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The Butterfly Effect: How Your Life Matters Hardcover – August 29, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 661 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Hailed by a New YorkTimes reporter as “someone who has quietly become one of the most influential people in America,” Andy Andrews is a best-selling novelist, speaker, and consultant for the world’s largest corporations and organizations.He has spoken at the request of four different United States presidents and recently addressed members of Congress and their spouses. Andy is the author of three New York Times bestsellers. He and his wife, Polly, have two sons.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 1 edition (August 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1404187804
  • ISBN-13: 978-1404187801
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.4 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (661 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

What could this one man possibly have to say that is important enough for the Commander of the Allied Air Forces to ask his help? Why did every senior leader the United States Air Force has in Europe and the Middle East recently assemble in one room at one time to hear him speak?

Who is this man, that he would walk the golf course with Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez as she played her last tournament as a touring professional? Why was he invited to spend an afternoon with General Norman Schwarzkopf and his son, who was about to depart for college? What would he be asked to discuss with a ninety-one-year-old Bob Hope alone by the swimming pool in the entertainer's back yard?

Hailed by a New York Times writer as a 'modern-day Will Rogers who has quietly become one of the most influential people in America,' Andy Andrews is an internationally known speaker and novelist whose combined works have sold millions of copies worldwide. He has been received at the White House and has spoken at the request of four different United States presidents.

Andrews'best-selling book, The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success, is an international sensation, remaining on the New York Times bestseller list for four and a half months and being translated into nearly twenty languages. Featured on ABC's Good Morning America as a book-of-the-month selection, The Traveler's Gift is the stunning story of one man's search for meaning and success in life by traveling back into time and conversing with seven historic individuals. Its message of hope, faith, and perseverance is transforming thousands of lives worldwide every day, spawning a teen version, The Young Traveler's Gift; The Traveler's Gift Journal; a home study audio program, Timeless Wisdom from the Traveler; and life-study curriculum's in high schools, mental-health organizations, and prisons nationwide.

Andrews lived a relatively normal life until the age of nineteen, when both his parents died, his mother from cancer, his father in an automobile accident. 'I took a bad situation and made it much worse,' Andrews says with a rueful smile, referring to choices he made during this tragic period of his life. Within a span of several years, the young man found himself literally homeless (before that was even a word!' he says), sleeping occasionally under a pier on the gulf coast or in someone's garage.

It was at that time when Andrews asked the question that would focus his search for what would ultimately affect millions of people. The question? 'Is life just a lottery ticket, or are there choices one can make to direct his future?' To find the answer, he first went to the library. There, over time, he read more than two hundred biographies of great men and women. How did they become the people they were? he wondered. Were they simply born this way? Or were there decisions made at critical junctures in their lives that led to such success? The young Andrews finally determined that there were seven characteristics that each person had in common. 'What will happen,' he mused, 'if I study these seven common denominators and harness them in my own life?

The rest is history. 'The Seven Decisions,' as he calls them, were the engines used to carry Andrews' life in a different direction. And twenty-plus years later, these same Seven Decisions became the outline around which he built the story of The Traveler's Gift and the basis of his PBS Special.

- Andy's Latest Work -

Since the success of The Traveler's Gift and Mastering the Seven Decisions, Andrews has released an array of well-received literature, including the New York Times bestseller The Noticer. Offering a fresh and insightful perspective on how people can change their view of the world, and their place within it, The Noticer has succeeded tremendously in furthering Andrews' prevailing message of finding hope in the face of adversity. Based on the remarkable true story of Andrews' own life, the book teaches its readers that, "Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective."

Released in the same year, Return to Sawyerton Springs features Andrews' trademark wit and humor as he weaves tales around an enchanting town that can be found in the hearts of those who long to take a deep breath, relax, and find time for the humor and meaning in everyday life. "I dare you to read the first chapter aloud to a friend and not fall on the floor laughing," said Mark Victor Hansen, creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. By reflecting on the seemingly ordinary aspects of everyday life, Andrews reveals them for what they truly are--extraordinary aspects of something much greater.

Released in 2010, The Heart Mender has created a stir in literary circles. Elegantly blending a riveting story, extensive research, and a powerful message of hope, the novel is a true adventure set against the warm waters and white sand of the America's Gulf of Mexico during World War II. Lieutenant Josef Landermann is a German U-Boat officer betrayed and left for dead. When he washes ashore in a sleepy coastal town, he looks to a young war widow for survival. Robert Silvers, executive publisher of The Saturday Evening Post calls The Heart Mender an "unforgettable experience."

2010 also saw the release of two more books, The Butterfly Effect, a book exploring a scientific theory based on physics within the context of our own lives, and The Boy Who Changed the World, Andrews' first children's book. The Butterfly Effect shows readers that every action, however big or small, matters. Andrews accomplishes this by introducing historical examples that illustrate how one person can set off a spark that, in turn, ignites the lives of unforeseen others.

The Boy Who Changed the World illustrates this same principle to children, enabling them to see how they can have a meaningful impact on the world around them. It is full of vibrant, full-page illustrations by Philip Hurst and chronicles the true story of the young Norman Borlaug--the boy who grew up to change the world. Children will be delighted by the illustrations and excited by the story as they learn that they too can change the world, just like Norman.

On April 12, 2011, The Final Summit, the long-awaited follow-up to The Traveler's Gift, was released. The Final Summit finds David Ponder, the hero of The Traveler's Gift, at a completely different time in his life. Now older--and with the wisdom of the Seven Decisions he discovered in The Traveler's Gift--David Ponder and a cast of historic figures have been charged with the task of discovering the one principle that will save all of humanity from dire consequences. And the answer they seek is only two words.

Andrews' latest book and New York Times Bestseller, How Do You Kill 11 Million People?, arose from a question Andrews asked himself several years ago: Where do we being to find common ground in regard to what we want (or don't want) for the future of America? From the question came a challenge: Is it possible to write something that doesn't use the words Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, yet conveys a message with which everyone could agree? Can it be written in a concise fashion allowing anyone to read it, clearly understand the message, and be empowered in less than fifteen minutes? How Do You Kill 11 Million People? is his answer to those questions.

Driven by his own personal moving story, Andy Andrews communicates to his audience through the heart--an uncommon style in today's media-driven world. Arguably, there is no single person on the planet better at weaving subtle yet life-changing lessons into riveting tales of adventure and intrigue--both on paper and on stage.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I want to say up front, some people are going to be disappointed by this book, because they are going to measure it by volume, not by content. THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT by Andy Andrews can be read cover to cover in fifteen minutes, but I have read 1,000 page tomes that did not contain a fraction of the message and meaning of this tiny book.

If you have seen Andy's DVD, The Seven Decisions, this is the same message Andy presents regarding the butterfly effect, specifically where he talks about the actions of Col. Chamberlin and Norman Borlaug. These are both incredible stories everyone should hear. I have used both of these stories to close training meetings and they are always met with tremendous emotion.

I want to take just a moment to place my own little spin on the butterfly effect. Things happen for a reason. God has a Divine plan that is beyond our comprehension. Have you ever known exactly where you were going but for some reason took a wrong turn? You've made this same journey 1,000 times but for some reason today, you weren't paying attention and turned left instead of right. What were you thinking?

Some people might slough this off as nothing, but I don't believe that. What if you had turned right as you always do? Perhaps by turning left, you avoided an accident and in that accident a young girl might have been injured or killed. Whose to say that young girl might have one day given birth to the person who someday cures cancer? By making a wrong turn, that tragedy was avoided.

Now Andy's message here is much more deliberate and is more centered on the importance of every action we take, or don't, but the concept is the same. Actions matter. Actions make a difference and sometimes a much greater difference than we will ever be aware of.
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Format: Hardcover
Andy Andrews' book The Butterfly Effect: How Your Life Matters is one of those small gift books that will take you about 10 minutes to read (if that), but that has an interesting message that will tweak your viewpoint on life. You've likely heard of the "butterfly effect", where it's said that the beating of a butterfly's wings can stir air modules that will stir other air modules, until you end up with a hurricane in China. While taking that scenario literally might be hard to accept, the underlying truth is valid... a small action taken at one point in time can ripple out and have enormous implications.

Andrews tells the story of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, a college professor who was also a colonel in the Union Army during the Civil War. At the battle of Gettysburg, he was told that he had to hold the end of a 80,000 troop line strung out across miles. His platoon repelled a number of Confederate attacks, but attrition took its toll and they were without ammo (as well as most of the soldiers they started with). As the Confederate soldiers reformed for what would be the final attack, Chamberlain found out that all his commanding officers had been killed, and if he failed to hold the line, the Union Army would likely have to surrender or face mass slaughter. Faced with the choice of doing nothing or doing something, he ordered his ragtag band of soldiers to fix bayonets and charge. The Confederates, shocked at seeing an offensive being launched at them, figured the Union side must have been reinforced, and started to retreat. In short order, they ended up surrendering to Chamberlain, and he carried out his orders to hold the line.

Andrews then plays the "what if" scenarios out... what if Chamberlain had given up?
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Comment 60 of 61 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By H.Gray on August 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I love to flip through gift books so I jumped at the chance to review another book for Thomas Nelson Publishers. The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews is a small, hardcover, coffee table style book with the reminder that every person, living, passed on, or yet to be born, has value. It's an interesting short story about the ripple effects of our actions. The author uses historical events to illustrate the fact that every life is meaningful, and often in ways that each person may never know in their lifetime. The fact that life matters and that no action, seemingly large or small, goes unnoticed by the universe is the recurring theme.
There are two quotes that I found particularly moving:
"Every single thing you do matters. You have been created as one of a kind. You have been created in order to make a difference. You have within you the power to change the world."
Who wouldn't feel inspired by that, right?
Here's a follow-up:
"Know that your actions cannot be hoarded, saved for later, or used selectively."
I found this book to be an inspiring and thought provoking read and it is a book I would feel comfortable giving as a gift.
1 Comment 105 of 111 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
To be honest with you, I didn't really pay much attention when I requested this book, so I was a little shocked when I received it and saw just how short it was. I literally read through the entire thing in less than 20 minutes. Even though it was such a quick read, and I had already heard many of the stories it talks about before, it was a very inspirational book. It's one of those that you find on someone's coffee table, and after reading quickly through it you feel like you have a slightly different, and more hopeful outlook on life. Just like Andy's other books, this book will make you see things in ways you may not have considered before. It tells us that even though we may never be in the spotlight, the smallest things we do can have the biggest impact. That's what the butterfly effect is. To think that something as small as a butterfly could cause a hurricane seems impossible, but this book will make you reconsider the impossible. It'll be sitting on my coffee table from now on!
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