Boundaries for Leaders by Dr. Henry Cloud [Book Review]

Boundaries for Leaders

This is a review of the book, Boundaries for Leaders: Results, Relationships, and Being Ridiculously in Charge by Dr. Henry Cloud, a well-known clinical psychologist and leadership consultant and coauthor of Boundaries.

Who doesn’t want to be ridiculously in charge! I immediately began to dive into this book after reading that heading!

The principles in the book are universal. What ever you lead, you can make it thrive. This book is about what leaders need to do in order for people to accomplish a vision. It takes a great amount of time to get the people in your organization to be on the same page and working together in harmony.

Many of you reading this review are natural leaders and visionaries with an organization chart of followers or team players. Over time, you begin to realize the temperament and moods of each player on your team. You hear negative comments, grumbling, complaining…you need production and movement yet your team is stuck in a mire of negativism and lousy excuses for not producing. Soon you find yourself as a referee and “people manager” while the vision and goals you hoped the team would accomplish is sidelined.

If this is you, please read, Boundaries for Leaders. You will learn how to change your team’s moods and improve relationship outside and inside work. Dr. Cloud writes about a “working memory”…how are you establishing boundaries to include positive conditions and to rid the negative elements that stand in your way of production.  “Our brains need positive relationship to grow and function well.” [1] You want to establish a “working memory” with each person on your team.

You will learn what a “working memory” is after reading, Boundaries for Leaders.

As a leader, we don’t want people just to show up…we want them to soar! You want your team to attend  to the clearly defined vision and goals. Hopefully, you will inhibit the negative diatribes that diminish motivation and enthusiasm, and  cause them to remember .

Attend. Inhibit. Remember.

What do you want your team (employees, family, volunteers)  to remember Definitely not the negative comments and attitudes.

It’s all about “brain function”…find and focus on the things that you can control that affect outcomes. [2] In the end, as a leader, you are always going to get a combination of two things: what you create and what you allow. [3]  Through reading this book, I was motivated to set limits on the behaviors that sow the seeds of negative emotional climate and to realize how negative behavior infects others.

As a ministry team leader, I strive against silos, compartmentalization, personal agendas, isolation and division among people. [4] Weeks later, after reading this book, I continue to recall helpful tactics Dr. Cloud taught throughout the book. Here is one for you to save: ” …it is never about self-advancement but about seeking to meet their needs.” [5]

I highly recommend this book as instrumental with helping you align your organization (employees, family, volunteers) in order to create healthy boundaries for remarkable progress.

Boundaries for Leaders

[1] page 83 │ [2] page 130 │ [3] page 15 │ [4] page 17  │ [5] page 219

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255


Draw the Circle : The 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson [Book Review]

Draw the Circle

This is a review on the book, Draw the Circle : The 40 Day Prayer Challenge, by Mark Batterson, pastor of  National Community Church, in the Washington, DC metro area.

Draw the Circle is a devotional book on prayer, a sequel of sorts based on the New York Times best-selling book, The Circle Maker. I have not read The Circle Maker, but I have read, Praying Circles Around your Children, a good book for parents to read! What I learned from that book is this:

You don’t become a praying parent by default. You do it by design by desire, by discipline and determination. It’s imperative to distinguish between your will and God’s will. God is not a genie in a bottle, and your wish is not His command. His command better be your wish.

After “praying circles” around my children and grandchildren and experiencing God answer many of those prayers, I looked forward to using Draw the Circle as a challenge to establish a prayer habit that would continue on day 41, day 75, day 365.

In Draw the Circle, we are encouraged to make a daily appointment with God by setting a time and place to pray. The author chose the time of 7:14 AM, based on 2 Chronicles 7:14. The “If” at the beginning of this verse convicted him to become a man of prayer and to lead his church through a revival of prayer. Having a set time and place created tremendous synergy and accountability.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Batterson reiterates that there is nothing magical about physically circling something in prayer. Drawing prayer circles is a metaphor that simply means “to pray without ceasing.” It’s praying until God answers. It’s praying with more intensity, more tenacity. It’s not just praying for; it’s praying through. “Praying with the same kind of consistency with which the earth circles the sun.”

I appreciate the exhortation and challenge from Mark in the introduction to “find out about prayer… for each day of prayer to yield a new discovery that will change the way I pray…and when I change the way I pray, everything else changes.” (the quote was personalized)

The book is an easy read, with mini-anecdotes to illustrate the point of each chapter. On Day 4, I was pulled into the story of John and Tricia and their precious son, Eli. You need to read it. “Sometimes the purpose of prayer is to get us out of circumstances, but more often than not, the purpose of prayer is to get us through them.” I can relate to that!

By Day 40, I was in a rhythm of praying very specifically for a number of significant things. The devotional book ended in part with this exhortation:

“It doesn’t matter what you do; prayer is the key to your business, your practice, your career. If you’re an entrepreneur, you need innovative ideas. If you’re a physician, you need the discernment to diagnose. You may sell homes or teach classes…whatever you do, prayer is a critical part of what you do and who you become. Turn your classroom, boardroom, locker room, operating room, courtroom, and conference room into a prayer room!”

It takes watching and waiting to see how God will answer prayers. I recommend that you read, Draw the Circle…read a chapter each day to remain committed to the 40 day prayer challenge. There is scripture woven throughout each chapter. Take time to read the verses and explore the historical facts of God’s word. Engage with God in prayer using the bible verses as a guide. Ultimately, the book is a good lesson in persistent and faith-filled prayer.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

There is an Amazon link on this page. If you purchase the book using that link, I will receive a small stipend.

Jesus Is _______. By Judah Smith [Book Review]

This is a review of Jesus is________. by Judah Smith.  The book is a result in part from a marketing campaign by City Church to simply get people thinking about Jesus. It was (and continues to be) a brilliant campaign about Jesus, hopefully in a profound life changing way.

Jesus is ____.

Judah is a father of three children and along with his wife is the pastor of  City Church in Seattle, which by the way, his father and mother founded years before. In the introduction of the book, Judah wrote words of deep respect and honor about his father. Apparently, Judah became the pastor of City Church after his father passed away. From the get-go of the introduction and knowing the impact of the father upon his son, I was ready to read and learn what Judah had to say about Jesus.

After reading the book, I wanted to see and hear this young pastor before critiquing his book. I watched a YouTube clip of Judah preaching a sermon at another church in North Carolina. And then I went to the blog promoting the book. I watched several “60 second” video spot promotions. Judah Smith is a passionate teacher and  communicator. He has numerous supporters and business people on his team as noted by the successful marketing of a product…his book. I’m not discounting this at all. It shows another side of Judah Smith, the business man, and it shows the backing he has from his sponsor.

Here is my review:

Judah’s winsome personality, combined with his story-telling skills will attract a certain age group and audience that will appreciate his sappy humor and trendy vernacular.  He does jump around a bit and I agree with his personal assessment which he noted in the introduction: “The walls of my brain are covered with sticky notes. And the sticky notes are filled with scribbles. And the scribbles are highlighted in multiple neon colors.”  If you’re wanting a deep theological book about Jesus, this is not the book for you.

However, the truth about Jesus does not require deep theological teaching. The simple, yet profound truth is, “A moment with Jesus changes everything.” I enjoyed reading and imagining Judah retelling the story of Zacchaeus, the parable of the Prodigal Son, and House of Hypocrites. (confessions of the preacher) to name just a few.

Here’s the real deal. The seeker that reads this book doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. Judah paints a great story of truth on a blank canvas. The colors of this story are so vibrant and magnificent that it captures the eye to read more. The reader is humored and challenged at the same time. Judah is more than real with sharing a piece of his life, admitting his mistakes, and revealing personal conflicts.

And then it happens…the hammer! This is when Judah nails it. The jolt of a statement like a hammer hitting a nail into a hard block of wood. Judah hammers the truth of the gospel.

The Bible says that salvation is a gift. It’s free. We don’t need to clean up our acts before we approach God. We don’t need to make a sacrifice or pay for our sins. We receive forgiveness by faith, which simply means we choose to believe that Jesus dies in our place. I know it sounds too good to be true. That’s why it’s called grace. And that’s who Jesus is.

In Conclusion:

The book is full of cheesy humor and good story telling with a strong punch line. If you are offended by trendy words and a creative paraphrase of a few choice Bible stories, then this book may not be for you. However, if you have a friend that wants to know who Jesus is, then buy a book for you and your friend and read it together. Tell your friend who Jesus is to you! Help your friend discover how to fill in the blank: Jesus is ______.

I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson through BookSneeze for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”