As soon as I saw the title to this book I immediately drew some negative conclusions. I pictured this book alongside those by Joel Osteen and Oprah Winfrey, and I imagined it would probably compare with such New Age philosophies as ‘The Secret’ and karma. I also noticed how this is categorized as a ‘self-help’ book, of which I am leery of. However, as I began reading, evaluating, and reading further, I have discovered much which has altered my view of Dr. Cury tremendously from my initial ‘judging by the cover.’
I may not agree with everything Dr. Cury writes, but I have found that this is a book that is easy to engage with, enjoy and learn from, so long as you are willing to read thoughtfully and critically. I always had my pen in hand while reading, underlining, making comments and connections, asking questions, circling, and making a lot of trips to the Bible to verify his allusions to it. That is another interesting tidbit about Dr. Cury’s approach. He has advertised this book in a secular manor (hence the ‘self-help’ category instead of ‘spiritual-growth’), even though his model for an effective mind is Jesus himself! This is most likely to appeal to a broader audience, and even show to curious passersby that the system of Christianity does make sense in the real world.
One main area of emphasis in this book, and an area I respect, is his emphasis on taking a conscious census of my own life. He speaks in the language of a theater, and challenges us to be the lead actor in our own life instead of a mere audience observer. We have to be careful when speaking this way, however, as it is not necessarily speaking of taking control of one’s life apart from God, and ‘wresting for the driver’s seat’ if you will. I am reminded of the ancient hero Socrates, who gave a foundational challenge to examine one’s own life, and to then to live intentionally based on such reflection. He once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” This man was truly a godsend for the Greeks of his time, who were tied up in their pointless sophistry. So too Jesus challenges all mankind to retreat from their own versions of empty unexamined living, and to examine our lives with more intention, taking captive our thoughts and using them for good (2 Cor. 10:5; Col. 2:8). For Christians this means taking a firmer grasp of the profession of faith we claim. So this emphasis on examining one’s own life and being aware of what controls our thoughts should by that alone make this book a good read.
In this book Jesus is portrayed as a good example to model after, especially in how he was the ‘author of his own story.’ Which is good, don’t get me wrong. But that is not all he is. Hardly! Self-help without Jesus’ direct help and influence through the power of the atonement he bought for us is in the end no real help at all.
Other random thoughts: I love his definitions and clear explanations. This book has a lot of philosophy and mental process talk. Its fun to try and see if I can locate allusions he makes to the Scriptures (Psalm 51 language here, that sounds like its from Isaiah 5:13, etc). This book will have many good reminders for you and many good things for you to think about. But like I said, you dont have to agree with every single assumption or conclusion he makes, but if you are willing to engage with this book, it will engage with you! For me, its the interaction that counts more than whether I agree if the focus of a book should be to ‘discover your true potential!’ and to pursue the ‘quest of happiness.’
I am writing this review as a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program called BookSneeze.