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The Good Life: Seeking Purpose, Meaning, and Truth in Your Life Hardcover – June 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Colson—bestselling author, political figure and ministry leader—wrote this book to help readers answer "deep questions... that [determine] how we will live and how we will die and whether our lives will count for something." It is part memoir, as Colson reflects on his own rights and wrongs. For Colson, how people live comes down to their worldview – how their core beliefs about life shape their actions. He covers key paradoxes (i.e., "Out of suffering and defeat often comes victory") and spends a large section of the book establishing the existence of "capital-T truth," a concept Colson argues provides hope and "makes life a breathtaking challenge." He addresses a number of social and political issues, including evolution, euthanasia and homosexuality. Stories are central to this exploration, and Colson incorporates many different kinds: his own Watergate experience, popular films, stories of war and oppression, and front-page business scandals. While he attempts to conduct his search "without relying on any prior assumptions or sectarian convictions," his Christian faith is ever present, and some who start from an opposing position may find his arguments weak. However, Colson's deep humility is striking, and many will welcome this well-researched book, built on his lifetime of learning and extraordinary experience. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

With the aid of the excellent parable-writer/exegete Harold Fickett (see Conversations with Jesus, 1999), Colson reconfirms that he is a premier popular practitioner of Christian persuasion, especially for the un- and spottily churched. Instead of reflexively citing and quoting the Bible, he alludes to it, sparingly and pointedly, and his exempla come from broadly familiar sources, such as the movie Saving Private Ryan, and the lives of figures ranging from Olivier Messiaen to Madalyn Murray O'Hair, from death-row convicts to business tycoons. He considers good living and its grounds, which is to say, living for others while seeking and acting upon the truth. The book's long first part contrasts careers of self-motivation and hedonism with others of service and suffering to demonstrate that the former eventuate in disillusion and emptiness, the latter in fulfillment and satisfaction, independent of material success; the short second part discusses the rewards of giving. In the third part, Colson argues against relativism and for absolute truth, considerably more substantially than the ruck of "conservative Christian" commentators do; the exempla in this part are particularly engrossing and frequently high toned (e.g., the spiritual journey of Wallace Stevens). The concluding part considers ultimate things--providence, death, infinite love--and overtly proselytizes, very considerately, for the first time in the book. Colson's temperateness and reasonableness in all that comes before the call to faith increases its appeal, especially to those repelled by ranting and tears. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 394 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; 1st edition (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0842377492
  • ISBN-13: 978-0842377492
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By John Cannon on October 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I've read so many of Chuck Colson's books and heard so many of his speeches, that I feel as though he's one of my great friends. Even though I've never met him, my heart definitely beats with his(!). This book centers on Chuck looking back over his life offering personal anecdotes and examples of how modern man defines the 'good life' in today's culture - and is left wanting. Colson, as usual, affirms the biblical worldview as the only perspective which offers the greatest joy and satisfaction in life. It's a book for 'seekers.' Chuck is one of those great men whose testimony for Christ, and articulate expressions about the Christian worldview in so many forms, makes one happy to have him as a fellow believer. He leaves a great legacy - although I'm sure Mr. Colson has a lot of great years ahead in Christian service. Continue on, my friend!
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By M. HOLCK on October 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
One reviewer called this the "thinking man's purpose driven life", and I read the book and completely agree with that summary. Whether you follow Christ or if you know there are many religions and you're not sure why and what is the difference - this book will speak to you. Colson, a former attorney, uses logic and reason to take the reader through methodical reason on many different real-life subjects - from evolution, consumerism, infanticide, homosexuality and much more. Colson takes you through these thoughts logically - not biblically - to present what it means to live the good life - to find purpose, meaning and truth. Colson takes the reader to the point of absolute truth. Rick Warren said about this book - "read this and be changed"; Warren is right. All thinking, well-read people should explore this book. Also Colson shares his own hurt - from his prison stay, alienation and information about his autistic grandson; a very personal book for Colson readers.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Roger N. Overton on August 14, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Thirty five years ago a White House cover-up shook the nation. In the midst of the national controversy were the individual lives that would never be the same. One of those lives is that of Charles Colson. After serving time in prison for releasing confidential FBI information, Colson underwent a transformation, a conversion. He told about his conversion in his popular book Born Again. More than three decades later he's telling his story again, but from a more developed perspective, in his recent book, The Good Life.

The Good Life isn't completely about Charles Colson. In fact, his is just one of many stories the authors share to explore the issues of purpose, meaning, and truth in this life. Reflections are offered on men who "had it all," such as L. Dennis Kozlowski (former CEO of Tyco International), as well as people who endured devastating pain and suffering, such as Nien Cheng (a women who suffered under Communist rule in China).

Each of the stories told sheds some light on what "the good life" truly is. Along the way, pieces are placed together in the puzzle. Colson and Hackett make the case that self-sacrifice in serving others is an essential element. So to, they claim, is a well-founded worldview that holds truth as valuable and morality as objective. Ultimately, "the good life" comes from complete surrender to Jesus Christ- embracing who He is and what He wants to do with our lives.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Good Life. The stories were artfully told in a manner that drew suspense at times and thoughtfulness at others. Powerful points are made by the use of these narratives in conjunction with the clear thinking of a seasoned apologist.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Michael Taylor TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Well, once again, Colson has written another gem of a book! The premise of The Good Life is that a good life can be found only in a two-fold purpose: serving others and serving them in truth. In other words, do not waste your life satisfying just your own selfish desires and do not serve others just to promote your own self-interest. Instead, we are challenged to serve others because of who Jesus Christ is and what He did for us on the cross at Calvary.

The important points covered in the book include:

1. We acknowledge the evil to embrace the good.

2. When people are too idle, they lack purpose. We were wired to have a purpose in life.

3. Our own personal happiness must never be the ultimate goal in our lives.

4. Living independent of others is unhealthy - we are meant for community.

5. Instead of doing your own thing, the good life depends on giving yourself to others and losing yourself.

6. Integrity is more important than loyalty. Get that wrong and your world collapses.

7. When we feel a desire for something that this world cannot satisfy, then we can realize that we are made for another world.

8. The reality of our death spurs us on to accomplish as much in life as we can.

9. God wants our child-lie faith and wants us to come to Him on His terms.

Read, enjoy, and be challenged to get outside of yourself and make the most of the rest of your life for God's glory!

Highly recommended.
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