Thursday, October 20, 2011

How I Read It: Churchill

A few thoughts after finishing Churchill by Paul Johnson

Quotable: "Churchill's sheer energy and, not least, his ability to switch it off abruptly when not needed were central keys to his life, and especially his wartime leadership." p 114

Inspirational: It has been a long time since I read a biography on a great historical figure.  I forgot how inspirational someone's life can be.  Specifically, the author detailed 10 reasons why Churchill was "the man of the hour" and probably the only person alive at the time who could have saved Great Britian and turned the tide of World War II.  It almost made me want to run for president in 2012, but then I remembered I won't be old enough.  (Maybe 2020?)  In all seriousness, there is a balance here.  I think we can be inspired by a person of history, but still seek the Lord as to our calling today.

Useful: The author offers five lessons from Churchill's life.  They are simple, yet incredibly profound and great advice for anyone.
  1. Aim high.  Even if you don't achieve what you're seeking, you'll still do something worthwhile.
  2. Work hard.  Really hard.  But balance "flat out work with creative and restorative leisure".  Churchill was a master at this.  (See Quotable above.)
  3. Don't allow mistakes to ruin you.  Learn from them and keep going.
  4. Don't hold grudges.  Churchill refused to hold grudges against former political opponents or national enemies.  
  5. Be joyful.  Even in the midst of crazy hardships.
Isn't it great that while those 5 lessons aren't from the Bible, they are all biblical?

2011 Personal Impact Ranking:
  1. Church Planting Movements by David Garrison
  2. One thing You Can't Do in Heaven by Mark Cahill*
  3. The Divine Commodity by Skye Jethani
  4. Fight Clubs by Jonathan Dodson*
  5. Churchill by Paul Johnson
  6. Humility by CJ Mahaney*
  7. How to Design Cool Stuff by John McWade
  8. Why We Love the Church by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck*
  9. The Problem of Pain by CS Lewis
  10. Samson and the Pirate Monks by Nate Larkin*
  11. Switch by Chip and Dan Heath
  12. Crazy Love by Francis Chan*
  13. It's Better to Build Boys Than Mend Men by S. Truett Cathy*
  14. The Exemplary Husband by Stuart Scott*
*I own these books, let me know if you want to borrow them. I'd love to share.

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