Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Book: "There's More To Life Than Making a Living"

Title: There's More to Life Than Making a Living
Author: Jack C McDowell
Published: NY: FaithWords, 2009.

Life is more than simply making a living. Many people will agree with it. Some people simply talk about it. Few however, go beyond just doing something about it. Jack McDowell lets his life speaks for itself through 6 principles honed from his experiences. They are:

  1. First find your calling;
  2. Second, always be learning from your experiences;
  3. Acquire Habits that build character;
  4. Discover the joy of generosity;
  5. Build relationships for life;
  6. Do not retire.
For McDowell, he begins at a tender young age of 13, with a prayer to God:
"Help me, dear Father in heaven, to find a significant purpose for my life." (xii)
Reflecting back, he was able to say:
"I believe many people find a purpose for their lives without finding significance. They master certain skills, apply them effectively, and perhaps reap a harvest of success. But in moments of quiet honesty, they have a nagging feeling of emptiness. Something is missing." (xvii)
McDowell first discovered his gift of fund-raising when he single handedly raised money for a small town, small club facility. From one opportunity to another, he was given bigger and bigger roles to raise funds for various causes. One of the biggest beneficiaries is the Salvation Army, where McDowell raises millions of dollars for the charity.

The First Three Foundational Principles
All of them have to do with self-identity, character formation and life long habits. One's calling is connected in 2 ways. Firstly, to discover one's unique gifts. Secondly, to use the gifts for the benefit of others. The second principle deals with the hard knocks of life. It is not all smooth sailing for McDowell. Yet, he possesses a special ability to learn from his mistakes and the bad news that comes upon him. With hard work and humility, he even has to re-set the 165 posts that were mistakenly placed. He learns stewardship as one of the byproducts of success. He learns even from unlikely sources, even from his boyhood 'antagonists.' He is able to learn from his mistakes because of his focus on building character rather than expecting comfort.

The Last Three Essentials
These final principles deal more with relationships and sustaining the process of partnering with others and sharing. True relationships are build when people partner and give to one another's needs. A generous heart is important. So is an ability to share successes. Never stop making friends and building each other up. Never retire.

My Comments
This is a book that tries to achieve multiple goals. It is a book about calling, about the importance of learning to discover one's own identity in God. It is a book about leadership, how leaders need to maintain a life of character and integrity. It is a book about looking out for others, and to care and share one's possessions with people around us. It is a book that urges readers not to retire from such work. A calling is never terminated when one leaves his or her job. It is always present. One finds his calling when talents and passions match opportunities to serve others. One's entire life is thus geared to fulfill this purpose. Jack McDowell has found his calling to help people through fund-raising, through sharing of his life experiences and through teaching and mentoring.

For the busy person, this book is a welcome read with its concise message and easy to understand applications. Filled with stories from McDowell's life, the book contains many practical tips on leadership. It encourages young readers to start living a life of significance now. Don't wait.

A simple and elegant book, with short chapters but long in applications. Great read from a humble man of faith.

This book is available at your favourite bookstores.

A FaithWords publisher Reviewer.


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