdom is presented in a fresh package. He tells you how to apply the principles that will lead to desired results, i.e., how to become a better you.
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172 of 241 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon October 15, 2007
There are few things I love to eat more than bread. I just love a good loaf of white bread. I eat it the way many people eat junk food (and, I suppose, one could argue that it is junk food). Not too long ago we bought a bread maker from a person nearby who was selling all his possessions to move back to his native Poland, having found that North American living was not to his liking. The machine worked well for five loaves but on the sixth, while the bread was being kneaded, I heard a strange grinding sound followed by a sharp crack. I opened the machine and saw that the paddle, the piece that beats against the dough, had broken. I removed the lump of dough and decided I could simply put it in a bread pan and bake it on my own. A few minutes later I pulled the loaf from the oven. It looked just perfect--golden brown on top and shaped a whole lot better than the loaves that come out of the bread maker. I eagerly cut into it, looking forward to enjoying a slice of bread. But, to my surprise, I cut into, well, nothing, really. Apparently the dough had not been properly kneaded. The loaf of bread was full of air; it was full of nothing. I had baked a crust.

As I thought about Joel Osteen's new book, Become a Better You, I was reminded of that sad, pathetic little loaf of bread because this book, like that bread, is form without substance. This is Osteen's second book, and the follow-up to his bestselling Your Best Life Now. Like the previous title, this one features a picture of the smiling pastor on the front cover and offers seven steps to a better life. Like Your Best Life Now much of the book follows this format: "The way to ______ is not to ______. Instead, you need to ______. You might say, `But Joel, I can't do ______ and ______.' I know it's hard. Rise to the challenge. Don't let yourself get beat up or knocked down. God has so much more for you." And like his previous book, this one is maddeningly repetitive. It is a handful of his sermonettes for Christianettes expanded into 380 pages of mind-numbing repetition.

The book is divided into seven parts, which together are sure to improve your life every day. "What does it mean to become a better you? First, you must understand that God wants you to become all that He created you to be. Second, it is imperative that you realize that God will do His part, but you must do your part as well." To become a better you, you must following the seven steps:

1. Keep pressing forward
2. Be positive toward yourself
3. Develop better relationships
4. Form better habits
5. Embrace the place where you are
6. Develop your inner life
7. Stay passionate about life

Each step is broken into several chapters and each part ends with a series of Action Points intended to give the reader concrete steps to tak to improve his life. It is, frankly, a lot like every other self-help book on the market today, but with one crucial difference--this one is built, supposedly, upon the Bible.

As I closed the cover on this book I began to wonder, What is it that draws people to Joel Osteen? Why do people enjoy his teaching so much? After all, tens of thousands of people attend his church each week and hundreds of thousands more watch him on television. He has become one of America's most popular pastors, even while he teaches things that most pastors would testify are inconsistent with the Bible.

I think the secret to Osteen's success is this: he teaches self-help but wraps it in a thin guise of Christian terminology. Thus people believe they are being taught the Bible when the reality is that they are learning mere human wisdom rather than divine wisdom. Osteen cunningly blends the wisdom of this age with language that sounds biblical. He blends the most popular aspects of New Age and self-help teaching with Christianity. And his audience is eagerly drinking this in.

And this raises an important and related question. What is Osteen's authority? On what authority does he base what he teaches? Christians have long understood that the only authority we have when it comes to spiritual matters is authority given to us by God through the Bible. We are committed to teaching only things that are consistent with God's revelation of Himself in the Bible. Without the Bible we have no authority. A pastor has no right to stand in front of a congregation and teach people what he believes. Rather, the pastor is to stand in front of the congregation and teaches people what God says about Himself. He bases all he does and says on this standard. In reading Joel Osteen we do not see this manner of authority. In reading Osteen we see a man who appeals to himself and to his own understanding and experience as authority. Rarely does he appeal to the Bible (66 times in 380 pages). Never will the discerning reader feel that Osteen has sought to understand the Bible first. Rather, it seems that he looks to the Bible to prove what he has already written or what he already believes. He uses the Bible, but not as a source of authority.

This is not to say that Osteen has no understanding of Christianity. Become a Better You contains some teaching that seems consistent with the Bible, and certainly there is lots of Christian terminology woven in. But Osteen teaches what is clearly a woefully inadequate theology of sin, repentance, sanctification and life. Osteen seems unable or unwilling to bring the power of the gospel to bear on life--real life. Life, he teaches, is not a meant to bring glory to God, but is meant to bring blessing and ease to the individual. He occasionally shares words that approximate the gospel, but ones that always stop short of providing the complete gospel as we find it in the Bible. "We've all sinned, failed, and made mistakes," he says, "But many people don't know they can receive God's mercy and forgiveness." That sounds fair, but he goes on to say, "As long as you're doing your best and desire to do what's right according to God's Word, you can be assured God is pleased with you." Is it enough to desire to do what's right? Is God pleased with those who do their best? "That accusing voice will come to you and tell you, `You lost your temper last week in traffic.' Your attitude should be, `That's okay. I'm growing.'" But sin is never okay, whether we are growing or not. We can never excuse sin and can never minimize it.

My encouragement to those who intend to read this book and to those who enjoy the ministry of Joel Osteen is simply this: examine his authority. If you love Joel Osteen for who he is--a charismatic, smiling, successful, wealthy purveyor of advice--you will appreciate this book. It may change the way you live. But in that end that is all just puff. It's like bread that is nothing but crust. If you are looking for teaching with true substance and for teaching that can really transform a life and renew a heart, look for a teacher who relies on an authority outside of himself--look for a person who humbly and faithfully teaches the Bible and who brings the wisdom of the Bible to bear on all of life.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2007
This past year I started listening to Joel Osteen's podcast on iTunes for FREE and was surprised to find that almost every message I've listened to has really inspired my faith and encouraged me in ways no preacher has done before. He comes off a bit awkward at first as he isn't the most talented or dynamic public speaker but his messages have unusual power (anointing). I enjoy listening to John Piper, R.C. Sproul, Joel Stockstill... but Osteen has become my favorite! I look fwd to his sermon each week! I thought he was all hype but I was wrong. I can see why God has raised him up to pastor one of America's largest churches.

Naturally, I got the new book and it's been such an inspiration! The steps look so simple but I have been underlining every other line in this book! Every page is soaked in hope. I even found myself about to weep at the thought of how much potential God has placed in me and how untapped that potential is because of my own unbelief. Joel really speaks faith into those dreams and visions that each person keeps hidden deep inside. I hope to apply its principles and glorify God in ways I could've never imagined!

I see soooo much criticism about Joel on the internet but I think people who have really given him a listen would agree that all that "hate" is not justified! His encouraging spirit and inspirational approach is a welcome change from the monotony of typical preachers around.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2007
I happened upon Joel Osteen on TV when I was going through a difficult period in my life. Even though he is from a religious tradition different from my own, I found watching him gave me a lift. His gentle take on Christianity exudes faith and hope. He doesn't claim to be a biblical scholar. My personal impression having watched his broadcasts is that his is someone of deep, simple faith, who thinka about God and talks to God as he goes about his day, and wants to share the sense of peace that he has found. His sunny personality is very attractive to people and he seems to have succeeded on TV beyond his wildest dreams. Good for him! His church is diverse in makeup. There is no religious bigotry in his message. This book which I did read brings together a number of his TV sermons almost word for word. It counsels kindness, optimism, and finding joy in life. I didn't find an emphasis on making money per se, just on pursuing happiness in a decent way. If you follow his advice it won't do you any harm and may do you considerable good.
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28 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2007
In a world where many of us have felt an intense need to distance ourselves from Christianity, Joel Osteen has breathed new life and ancient wisdom into this fractured religion. Reverend Osteen's inspired message really hits hard on the basics which have been lost in so many churches today. This is a beautiful book about being good to others, being good to yourself and about a God who is good to all of us. If you are looking for the judgmental, hypocritical, arrogant, hateful Christian message, this book is not for you. If you are yearning to learn about God's love, the foundation of true Christianity, and how to walk in the footsteps of Jesus look no further, this is the book that will change your life.
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