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85 Reviews
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130 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book That Challenges You to Think and Evaluate!
Some earlier reviews commented on the difficulty of the book's writing style. Personally, I found it to be mentally and spiritually challenging! I am concerned about how our hurried society has dictated not only how we live, but also how we think. God has given us a brain - we must use it!
Admittingly, the book is profound. However, when read devotionally ( a...
Published on March 2, 2003 by Michael Taylor

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better thought of us a series of essays than a building argument
I read this book with a bunch of guys and it generated some good discussion on the nature of calling, vocation, and work. At times the book was frustrating because the connections between one chapter and the next were not obvious and didn't seem to build. It reads more like a collection of essays than a coherent argument, and probably works better as a slowly read...
Published on July 22, 2011 by Joshua D. Reitano


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130 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book That Challenges You to Think and Evaluate!, March 2, 2003
Some earlier reviews commented on the difficulty of the book's writing style. Personally, I found it to be mentally and spiritually challenging! I am concerned about how our hurried society has dictated not only how we live, but also how we think. God has given us a brain - we must use it!
Admittingly, the book is profound. However, when read devotionally ( a chapter a day like "My Utmost For His Highest"), the reader is encouraged to think about what was read and how to apply the chapter to everyday living.
I personally thought some of Guinness' better points were:
1. Be devoted to Jesus instead of your service to Jesus.
2. Be inner-directed by God than other-directed by the
opinions of others (what God thinks matters most!).
3. God calls us to a life of faith.
4. Deliberate spend time in solitude with God.
5. Glorify God in the ordinary things of life.
6. A sense of calling keeps us focused when modern-day
life threatens to tear us apart.
7. Taking God's call seriously means we will pay the
price of being abused and treated as fools by those
who do not understand.
All in all, an excellent read! To use the old saying: "be ready to put on your thinking cap" when reading this one!
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captures the wholistic philosophy of God's call on the Xtian, January 21, 1999
This review is from: The Call (Audio Cassette)
If you are looking for a "how-to" book you might be disappointed. Instead, Os Guiness gives us something much deeper, and so much better. He gives us the "Why" of The Call.
Approaching his subject with the important understanding that all Christians are called by God to serve Him and the Body in some special way Guiness uses stories like a great mural to show how others in Christianity and outside have answered a "call" in their life and found meaning, purpose, joy and left their indelible mark on history.
What I appreciated so much about the wonderfully written book is that Guiness uses story not only to put call in history but to call us to greater things. The book is not "dumbed down" to the modern reader like so many other Christian books, but instead he woos the reader to do the work of thoughtful reading and consideration.
The book is laid out so that each chapter is a complete thought and should be digested one a day with questions at the end of each chapter to ponder.
This book will be especially helpful for people at crossroads of life, career or at important life stages. Thank you Os!!!
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every chapter challenged and inspired., September 20, 1999
By A Customer
Os Guinness does an excellent job weaving examples of individual lives and truth in such a way that the reader not only understands God's call to Himself, but longs to sense and live it. My own copy is dog-eared, underlined and annotated with Scriptural references which obviously served as the springboard for his principles. He spurred me to read more Christian biographies, examine my commitments in light of God's call and look at the world from God's perspective. I was truly saddened to reach the end.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Radical, challenging and inspiring, March 28, 2000
By A Customer
More than any book I have read on the subject, The Call recognizes the radical nature of Christianity and challenges and inspires readers to not settle for anything less. Mr. Guinness' main influences in thinking and writing on the subject are Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Oswald Chambers, and so this book could also have been titled "The Cost of Discipleship" or "My Utmost for His Highest".
This book does not give trite how-to's on what it means to be a follower of Christ, but rather examines the Biblical mandate to surrender ourselves to God's call in all aspects of our lives: in everything we do, in all that we own, and in who we are, all the time.
Mr. Guinness has obviously spent years thinking about and studying this subject (including prayerfully considering his own call), so the book is written on a very personal level. Mr. Guinness also peppers each chapter with relevant life stories from historical, literary and artistic figures to illustrate his points and show in what ways "the rubber meets the road".
Finally, I appreciate his suggestion to read the book as a devotional - one chapter a day, instead of huge chunks at a time. This ensures enough time for the reader to reflect on the profound points made in each chapter.
When I finished reading this book, I decided I need to read it every few years. This book should be a classic!
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb and Profound Thinking!!, December 6, 2003
By 
Gregory Nyman (Winchendon, MA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life (Paperback)
"The Call" is one of the first books I've read by Os Guinness, and it was well worth it. He poses some interesting and provocative topics, all related to what our purpose in life could be. This is not an easy task, but he poses the question by introducing each chapter with lives of such historical figures as Yehudi Menuhin, Francis of Assisi, Picasso, Andrew Carnegie, and others.
There are 26 chapters in this book, and the author recommends reading a chapter a day. Of course, if you choose to read more than a chapter a day, you can get a little overload on the thinking process. And this is a Thinking Book. The second half of each chapter then applies the truths to which Mr. Guinness is referring to the Christian's walk with Christ. He refers to those who follow Christ not as "Christian," but "Followers of the Way," which I found to be incredibly refreshing.
Again, this is not easy reading, but overall, he credits many people with his premise, which is also biblical, and his references to Oswald Chambers' work is also refreshing. There is a study guide in the back to follow each chapter, and of special interest is the "Entrepreneurs of Life" at the very end of the book.
A splendid read, indeed, and well worth recommending at the highest level!!
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intellectually stimulating, spiritually challenging., September 5, 1999
By 
A pearl of wisodm to be found on almost every page. A sampling:
"The trouble is that, as a modern people, we have too much to live with and too little to live for."
"Escape from a false sense of life-purpose is only liberating if it leads to a true one."
"He never asked men to do what was reasonable. Men can do that for themselves. They can buy and sell, heal and govern. But then out of some deep place comes the command to do what makes no sense at all -- to build a ship on dry land; to sit among the dunghills; to marry a whore; to set their son on the altar of sacrifice. Then, if men have faith, a new thing comes."
"Of course those who heard [Jesus] all had ears; of course they didn't all hear. Being responsible, we will be held responsible one day if not today. ... For while we may debate our freedom to choose, there is no doubt that we are not free NOT to choose."
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read, February 22, 2003
By 
Doug J (Cleveland, OH United States) - See all my reviews
The previous reviews are pretty good. I found the book to be refreshing. A couple extra points:
The style, making heavy use of quotations and super-condensed stories, can make the reading difficult. But if read in short spurts (devotional manner), this is less of an issue. Each chapter is pretty much self contained and this book should not be read like a novel - too much of a whirlwind to read from cover to cover.
Guinness is not only a great scholar of history, but he is very keen analyzer. He helps point out how Christian faith/thought has played a huge role in shaping history since the first century, a point that is often overlooked or underemphasized in today's modern, secular environent.
I think it is great that he draws on extra-biblical historical figures for examples. There is no shortage of resources for studying Biblical characters. But Christian scholars skilled in both theology and non-theological fields are relatively rare, especially those who can popularize their scholarship. And general history is a great starting point from which to engage non-Christians in thoughtful discussion. How many scientists realize that Newton and Keppler were men of faith who wrote quite a bit on theology?
I also appreciate Guinness' criticism of the modern church. It is helpful to attempt to step outside our current environment and view modernity from a historical perspective, and how modernity affects the church. Guinness criticizes Christian ghettos, privatized faith, over-alignment with political parties, among other things. I enjoyed his explanations of the "Protestant Distortion" (over-emphasizing work) and "Catholic Distortion" (falsely elevating the contemplative life).
If you're unsure about buying the book, you can read the first few pages and get a very accurate feel for the style and content of the rest of the book.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best!, July 19, 2003
By 
"paulestofpauls" (Charlottesville, VA USA) - See all my reviews
"The Call" is the best work - bar none! - about finding one's calling in life that I have read. It is definitely not one of those workbook-type, step-by-step guides to getting in touch with your "inner being", nor is it an aptitude or interest survey. It is also not quite correct to say that it is Christian-based. "The Call" goes far beyond being "based" in/on Christianity, showing that Christianity *entails* calling (which for most people, Guinness explicitly states, does NOT mean a call to the ministry, priesthood, or to be a nun, etc.). Therefore the only word of warning that I have is that it will not be helpful for non-Christians.
I find it highly suggestive that the reviewer who wrote that Guinness is only trying to show off also said that it is a very difficult read. These criticisms taken together make perfect sense if the book is over your head, but I think that very few people will find this to be the case.
I also recommend Barbara Sher's "I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was" as an adjunct to "The Call". Sher's excellent book identifies the various reasons why people may fail to understand their calling or to resist it. Though not written from an explicitly Christian perspective, it is very straightforward and delightfully free of the psycho-pablum that has proven its worthlessness again and again.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Start Your Search Here..., June 6, 1999
By 
Os Guinness provides the reader a broad spectrum of how finding and fulfiling the central purpose of our life is possible.
He provides us with a good definition of Calling. "Calling is the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to his summons and service. (1)"
Why Calling is important and urgent. "The notion of calling, or vocation, is vital to each of us because it touches on the modern search for a basis for individual identity and an understanding of humanness itself. (3)"
Guides on our search for the Call. "Words are the deepest, fullest expression is which God now discloses himself to us, beginning with his calling us. So it is in listening to him, trusting him, and to obeying him when he calls that we "let God be God" in all his awe and majesty. (8)"
How knowing our Calling will transforms ourself and the community we live in. "Calling transforms life so that even the commonplace and menial are invested with the splendor of the ordinary. (22)"
In short, this book is crucial for those who are keen to know their purpose in life.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jam-packed pages, many pearls of wisdom, March 29, 2001
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I have read Mr Guiness' books since he began writing many years ago. His writing has had a profound impact on my own faith. In this book, Mr Guiness is at his best when writing about historical figures. These vignettes are well done, and very interesting.
The reader must stay alert for profundities that certainly influenced my own thinking. My favorite example is his chapter about "An Audience of One" which drives home the fact that we act to please God, not anyone or anything else.
Unfortunately (in my opinion,) Mr Guiness over-uses quotations. That he is a scholar is never in doubt, but almost every page is a string of someone else's words. I find two problems with this style, 1) the reader must wade through all the punctuation and references trying to find his point, and 2) I would much rather read Mr Guiness' own thoughts about the subject than a myriad of others'. For example, I find his story of his great great grandmother is the most interesting chapter in the book. Indeed, I would rather read about Mr Guiness' own calling.
My lay conclusion is that he has overcomplicated he subject, and I was disappointed that although he includes Blaise Pascal, he omits his pertinent point, "The chief purpose of man is to glorify God." In fact, the entire book could have revolved around just this statement. I hope he is saving this for his next book.
In spite of my stated reservations, I certainly recommend this book as well as all other books written or edited by Mr Guiness.
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The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life
The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life by Os Guinness (Paperback - October 9, 2003)
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