For years I never liked gift books or coffee table books. They were such small or large sizes and seemed like cheap and sentimental ways to say “I care.” More recently I’ve changed my tune…well, I’m still not huge on coffee table books, but the gift books – those small, short reads – I’m giving them a chance. Why? I won’t bore you here, but if you want, you can read the footnote.1I’ve come to the conclusion that there is at least two types of non-fiction reading which the individual can undertake – both of which is useful to the rounded development of the individual. There is a lot of cross-over between the two and I believe one should be able to pull from each type some of the other, but lets not quibble over semantics. The first type is the knowledge acquisition book. This tells us information which helps us. It may be a history book, a book on leadership, a science textbook, or any number of other works…but its primary goal is to provide us with information we can use to change our lives. The second type is the experiential book. These books provide us with information, by and large, we already know but oftentimes fail to implement. Sure, I know I shouldn’t sweat the small stuff – but I do. Sure, I know God loves me – but I don’t act like it, and so on. These books primarily carry us through the experience of truth, providing basic restatements of fundamental truths.
One of these little gift books is We Are the Beloved: A Spiritual Journey by Ken Blanchard. Blanchard is best known for co-authoring the successful business management book The One Minute Manager and its younger siblings. In We Are the Beloved we find a mixture of elements – auto-biography, leadership, management, and spiritual insights, and a good list of names and books Blanchard has found particularly influential in his life.
This books was published in 1994 – so it is quite old. At the time Blanchard had been a Christian for “only ten years” – but from what I’ve seen he continues as a Christian till this day and continues to write books on leadership, management, and spirituality.
This volume isn’t amazing. On a ten point scale I might give it a 6 or 7 – but it is an experiential book, not a knowledge acquisition book…and we generally need a large supply of these volumes (at least I do) so that I can constantly be reminded of basic truths…So this isn’t the first book I recommend you go out and buy, but it also isn’t a bad read.
I found the writing style a bit dry and he told me a bit more about various minutiae than I cared to know, but it still was encouraging and challenging to me. Blanchard’s honesty about his intellectual and volitional struggles in becoming and then living as a Christian will ring a tone – especially for those who work a normal work-a-day life.