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.]
The main motive for the explosive growth of Christianity in the first 3 centuries was primarily that pagans were impressed that Christians healed the sick and cast out evil spirits. It’s extraordinary and ironic that the scientific world is opening up to belief in prayer, while many Christian theologians remain skeptical. We have too frequently turned the good news into good advice. We are tempted to preach law rather than grace. There is something in us that makes us want to find the right technique for every task. Serenity is a sign of trust and sureness.
Our individual initiatives are central to his will for us. I am distressed at how often people identify some brutal event as God’s will—even when it clearly came from a decision made by human beings. All human troubles come from thinking of God wrongly, which means thinking about ourselves wrongly. We come to understand God through immersion with him in his work. Character development rather than direction is the primary purpose of the Father. Our failure to hear God has its deepest roots in a failure to understand, accept and grow into a conversational relationship. Most conversation between God and us is to help us understand things. We need considerable experience in order to learn how to accurately recognize and assess the meanings of impressions. When our lives are devoted to the will of God, he has reason to speak to us. God is not looking for a holy place. Places are holy because He is there. We only know what Man is when God dwells in him. Our world is the crucible of soul making--only risk produces character He expects and trusts us to choose and goes with us in our choices. Faith is not opposed to knowledge but to sight. And grace is not opposed to effort but to earning. We are required to “bet our life” that the visible world is not reality itself. Today, as God’s trusting apprentices in the kingdom of the heavens, we live on the Emmaus Road, so to speak.
God never gave up on his original plan for human beings to dwell on Earth. God promises to those who follow Jesus a resurrected life in a resurrected body with the resurrected Christ on a resurrected Earth. Heaven isn’t an extrapolation of earthly thinking; Earth is an extension of Heaven. Rather than ignore our imagination, we should fuel it with Scripture. The present Earth is as much a valid reference point for envisioning the New Earth as our present bodies are a valid reference point for envisioning our new bodies. What we call heaven is life in a perfect world as God intended humanity to live it. Perhaps the whole creation came under our curse because it was all under our stewardship. Nothing is more often misdiagnosed than our homesickness for Heaven. What we love about this life are the things that resonate with the life we were made for. The King will delight to entrust the rule of the nations to those who served him faithfully when Earth lived under sin’s shadow.
Hooked - How to Build Habit-forming Products
ICT companies are using neuroscience to shape users’ habits in profitable ways. Variable rewards are one of the most powerful tools companies implement to hook users. Technology’s unstoppable progress—ever more pervasive and persuasive—influences us in a trinity of access, data, and speed. Many innovations fail because consumers irrationally overvalue the old while companies irrationally overvalue the new. People declare preferences far different from what they actually do. We never know how generous people can be until we begin to serve them imaginatively.
Hope of the Gospel
[C. S. Lewis spoke of George MacDonald as the one he is most eager to meet in heaven.] The cause of every man’s discomfort is evil. Obedience is the soul of knowledge. The Lord cannot save a man from his sins while he holds to his sins. The greatest mercy that can be shown to man, is to make him merciful.
Hosting the Presence: Unveiling Heaven's Agenda
Learning to host the Presence of God is the Christian life. What generation will host Him until the kingdom of this world becomes the Kingdoms of our Lord and Christ? God’s judgments are aimed at that which interferes with love. His dream: those made in His image, who worship Him by choice, who carry His Presence into all the earth. He still requires that primary advancements in the Kingdom be made through childlikeness. Barrenness results from despising worship. We are relevant when we become what the world longs for. Jesus got His direction by seeing faith in another person. Consciousness of Presence increases our impact on the world around us. My strongest tool for discovering God’s Presence is my affection for Him. God wanted to make an exchange—His increased presence for my dignity.
House of Morgan
The Morgan story is the story of modern finance itself. Pierpont Morgan exercised powers that today are dispersed among vast global banking conglomerates.
How Children Succeed
[This book summarizes the latest data which show the few important ingredients in character formation and the one most important to education quality.] The GED has become a test that separates bright but nonpersistent and undisciplined dropouts from other dropouts. Students’ self-discipline scores were better predictors of their final GPAs than IQ scores. Early parental care predicted which students would graduate more reliably than IQ or achievement-test scores. Whether or not intelligence is malleable, mindset certainly is. Very rarely do kids have an experience in life of losing when it is entirely in their control. You simply don’t experience flow if you aren’t good at something. High school grades reveal qualities of motivation and perseverance. The most reliable way to produce an adult who is brave, curious, kind, and prudent is to protect him from serious trauma and chronic stress; then provide him with a secure, nurturing relationship with at least one parent and ideally two. Education reformers have mostly united around one specific issue: teacher quality.
How Everything became War and War became Everything
[This book provides the best understanding of the “War on Terror” and its implications on our way of life that I’ve found.] Americans consistently say they trust the military more than any other public institution. If your only functioning government institution is the military, everything looks like a war— and when everything looks like war, everything looks like a military mission. The nature of war abhors a vacuum. It expands until everything and everyone is subsumed by it. It has often been our best instincts, not our worst that have led us to do harm in the world. Law is an optimistic enterprise--the conviction that law can reach into the very heart of darkness, and make us better than we have so far proven to be. When Congress cedes power to the executive branch, it rarely comes back. The core notion of the rule of law is that all power must be constrained by law. Civilian officials want a military that costs less but provides more, that stays deferentially out of strategy discussions but remains eternally available to ride to the rescue.
How Google Works
The Google story serves as a compendium of management “how to’s” and thinking in the Internet Century. It’s written by the founders of the most valuable company in the history of the world (adding up all the subsidiaries and breakoffs) which grew from an idea in just 15 years.
How We Decide
Even though we are defined by our decisions, we are often completely unaware of what’s happening inside our heads during the decision making process. The mind contains 2 distinct thinking systems, one that is rational and deliberate and another that is quick, effortless, and emotional. The key to making decisions is knowing when to rely on which system. Emotions reflect an enormous amount of invisible analysis. Intelligent intuition is the result of deliberate practice. Proverbs are short sentences drawn from long experience. The most effective way to get better is to focus on your mistakes. An expert has made all the mistakes that can be made in a narrow field. Loss aversion explains why, since 1926, the annual return on stocks after inflation has been 6.4% while less than 0.5% on Treasury bills. People who are more rational don’t perceive emotions less, they just regulate them better by thinking about them. Statistics fail to activate our moral emotions. Those who are most certain are almost certainly wrong; the dominant danger is hubris. Be aware of the kind of decision you are making and the kind of thought process it requires.
You still have your senses intact; in fact, all your senses seem turbocharged and multiplied. What I experienced in heaven was so real and so lucid and so utterly intense, it made my experiences on Earth seem hazy and out of focus—as if heaven is the reality and life as we know it is just a dream. The whole point of this life is the creation of a spiritual family for God. I had instant access to everything you’ve ever said or thought or felt or written or believed in your life: past, present, and future. God created Earth in the image of Heaven, just as he created mankind in his image. God has a fantastic sense of humor; I never laughed so much in all my life. Everything seemed to produce its own light. Jesus was speaking inside my mind and I was answering with a rapidity that can only be imagined. The highlight of many NDEs is this mystical Being of Light who fills them with a love beyond imagination. Love requires freedom, risk, and choice. Even in Heaven, God accomplishes his will through freewill cooperation of angels. You’ll never be bored!
The innovator’s dilemma: the logical, competent decisions of management that are critical to their success are also the reasons why they lose their positions of leadership. There is a strategic distinction between sustaining technologies and those that are disruptive. They found it difficult to improve profitability by hacking out cost. Sound managerial decisions are at the very root of the impending fall from industry lead-ership. A company’s customers effectively control what it can and cannot do. Successful ventures and failures conserve enough resources so that new business initiatives get a 2nd or 3rd stab at getting it right. Plan for learning rather than for implementation. When the capabilities reside in processes, values, and culture, change can be very difficult. Disruptive technology heralds a change in the basis of competition.]
Inside Trump's White House
Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see. “I value the opinions of those I love and work with. Anyone else? It’s all noise.” Because of the Russian investigation the media didn’t cover the[(deregulation] policy changes. The country was blind to what we were doing, and we were able to jump-start the economy. The most significant consequence of deregulation was America’s surprise emergence as an energy-independent nation. A different language is a different vision of life. Trump increased the metabolism of Washington. Things happened faster. On NAFTA, China, North Korea, the Israeli embassy, American held hostages abroad, a stronger NATO, energy independence, and taxes on companies, will we ever go back?
Institutes of the Christian Religion
The sum of true wisdom consists almost entirely of the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves. The will, when it was free, made itself the slave of sin. God is the only fountain of truth. By our own ingratitude, we obscure and impair divine grace. The grace which he bestows upon us, inasmuch as he makes it our own, he recompenses as if the virtuous acts were our own. The Law remains, that, by teaching, admonishing, rebuking, and correcting, it may fit and prepare us for every good work. The nature of each is instantly discerned when we look to the principle of the commandment as its end. Omitting the First Table, [the prophets] insist on faith, judgment, mercy, and equity. Nor do they, in this way, omit the fear of God. They only require a serious proof of it from its signs. The Son of man received what is ours to transfer to us what is his, making that which is his by nature to become ours by grace].