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I publish WendellNotes for significant books I read to make their perspective available to friends and GIN subscribers who may not otherwise have time for them. Before I started writing WendellNotes in 2011, book notes were part of my Journal. [Brackets separate my comments from the author's.]

Coaching is management. Effective leaders create a sound strategy, recruit good people, lead by example, adapt to changing conditions, honor their commitments, admit their mistakes, and take responsibility for their failures. Confidence is earned with work, time, and dedication. Winning is a by-product of the process. Positive reinforcement is crucial to team building.

There are 8 conundrums—the Big 8. Christians believe in 5 things: God exists; God is good, God is all-powerful; God is all-wise; and evil exists. The overwhelming majority of pain in the world is caused by our choices. The universe is a soul-making machine. The point of our lives in this world isn’t comfort, but training and preparation for eternity. Suffering is the single greatest challenge to the Christian faith. We find ‘irreducible complexity’ in nature—organisms that could not have evolved. The origin of life is the Achilles heel of evolution. God makes sense of the universe’s origin & complexity, objective moral values & the Resurrection. People assume that what’s wrong for us is wrong for God. Every religion seeks to answer 4 questions: Origin, meaning, morality, and destiny.

Download this file (Case for Faith2.pdf)Case for Faith214 kB

Truth without grace is not really truth, and grace without truth is not really grace. Any religion that de-emphasizes either falls into legalism or license. The concept of idolatry helps people understand their own drivenness, fear, addictions, lack of integrity, envy of others, and resentment in theological terms. Depicting sin as an act of misplaced love, not just a violation of law, is more compelling to many in our culture today. God ties the fortunes of the people of God to the effectiveness of their urban ministry. In Acts the church is associated with the city. If the gospel is unfolded at the urban center, you can effectively reach the region and the surrounding society. The city we see in Revelation 22:1-3 is the same garden we see in  Genesis. When God’s will is finally done and Jesus fulfills the cultural mandate on our behalf, the Garden of Eden becomes a garden city. One of the best ways to reach a region and country is to reach your own city. The kingdom of God means renewal of the world through the introduction of supernatural forces, not through political power. A person is too rich and multifaceted to be fully known one-on-one. We need to see him/her with others in a community environment. Everyone recognizes that the plight of children is part of the deep injustice of our world that we are duty bound to help improve.

Download this file (Center Church2.pdf)Center Church195 kB

The biggest mistakes in my career came from missing big market moves that hadn’t happened in my lifetime but had happened many times before. The British Empire generally occupied the countries in its empire while the American Empire has controlled more via rewards and threats. Human productivity is the most important force in causing the world’s total wealth, power, and living standards to rise over time, always rising for the same reasons—the quality of people’s education, inventiveness, work ethic, and economic systems to turn ideas into output. Capital markets allow people to convert their savings into investments to fund innovation and development. The human propensity to choose short-term enjoyment over long-term well-being exaggerates the highs and lows of the cycle because it pulls the good times forward at the expense of the future by creating the debt boom and bust cycle. The ability to make money, save it, and put it into capital (i.e., capitalism) is an effective motivator of people and allocator of resources that raises people’s living standards. Money and credit are the biggest influences on how wealth and power rise and decline, and along with debt, and economic activity, are inherently cyclical. All markets are primarily driven by growth, inflation, risk premiums, and discount rates. Interactions between what governments want to happen and what is actually happening drive the cycles. Equity markets allow savers to effectively transfer their buying power to entrepreneurs who could put it to productive and profitable use. The invention of capitalism was a key reason behind the shift from slow real GDP growth to faster growth.

Who you become is determined by how you pray. Imagination is the pathway of prayer. All of God’s promises have been transferred to us via Jesus Christ. Even when we die, our prayers don’t. If you haven’t written down your goals, you haven’t really set them. Journaling is the difference between learning and remembering.

Download this file (Circle Maker.pdf)Circle Maker157 kB

Appointments, if from Christ, are to the Body of Christ, not to a denomination. Every believer has a ‘5-fold’ ministry. He never gave anyone titles. Not giving titles such as elder and deacon in a local congregation leaves a people in a better and happier state. The elders are the spiritual guardians of the city, the gates of the city of God, the church.  The historic mixing of Christian churches and their leaders with Masons, a highly occultic secret society, is called syncretism--a doctrine of demons. The reason many believers experience sickness is because they do not pray for the unity of the church. No-one may be an apostle without a specific and extraordinary calling by Christ.

Download this file (City Gate .pdf)City Gate185 kB

Business can drive both profits and wider mutual benefits to people and the planet through understanding and managing multiple forms of capital--human, social, natural, and shared financial capital. In business you only manage what you measure. Entrepreneurial freedom is a key reasons why the Maua program has comparatively little attrition compared to other social types of businesses that exert more control over the route-to-market. It is now possible—for the first time—to define and measure “new” types of nonfinancial capital: specifically, human, social, and natural. The model delivers more value with less investment and overhead than is typical in more orthodox businesses. A mutuality-based business can outperform a profit maximization business.

Thomas [Sowell described this as his most important work.] A vision is our sense of how the world works--of causation. Language is the epitome of an evolved complex order without deliberate design by any individual or council. Changing historically evolved principles on the basis of "social science" theories or studies has become the hallmark of modem social thinkers with the unconstrained vision. Nations may grow and evolve but cannot be built. The key criteria for distinguishing constrained and unconstrained visions are the locus and mode of discretion. Like freedom and justice, equality is a process characteristic in the constrained vision and a result characteristic in the unconstrained vision. The disagreement between them is over what is to be equalized. Wherever the free market has been permitted to operate, the ordinary man has been able to attain levels of living never dreamed of before. Ignorance and inequality go hand in hand. The moral justification of the market process rests on the general prosperity and freedom it produces. In the constrained vision, each new generation born is an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late. It is to the evolved systemic processes--traditions, values, families, markets, for example--that those with the constrained vision look for the preservation and advancement of human life. In modem market economies the rich usually owe their prosperity to activities which have widened the choices of their fellow men, including those of the poor. Justice derived its importance from the need to preserve society--not society its raison d'etre from the need to produce justice. The concept of social justice thus represents the extremes of the conflict of visions. Each vision has assumed away the primary concern of the other--whether process characteristics or goal characteristics is more important. The greatest danger of the concept of social justice that it undermines and destroys the concept of a rule of law.

Download this file (Conflict of Visions.pdf)Conflict of VIsions203 kB

[Hayek was the economist guru of Reagan and Thatcher’s economic policy.] Liberty is not merely one particular value but the source and condition of most moral values. Most advantages of social lives rest on the fact that each individual benefits from more knowledge than he is aware of and profits from knowledge he does not himself possess. The forms of conduct which we follow without knowing why are called “traditions” and “institutions.” The benefits I derive from freedom are largely the result of the uses of freedom by others. Freedom of action is as important as freedom of thought. The rapid economic advance we have come to expect results from equality and is impossible without it. Even the poorest today owe their relative material well-being to the results of past inequality. There is nothing more arduous than the apprenticeship of liberty. The argument for liberty applies only to those who can be held responsible. Democracy is a process of forming opinion. Advance consists in the few convincing the many. The first maxim of a free state is that the laws be made by one set of men and administered by another. It is the cases that never come before the courts that are the measure of the certainty of the law. The kind of state that aims at “social justice” becomes primarily a redistributor of income. No system of monopolistic compulsory insurance has resisted this transformation--a majority of takers who decide what they will take from a wealthier minority.

Download this file (Constitution of Liberty.pdf)Constitution of Liberty280 kB

Grace is everywhere. The task is to become aware of what He is doing so that I can respond. Joy is the capacity to hear and recognize that God is here. Leisure is a quality of spirit, not a quantity of time. Grace operating in a person keeps him in touch with the living God. Any job done well requires everything that is in us. After my sabbatical, the experience of my maturity is now coupled with the energy of my youth. Use words with reverence.

Download this file (Contemplative Pastor2.pdf)Contemplative Pastor171 kB

Under Coolidge, the federal debt fell, the top income tax rate came down by half to 35%, the federal budget was always in surplus, and unemployment dropped under 3%. He treated economic weakness by raising interest rates 300%, cutting tax rates, and halving the federal government. The New Englander’s winters revealed the terrifying price of not living within one’s means. It is difficult for men in high office to avoid the malady of self-delusion. They are always surrounded by worshipers. In 1923 about ¾ of federal costs had to do with war in one way or another.]

Download this file (Coolidge2.pdf)Coolidge147 kB

The stronger the emotion, the more clearly an experience is learned. Most people really don’t know why they do the things they do. You never get a second chance to have a first impression. Though we are the richest country in the world, at the reptilian level we consider ourselves poor. There is a significant difference, in the American mind, between shopping and buying.

Download this file (Culture Code2.pdf)Culture Code 2194 kB

Build Safety. Share Vulnerability. Establish Purpose. Safety is the foundation on which strong culture is built. We are built to require lots of signaling. This is why a sense of belonging is easy to destroy and hard to build. When an idea becomes part of a language, it becomes the default thinking. Deciding who’s in and who’s out is the most powerful signal any group sends. Laughter is the most fundamental sign of safety and connection. Food is part of our core business. The most important moments in conversation happen when one person is actively, intently listening. Stories are the best invention for delivering mental models that drive behavior. One of the best measures of any group’s culture is its learning velocity—how quickly it improves its performance of a new skill. We are all paid to solve problems. Pick fun people to solve problems with.

This book develops the theme of how culture contributed to the modern economy. It supports the notion of a useful balance between the positive energy from competing laboratories of national governments on one hand and the economies of scale of globalism on the other--along with its repressive effect of uniformity and conformance.

The drivers of technological progress and eventually economic performance were attitude and aptitude. It is a hallmark of open and culturally dynamic societies that all authorities are contestable and subject to continuous critique and scrutiny. The proliferation of successful entrepreneurs is a telltale sign of well-functioning markets. Aristotle’s lasting insight was that knowledge was a collective activity, a social phenomenon, to be organized and distributed. The ubiquity of the printing press made a mockery out of the prohibitions  of books. In Europe, over the long term, the innovators defeated conservatism. This did not happen anywhere else. What emerged in medieval Europe, is that political fragmentation coupled with intellectual and cultural unity. This unique combination of political fragmentation with the pan-European institution of the Republic of Letters holds the key to the dramatic intellectual changes after 1500. The “invention of the merit yardstick” as a measure of intellectual worth was a radical innovation. What was new was a scientific community that recognized the experimental method and the replication of experimental results as a powerful means of persuasion. Our modern scientific utilitarianism is the offspring of Bacon and Puritanism. The idea of progress proved consonant with Western Christianity in ways that eluded Islam and Judaism. Many societies we associate with technological stasis were full of highly skilled artisans, not least of all Southern and Eastern Asia. The technological revolutions that brought the world economic growth and prosperity were not the result of either artisanal ingenuity or scientific method and discovery, but the confluence of the 2. The timing suggests that the causality ran primarily from cultural change to the growth of useful knowledge, and not the reverse. The Enlightenment invented the concept of data. The dynamics of competition in a market economy are such that in the long run, the few drag along the many. Why did the Chinese society in the 8th century A.D. favor science as compared with Western society, and that of the 18th century A.D. inhibit it? Only when Europe began to apply systematic research in propositional knowledge to production did the balance tilt in its direction. The Chinese experience illustrates the fact that a competitive and open market for ideas was not the only road to progress in useful knowledge, it was just the most sustainable and effective one. Most Chinese thinkers thought that the past was better than the present. The historical irony is that prosperity as it was experienced after 1750 required creative destruction, the very opposite of social and economic stability. The divergence between Europe and China caused the bases of technology to become eventually ever wider. Some techniques— most famously in shipbuilding and clock making— seem to have fallen into disuse and disappeared in China. In only one case did an accumulation of knowledge become sustained and self-propelling to the point of becoming explosive and changing the material basis of human existence more thoroughly and more rapidly than anything before in the history of humans on this planet. That one instance occurred in Western Europe during and after the Industrial Revolution--a community that combines pluralism and competition with a coordination mechanism that allows knowledge to be distributed and shared, and hence challenged, corrected, and supplemented.

Download this file (Culture of Growth2.pdf)Culture of Growth229 kB

Life flows through honor. The disheartening cycle of great outpourings that gradually return to business as usual shows a lack of understanding of the 5-fold ministry. A dualistic worldview separates knowledge from experience. Prosperity comes through our agreements with Heaven’s culture. We are confined to our earthly limitations when our senior leaders are teachers, pastors, administrators, and evangelists have not been hooked up to the flow of anointing and revelation in an apostolic government. Free will made evil possible. Free people are difficult to lead. We must establish both an environment for others to gain freedom and a government for them to keep it. We are spiritual conductors and create an atmosphere, a reality, a spirit around us. There is an order for leadership that sustains the flow of heavenly reality, of grace. The skill of combining honor and confrontation is key to sustaining an environment of grace. Gentleness does not mean nice or polite. It means belief that “I do not need to control you.” Power is given to the one who made the mess.  No one will be able to clean up a mess you have made as well as you can. A confrontation is an examination. “Workers of miracles” is another description for the role of the evangelist in an apostolic government.  

Download this file (Culture of Honor3.pdf)Culture of Honor227 kB