Friday, August 16, 2013

Book Review: The Exceptional Life by Stephen Arterburn

I've read a number of books by Stephen Arterburn. In fact, his book Healing is a Choice is in my top ten favorite Christian Living/Self-help books. Unfortunately, I found this book, The Exceptional Life: 8 Powerful Steps to Experiencing God's Best for You, somewhat disappointing. It's not that I think it's a poorly written book or that I would dissuade anyone from reading it, but after reading his other books, it just felt mediocre in comparison.

First off, I thought it was poorly titled. When I see "8 powerful steps", I expect a step by step method for all people to find the "exceptional life". This book isn't quite like that. The premise is there are eight things you can change or give up so that you can get eight different things that make your life more exceptional. The truth is the eight topics he chose...shame, isolation, fear, addiction, etc....are topics that may or may not apply to the reader. Personally, only two or three chapters applied to me and I think most people would feel this way. I think this book would have been better titled as "8 topics that hold people back". But even with that change, I still would recommend Healing is a Choice to people in almost every circumstance.

On the positive side, some of the information was good. There was a lot of what I would consider theory given on each topic. This sheds some light on the underlying reasons why each of these issues causes problems in one's life. I'm someone who needs to understand problems before I can fix them, so that was helpful for me. Unfortunately, I didn't feel as though there were enough practical, tangible suggestions for fixing the issues presented.

Overall, I would recommend Healing is a Choice before I would recommend this book. It's not bad and I wouldn't necessarily dissuade anyone from reading it, but I feel like there are better books out there on the topic.

I was provided a free copy of this book from Bethany House publishers in exchange for my honest review.

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