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VINE VOICEon February 7, 2008
I was inspired by this book immediately, right from its introduction titled "Living the dash." The authors use that phrase to refer to the dash between the birth and death dates on headstones. The dash represents a lifetime. What a person does during that dash, the authors point out, is completely in his or her hands.

The authors challenge you -- literally -- to make the most of it, to open your eyes and live each day with enthusiasm and meaning. The first page has a contract to sign called "The One-Month-To-Live Challenge" which states "I commit with God's strength to live the next thirty days as if they are my last so I can experience life to the full!" There is a spot for your signature and a spot for a friend to sign as a witness.

The rest of the book serves as a day-by-day manual for your monthlong conversion. There's a chapter for each day. Each one opens with two inspiring quotes (from people as varied as Helen Keller, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Maya Angelou) and includes questions to help you examine your life from a particular perspective. At the end of each chapter are three ways to act on the topic, for example making a list of five things you'd change about your life if you only had a month to live, or going outside and looking at the stars.

Though "One Month to Live" is filled with Biblical verses and stories, its message, and approach, can easily work for those of any faith. Living life to the fullest: What a terrific goal! As George Eliot wrote, in a quote from chapter 8: "It is never too late to be what you might have been."

Here is the book's table of contents:

Day 1: Introduction -- Living the dash

Principle 1: Live Passionately
Day 2: Roller Coaster -- Riding the Big Dipper
Day 3: Time Squared -- Spending your most valuable resource
Day 4: Power Surge -- Connecting with the ultimate source
Day 5: Oxygen Mask -- Breathing first
Day 6: Monkey Bars -- Risking greatness
Day 7: Dreamsicle -- Thawing out your frozen dreams
Day 8: Kick Start -- Living life full throttle

Principle 2: Love Completely
Day 9: Heart of the Matter -- Relating and not waiting
Day 10: Ocean -- Exploring the depths of forgiveness
Day 11: Everest -- Scaling the obstacles to unity
Day 12: Boxing Ring -- Resolving conflicts by fighting fair
Day 13: Sandpaper -- Smoothing the edges
Day 14: The Gift -- Thanking those around you
Day 15: Last Call -- Revealing your heart

Principle 3: Learn Humbly
Day 16: Star Power -- Discovering who you were meant to be
Day 17: GPS -- Finding your direction
Day 18: Hurricane -- Withstanding the winds of change
Day 19: Metamorphosis -- Changing from the inside out
Day 20: Earthquake -- Building a foundation that lasts
Day 21: Mulligan -- Playing with integrity
Day 22: Road Signs -- Experiencing a personal miracle

Principle 4: Leave Boldly
Day 23: Sandcastles -- Creating a lasting legacy
Day 24: Seeds -- Planting for the future
Day 25: Sticks and Stones -- Using eternal building materials
Day 26: Collisions -- Staying the course when your life crashes
Day 27: Starfish -- Making a world of difference
Day 28: Footprint -- Leaving a lasting impression
Day 29: Game Over -- Dying to live
Day 30: Game On -- Living it up
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on February 9, 2008
Like many people, I've spent many years plodding along in a dutiful way--working hard, taking care of my family responsibilities, and thinking wistfully about the dreams I had when I was young about what I'd do with my life. With each year, those dreams get more and more distant, until they disappear on the horizon.

Reading One Month to Live has inspired me to rekindle those lost dreams. Sure, it's important to work hard and take care of our families, but it's also important to live the life we were made to live. Through the four principles discussed in the book: Live Passionately, Love Completely, Learn Humbly and Leave Boldly, I can now see new ways to bring my faded dreams back to life.

The book provides tools for starting to do little things that make a big difference. It's not about having to reinvent yourself or do a major overhaul of your life, it's about loving the people around you more pro-actively, doing things that you are passionate and excited about and serving others in the way that creates a lasting legacy.

I've read a lot of self-help and feel-better books. This is the first book that shows me how to move from where I am today toward a better, more fulfilling place. It is full of great examples that encourage me to create examples in my own life.

We all want to live life without regrets. At last we have the encouragement to start doing that today.
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on February 29, 2008
Upon first getting this book, I was not sure that it had the capability to truly "change my life." However, I am following a different path now. I have found the ability to forgive those that I could not before, my job seems to have a higher purpose for me (and I look forward to going to work now), and I feel as though I am living more stress-free now than I have since I was 10. I have bought copies for ALL my family members and it's incredible how close this book can make an entire family. It teaches us to cherish so much that we once took for granted.
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on February 9, 2008
One Month to Live has inspired and challenged me to focus on what's most important in my life; my wife, my kids, my relationships with others - my relationship with God;Jesus Christ.

Each chapter is full of "Make it count" thoughts and action items that really drove me to focus on how to put my words and intentions into actions. This is an excellent book for anyone who is looking for purpose and clarity on what this life is all about and how to make best use of the limited time we have. I have already purchased several copies for friends and family!! A must read for sure!!
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VINE VOICEon April 18, 2008
Samuel Johnson once wrote that, "Nothing focuses the mind as well as the prospect of being hanged in a fortnight." Perhaps the same could be said of the prospect of knowing that you had but 30 days to live.

Such is the premise of the book, "One Month to Live." If you knew you had but one month to live, how differently would you live. How would you spend your time or break your current routine? How would that clarify your values?

Co-authors and husband and wife team Kerry and Chris Shook collaborate to offer a day by day series of reflections on how one might use these thirty days. The focus is one strengthening one's relationship with God and Jesus Christ. The intended audience is clearly Christian.

"One Month to Live" is a provocative call - somewhat like Rick Warren's "Purpose-Driven Life" - that forces you to reflect on what your priorities are and what lends meaning to your life. Whether you are Christian or not, the exercise is worthwhile. (The book lends itself quite well to small group study clusters.)

A limited time horizon of 30 days forces us to shed ballast in our lives, focusing on those relationships and activities that are truly meaningful. In the end, we don't know if we have 30 days or 30 years left on this earth.

What we do know is that, in a sense, we are all terminal.
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on February 12, 2008
Who would have thought from a simple 30 Day Challenge that your life could be saved from a potentially fatal heart attack. When my wife and I took the thirty day challenge we both decided to shed a few pounds and work on a nutritional plan together to get into shape and have more energy in our mid-life. We planned a great anniversary vacation to Maui. After losing over a hundred pounds together I suffered a minor heart attack that the doctor said could have been fatal or with permanent heart damage had I not lost the weight due to the one month to live challenge. The whole experience has restored my passion for life. Instead of just existing we have discovered how to really live with meaning and purpose in each moment. Read the book for yourself and take the challenge. It could very well save your life. I'm thankful I did.
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on February 9, 2008
Living the dash has taken on a new meaning for me and my family. We now make every decision by thinking first - if we only had 30 days to live - what would we do? I think readers will find this book very helpful in prioritizing their lives and making the most out of everyday. This book will also help guide you to a deeper spiritual walk with Christ.
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on January 16, 2012
I have to say I was disappointed in this book. The premise sounds good, but I did not find it to be the "life changing" challenge the cover claims.

As a Christian wife and mom there were many thinking points within the 30 days that I found interesting or insightful. However, the entire book felt like one giant motivational speech, which is not really my kind of thing. Yes - having motivation and encouragement to change our lives to live more purposefully and Godly IS important and good. However, the approach -I felt- was stale and routine. The book is divided into 4 "principles," and I believe each section could have been half as short and still effective in its purpose. Each chapter of a section kept REPEATING itself, using a different metaphor or story. I found this tiresome and completely un-motivational!

I did glean some WONDERFUL reminders - such as the need to let go of past regrets and grievances; telling God how I -really- feel; and this book reminded me to speak to Him throughout the day because HE does care about the "little things." But as I said before - much of the book is a repeat of itself, so the reading and journaling got very stale and went in circles simply because no real "new" insights were being introduced on a daily basis.

Perhaps this book has been really great for some people, there have been raving reviews about how it really changed a person's outlook on life. I cannot deny their claims because we are all different people. I would say it IS worth a read. Even if it is slow and repetitive, there are gems of insight to be picked out and put to use.

***I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review, all views and opinions are my own.
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on April 28, 2008
One Month To Live by Kerry and Chris Shook This book is not what I thought it would be from the title. I had expected to be reviewing a book that talked to cancer or other dying patients to uplift them. However, this is a book for everyone, and it is excellent. The authors advise us to imagine what if we had but one month to live... how would we spend our time? This really makes you put your priorities in order. The challenge is to live this way for thirty days, doing only what really matters to you, spending quality time with family and friends, drawing closer to nature, God, or your higher power, and cherishing each moment. The book is one we should take to heart and live by, because this is not a dress rehearsal, and no one knows how many more days he or she has...each day must be treasured and lived to its fullest. A terrific guide.
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on January 13, 2013
"One Month to Live: Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life," by Kerry and Chris Shook, is a thirty-day challenge as follows: "If you only had one month to live, what would you change."

The book is separated into 4 parts: live passionately, love completely, learn humbly, and leave boldly. The chapters are designed as daily readings through a 30-day month. Both Kerry and Chris Shook write together, and this is what they conclude:

"You have been given an extraordinary gift--your life. You have an exceptional calling--to be the very best you God created you to be. Your goal is to unwrap this gift and use all that you've been given in the pursuit of what matters most--loving God and loving other people." (page 221).

Unfortunately I found the majority of the book tedious, shallow and boring. The anecdotes and stories seemed contrived and fake, and did not bring any substance to the book whatsoever. The best section of the book was the last, and in the last two chapters you find the bulk of what is truly important--Jesus Christ as the ultimate example.

The significant problem with the book, as with all self-help books, is that it assumes that if you were to live your life as though you had a month to live, everything would be better. Jesus is the perfect example of how to live our lives, and yet, He died a tragic death betrayed by all those he came to save, and all those he loved. The authors would have been better to focus on how best to find joy in every circumstance rather than always asserting that life itself can be better.

Generally I wouldn't recommend the book.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
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