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Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives Paperback – March, 1995

4.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

RICHARD A. SWENSON, M.D. is a physician and a futurist, with a B.S. in physics Phi Beta Kappa from Denison University. Following fifteen years with the University of Wisconsin Medical School, Dr. Swenson currently researches and writes full-time about the intersection of culture, health, faith, and the future. He is a highly requested speaker on the implications of social change to a wide variety of audiences, including career, professional, and management groups; most major church denominations; members of Congress, and the Pentagon. He recently released a related book, The Overload Syndrome.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Navpress; English Language edition (March 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891098887
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891098881
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #702,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Edward J. Vasicek on November 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
Margin is a crucial book for any serious Christian. In a day of pushing the envelope, Swenson urges us to leave room ("margin") for the unexpected (and to reduce stress).
Many believers schedule their time to the hilt, live within their credit limit rather than their means, and displace time with family and God with good things, but not the most important things.
Although Swenson, himself an M.D., practices what he preaches, he does perhaps go a little overboard in some areas (resisting buying a computer, wearing a watch, etc.). But, all in all, he argues for balance and sanity to replace the rat race many Christians join. He gives the reader permission to be counter-cultural. He asks us if we could imagine Jesus leaving the Last Supper because His pager went off!
As a pastor of 24 years, I have used this book to help me manage my own life. I have shared its Biblical insights from the pulpit and used this material extensively in my counseling ministry. This is truly a "must read" book. It is a life changer.
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Format: Paperback
As its subtitle suggests, MARGIN is a holistic treatment of the modern day malady called overload. Written by Richard A. Swenson, M.D., a former practicing physician, the book is the result of more than a decade of professional research and personal experience.
Following several years as an associate professor at a state medical school, Swenson now writes and speaks full-time as an expert on the intersection of faith, health, culture and the future. And his insightful analysis here does not disappoint, as he succeeds brilliantly at bridging the gap between the sacred and the secular, the timeless and the temporal.
Defining margin as the space that exists between people and their personal limits, Swenson suggests it is has largely been squeezed out of our lives and become yet another casualty of the harried and hurried times in which we live. Yet margin must be restored if we are to experience health through contentment, simplicity, balance and rest, he says.
From the opening chapter titled "Marginless Living," Swenson describes the decimation left in the wake of living with chronic overload. From our overstressed teachers and overworked farmers to overburdened pastors and overwhelmed parents, society at large has succumbed to the pressures of progress.
And, according to Swenson, the type of overload we are experiencing is a relatively new phenomenon, exponential in growth and unprecedented in scope. Fueled by the power of technology, living today has accelerated to warp speed, with many people yearning for a rest stop, if not an exit ramp, off the frenetic freeway of life.
"Progress's biggest failure has been its inability to nurture and protect right relationships," writes Swenson.
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Format: Paperback
After reading Dr. Swenson's life-challenging book, our family did what he did and left life in town to move to the Backside of Nowhere. With all of our "good" activities pulling us in 20 different directions, we had to do something to regain control of our time, our life and our environment.
That was in 1998 and we haven't regretted it once.
The fruit of this move is becoming evident in our children. They have the time and space they need to mature responsibly and this mom now has the time to live life with them in an incredible environment. We call it Paradise.
We've built learning centers throughout our log home, all through the woods and even in the creek to create a natural sense of adventure because we want our children to enjoy learning while they are young.
Dr. Swenson's Margin, and God's provision, gave us this life.
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Format: Paperback
This book opens one eyes to the frantic futile pace at which we are living. Not only does it accurately describe the problem, but there are excellent prescriptions given for how to get out of the rat race and the many traps we have set in our lives.
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Format: Paperback
Swenson's book is an excellent and timely read for the person who wants to learn how to develop more time and space for a fruitful life.
The book's layout is orderly and the text is easily understood - thankfully, Swenson does not attempt to impress the reader with technical jargon and knows how to address his audience. Swenson organizes the book into three main parts: 1) The problem (pain), 2) the prescription (margin), and 3) the prognosis (health).
As mentioned earlier, Swenson describes the problem of pain and the prescription of margin in layman terms. Swenson describes how we can either place undue pressure on ourselves or allow society to dictate the unrealistic expectations we are expected to live up to today. Especially helpful were the prescriptions Swenson prescribes for dealing with today's insane rat race. Particulary compelling were the suggestions for balance, rest, simplicity, and healthy relationships.
All in all, an excellent read. The only reason I did not give it 5 stars was because I believe (in my humble opinion) that the author spent a little too much time describing the problem - he did not get into a comprehensive definition and description of the term "margin" until 1/3 of the way into the book. Despite this minor complaint, I highly recommend this book. The Christian will be encouraged to just rest in the love and acceptance of Jesus while the unbeliever will be encouraged to consider life is more than just career success and busy activities.
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