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Midlife Manual for Men: Finding Significance in the Second Half (Life Transitions) Hardcover – February 1, 2008
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"Steve Arterburn and John Shore write in an entertaining, engaging style that leads readers ... toward hope and significance." -- Samuel Adams, BlogCritics.org
"Arterburn and Shore offer their readers both helpful information and practical tips for coping with life's uncertainties and unexpected happenings." -- Michele Howe, FaithfulReader.com
From the Inside Flap
"Thanks, Steve and John, for telling us to take a minute, shut off the 'autopilot,' and think about how to live the second half. If more men would do what the book says, the midlife crises would change to the midlife corrections and the second half could be much better than the first!" --Dr. Henry Cloud, psychologist and author
"Finally there's help for men at that dangerous midlife crossroad in life. Steve Arterburn and John Shore outline for us how a man can make a smooth transition through midlife and avoid the midlife crisis that ruins so many men." --Dave Stoop, PhD, psychologist and author "Steve and I have shared many hours together laughing and sharing and reaching out to others. This midlife manual is full of great wisdom and will be a real help to men who want to soar through midlife rather than crash in a crisis. " --Josh D. McDowell, author and speaker
"The middle years can often be a bewildering and even disappointing time for men. However it doesn't have to be that way. With Steve Arterburn's sound and clear guidance, these can be our best years. Steve combines years of experience in helping others with is own personal authenticity and a solid biblical base. You will be a better person for reading this book." --Dr. John Townsend, psychologist, author, and speaker
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Steve Arterburn and John Shore write in an entertaining, engaging style that leads readers through the roles of manhood and toward hope and significance. Readers working the exercises at each chapter's end will benefit the most because the work helps focus readers both toward who they are and who God wants them to be.
For example, under "Son" the first "Things to Do" exercise is to write a brutally-honest letter to your father. This forced me to confront some of my late father's traits I didn't want to recognize, traits that he passed on to me. I wanted to remember him as a hero. The next exercise let me - it is to write a letter telling your father how much you love him and why. The authors say you can mail the second letter. Then the exercises go on to one asking how being your father's son "affected one's ideas or experiences relative to being a child of our Lord."
Such exercises join the reading to leave you with the feeling that no matter what you've done wrong so far in your life there's a lot you've done right as well. I saw there's hope for a more fulfilling life in the future and how to let God lead me to that life.
Shore's example of one Mr. Williams and his amazing mid-life art career stands out as a highlight of the book to me. I will not spoil the example with details - just describe it as an excellent example of how God speaks His will to every man in midlife.
I believe the manual has helped draw me closer toward God's goal of using me for His will during my life's remaining days, despite what at times seemed irrelevant passages due to my own life experiences. For almost all, the book should prove most entertaining and effective.
It's written in a very openly honest and conversational manner and although some of the jokes are corny it's been a good read.
Whether or not an individual man is struggling with the stereotypical midlife issues, this text will be earmarked for years to come. Men will discover commonalities with one another on such themes as being a middle-aged male, harboring a he-man of the universe mentality, being a son, a husband, a provider and a father, and facing forward into the future with courage and confidence.
Arterburn opens the book with an admission. His marriage of 17 years had ended; he was 46 years old and, in his words, "...as miserable as he'd ever been in his life." He writes that he was without hope and tells of being stripped of everything, including pretense and superficiality. It was just him and Jesus "fellowshipping in suffering." Fast forward six years later. Remarried and the father of a one-year-old son, Arterburn offers perspective and wise counsel for facing hard times, looking at himself accurately, and moving ahead with faith and integrity.
As Arterburn and Shore point out, midlife isn't what it used to be. In the year 1800, the life expectancy for an American man was 35 years; today it's 76. The sheer increase in time factor leaves more for men to "reflect upon, adjust, or change our lives." The authors cite some characteristic "symptoms" of midlife transitioning...or midlife "crisis-ing." Men might experience depression, feel acute irritability, engage in too much "partying," unwise or extravagant spending, have an obsession with sex, or have an affair.
In their He-Man of the Universe chapter, Arterburn and Shore afford readers a comical yet all-too-accurate portrayal of the "he-man" mentality, to which most men battle against succumbing. Referring to these not-so-healthy-attitudes, they list some "good riddances" with both clarity and comical asides.
* Getting rid of unceasing expectation of oneself
* Finishing off a crippling sense of entitlement
* Making peace with emotions by not suppressing them
* Casting off the lone ranger mentality of not needing anyone
On the positive flip side, they suggest the following "he-man pure gold" recommendations to be adopted in place of the above.
* Understanding the proper use of power
* Understanding how important responsibility is
* Understanding how to grow bit by bit toward maturity
* Understanding how challenges and bravery fit in this world
With keen wit and fun-loving personal tale-telling admissions, Arterburn and Shore offer their readers both helpful information and practical tips for coping with life's uncertainties and unexpected happenings. Readers --- males and the females who love them --- will appreciate this filled-to-the-brim manual for midlife.
--- Reviewed by Michele Howe