In the Introduction to this wonderful book, author Chris Lowney describes it as "a how-to book for the business of being human...." He rightfully chides other "how-to" efforts for chopping up life into disconnected segments: work-life, love-life, spiritual-life. In contrast, he promises to present a strategy for living life as an integrated whole, informed in its entirety by "a mighty purpose."
The genius of Lowney's book is that he has cast it in a form that perfectly fits the function, the "mighty purpose," to which the book itself is devoted. A book focused simply on the presentation of ideas and strategies would have betrayed Lowney's fundamental message that in order to live well, we need to live large, with a big-picture view of the world into which we have been born, and with a transcendent sense of purpose of bettering that world. It is, Lowney claims, only such a large-scale vision that allows us to make small-scale decisions in a way that gives our life coherence, imparts to us a sense of peace, and in the end, makes our lives truly human.
Strategies organized into bullet-points, the stock and trade of how-to books, would have been insufficient to convey the message that Lowney is trying to convey. To be sure, the book has enough bullet-points to satisfy the organizationally obsessed among us. But what it mostly has is stories, lovingly, reverently, occasionally even poetically told, about real-life, flesh-and-blood people whose lives exemplify the strategy for living to which Lowney is trying to lead us. The profound and simple humanity of the people Lowney introduces us to--janitors, high school teachers, nuns, parents, lawyers--makes the best case possible for his vision of heroic living. Reading about these people made me hunger to construct a life that is as humane as theirs. I'm willing to bet that it will have the same effect on you.