Book Reviews

Emily P. Freeman’s The Next Right Thing: A Summary

The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman

Photo Credit: Amazon

Emily P. Freeman’s The Next Right Thing (2019) offers readers important insights about how to make successful decisions. The book strives to help readers see decision making as an opportunity for spiritual growth. For Freeman, one can find peace even when it does not seem possible. The author contends that doing the next right thing is about moving one’s focus from outcomes to the present moment.

When a person removes distractions, Freeman argues that he or she can better understand inner experiences.

If an individual is not being real with himself or herself, the author asserts that God is not able to reveal what He desires to communicate to him or her in the present moment.

The Next Right Thing challenges the reader to question his or her desires and motivations. Freeman believes that questioning one’s desires and motivations allows him or her to find clarity on their spiritual paths. This does, however, require one to be candid with himself or herself.

Freeman recommends that one invest more time in listening to his or her believers rather than critics. She asserts that keeping yourself uplifted with positive words of others empowers you to arrive at the heart of the person you really are.

The writer values surprises, for they, she argues, more often permit one to resolve decision making chaos than perceived clarity does. The book emphasizes that it is not wise to expect clarity about every detail of the future, considering life unfolds in complex and unpredictable ways.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison  

Doing Justice by Preet Bharara: A Summary

Doing Justice by Preet Bharara

Photo Credit: Amazon

Preet Bharara’s Doing Justice (2019) offers the lessons the author has learned during his career as a former federal attorney. Bharara contends that effective investigations require investigators who have a strong work ethic and who commit to withholding judgment until the appropriate time. The author explains that a successful investigator must be willing to reassess evidence. Also, he helps the reader to understand that successful investigators often question the processes they use.

Bharara divulges that reasonable questioning of witnesses is necessary to gain the cooperation of witnesses. Doing Justice makes clear that posing the right questions is crucial to the final outcome of an investigation.

The writer warns investigators against making hasty accusations because they can severely damage their chances of success. Bharara posits that police officers and prosecutors who are not careful in their decision making are serious threats to justice. He urges them to muster the courage necessary to endure harsh criticisms from various people and maintain their focus on the proper pursuit of justice.

Doing Justice emphasizes the importance of governments and prosecutors ethically exercising discretion.

The author encourages prosecutors to prepare themselves diligently for their court dates, for surprises during trial are certainly not pleasant. The book argues that prosecutors have to be willing to challenge judges who demonstrate partiality.

Bharara has a strong interest in prison reform. For the former federal attorney, prison reform is necessary to true justice. He asserts that any just society must demonstrate a real concern for how prisoners are treated. The author acknowledges that many problems in the American prison system need to be addressed immediately, and he sees that it is going to take the American people to champion prison reform for these problems to be addressed.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison  

The Right Side of History by Ben Shapiro: A Summary

The Right Side of History by Ben Shapiro

Photo Credit: HarperCollins

Ben Shapiro’s The Right Side of History (2019) is a thorough defense of Western civilization and the religious and philosophical thought that has supported it. The author attempts to provide of an understanding of the centuries of thought that have developed and maintained the West, and he attacks threats to the dominant thought that has been central to defining the West.

For Shapiro, people desiring to be happy must pursue a life of moral purpose. The writer posits that the reason so many Americans do not have a positive outlook about the future is they are not living lives centered on moral purpose.

Ben Shapiro argues that the United States was the first nation to be grounded in philosophy. He cites Thomas Jefferson’s comments about the Declaration of Independence as an effort to ingrain the thought of Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, and other great philosophers into the fabric of America.

The Right Side of History advocates for strong opposition to efforts to weaken individual rights in America.

The author contends that the modern American political left has embraced tribal identity, which, in his view, abandons Western civilization’s philosophical traditions. Instead of supporting truth, reason, and the pursuit of virtue, Shapiro asserts that the American political left has abandoned the aforementioned for victimhood.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

NIV, The Maxwell Leadership Bible, 3rd Edition: A Brief Review

The Maxwell Leadership Bible

Courtesy of Thomas Nelson

John Maxwell’s NIV, The Maxwell Leadership Bible, 3rd Edition, is a wonderful bible with an excellent, reader-friendly print. With the New International Version being a popular translation of holy Scripture, many will appreciate how John Maxwell helps readers to gain critical insights about it through illuminating leadership principles throughout the text. Maxwell does a brilliant job of evincing how the bible is truly a book that has much to teach about effective leadership. A well-established authority on leadership, Maxwell brings his years of leadership experience and expertise to profile biblical leaders and what can be learned from their leadership.

This bible contains an introduction to each book and many short articles related to leadership. The hardback edition is a soft, comfort hardback, which makes it pleasant to hold and carry. Maxwell does a thorough job of ensuring that the reader understands the bible through a leadership lens and that he or she is able to engage constantly with Scripture’s powerful revelations about leadership.

Without question, leaders (and not just spiritual leaders) should purchase a copy of this this bible. Also, all individuals serious about the study of the Word of God need a copy of this bible. When one reads this bible, he or she comes away from the text a more empowered person ready to address challenges and problems with biblical courage and wisdom.

To aid the drafting of this honest review, the publisher, Thomas Nelson, provided a copy of The Maxwell Leadership Bible through BookLook Bloggers.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

NKJV Ancient-Modern Bible: A Brief Review

Thomas Nelson’s New King James Version Ancient-Modern Bible is an excellent bible that aids the reader in gaining a solid understanding of Scripture. Throughout the text, the reader has an opportunity to engage with commentary offered by some of the leading Christian thinkers about much of the text. For those readers who struggle to understand verses after they have read them, this text will give them great confidence in their reading and study of Scripture. One should not, however, consider this a study bible; it’s not. At the beginning of each book of the bible, an introduction is provided that will assist in establishing an overview and context for each book.

The bible is well-designed, fusing a traditional style with a contemporary style. It has a nice, readable typeface and print in general that invites the reader to spend hours reading, studying, and meditating on God’s Word. This hardcover edition of the bible is durable, attractive, and easy to carry around. Even though it is a hardcover book, I love how it feels; it has a really soft, comfortable feel to it.

This bible could offer more significant study aids for the reader, but it does not present itself as a study bible.

Although I generally like bibles that offer far more study aids than this bible does, I do recommend the Ancient-Modern Bible. Even without the study aids I typically appreciate, the commentary of ancient and modern leading Christian thinkers throughout the text makes this a resourceful bible to read.

To assist in composing this honest review, BookLook Bloggers supplied a complimentary copy of the Ancient-Modern Bible.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Thomas Nelson’s NKJV Vines Expository Bible by Jerry Vines: A Brief Review

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Thomas Nelson’s New King James Version Vine’s Expository Bible: A Guided Journey Through the Scriptures with Pastor Jerry Vines is an excellent comprehensive study bible that provides readers with significant study aids throughout that enable them to gain a greater understanding of the Word of God. This bible assists readers with useful introductions to all 66 books. Throughout the text, one has the opportunity to engage with unpacked key vocabulary words/concepts that permit a stronger understanding of Scripture.

Jerry Vines leads readers through the bible with 200 “Presenting the Messages,” which are detailed outlines that allow them to gain a rich understanding of often complex and/or misunderstood portions of the Scripture. Also, he includes 200 “Applying the Message” entries that aid readers in seeing how Scripture is relevant to their spiritual walk with Jesus.

Many will appreciate the 100 “Living the Message” articles included in this expository bible that present vivid illustrations of true Christian living.

For those looking for a bible to serve all of their needs, this bible is sure to satisfy most (if not all) needs. This hardcover edition of the bible is durable, attractive, and comfortable to carry.  The typeface and print are inviting, making you want to spend hours in serious study of God’s Word. The commentary Jerry Vine offers throughout this text is grounded in biblical truths; therefore, it supports an accurate understanding of Scripture rather than impeding it.

I highly recommend purchasing this bible, even if you already have a bible, considering the aforementioned features of this text will assist you in achieving deeper comprehension and analyses of the most important book ever written: the bible.

To  compose an honest review of this bible, BookLook Bloggers gave me a complimentary copy.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison  

  

Words of Grace by Scott Patty: A Book Review

Words of Grace by Scott Patty

                                            (Photo Courtesy of LifeWay)

Written prayerfully and from the heart, Words of Grace: A 100-Day Devotional, penned by Scott Patty, pastor of Grace Community Church in Nashville, Tennessee and a graduate of Belmont University and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, is a powerful spiritual devotional that illuminates the most essential message of the Bible: grace. Through the devotional pieces in this book, Patty strives to “open up the meaning, relevance, and application of God’s Word of grace to people” (xi). The author hopes readers “hear God’s Word, see the grace of Christ in it [the Bible], respond to him [Christ] in faith, and come to know him [Christ] personally” (xi).  

As a minister and theologian whose teaching praxis and theology centers on grace, this book is a welcome addition to my library. Each devotional piece begins with one or two scriptural verses, and then Patty starts teaching the reader critical truths and principles based on the verse(s), triggering valuable spiritual reflections and personal calls-to-action. When reading Words of Grace: A 100-Day Devotional, therefore, don’t think you’re about to pick a book that’s not about to challenge you to experience spiritual renewal and transformation. This book has the power to produce a truly new you; a new you in virtually every area of your life.

One of my favorite devotional pieces in the book is “God, the Just and Justifier,” based on Romans 3:21-26, which is arguably “the most important paragraph on salvation in the Bible” (9). This portion of the book is a beautiful (and brief, of course) explanation and reflection on how God’s grace has liberated those who believe His grace is sufficient to forgive and cleanse their sins forever. Patty writes, “As such, when Jesus died on the cross he took our sins to himself, bore the punishment of God against our sin in his body, and thereby freed us from condemnation for our sin. God sent Jesus to be our substitute. This is the definition of grace” (9).    

In short, I highly recommend that you purchase and read this book. As you read this work, you will grow deeper in your comprehension and appreciation of grace. To help facilitate a critical review of Patty’s work, B&H Publishing Group/LifeWay supplied me with a copy of Words of Grace: A 100-Day Devotional.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison