Saturday, April 19, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: I like giving, but I don't care for the book ...

If you enjoy stories about giving that pluck at your heart strings, you might like the book "I Like Giving" by Brad Formsma (published by WaterBrook Press). But if you want a book about giving that has more breadth and depth to it than just that, this is not the book for you.

"I Like Giving" is full of short stories about people giving to others in various ways ... and that's about it. Although published by a Christian publisher, you won't find any biblical teaching or direction about giving in this book. No theology of giving, not even a coherent philosophy about giving. The closest thing to that would be the idea that "giving makes you feel great, so make it a lifestyle!" There is one sentence that hints at scripture, "I heard it said that a person with a good heart cares for windows and orphans," but that's about as "Christian" as this book gets.

I suspect the purpose of printing this book was to build broader awareness of the ilikegiving.com website created by the author. In a 200-page book, it wasn't until I was 152-pages into reading this paperback before I discovered something that might be a stated motivation for writing this book ...

"A simple story can be refreshing and empowering. Stories connect people, and they give people permission to try new things. I call it the power of story. Telling giving stories can center people on what matters most and bring them back to a healthy balance in life. The cultural current often pulls us in the direction of self-focused living and empty materialism. If we do nothing, we just drift along with it. Giving stories can help us avoid that drift and move us toward doing things for others instead," Formsma writes.

So "I Like Giving" is more like the "rah-rah" of a cheerleader for giving, somewhat fun with some warm-hearted motivation, but little else. That's a shame, when the concept of giving has far more significance to it than something it encourages without providing any real understanding of the purpose and value of generosity. Instead, we get a one sentence paragraph by the author that simply states, "Remember, giving is for you --- it gives you life."

There is almost a  subtle selfish tone running through the book, as the writer routinely points out to his readers how good giving makes you feel. Additionally, the author encourages his readers to share their stories about giving, something the Bible discourages (Mt. 6:1-4).

One of the best books I've read in the last year was a book on the topic of giving; "I Like Giving" is on the opposite end of value for books of that subject nature. I really do like giving, I just don't find much to recommend about "I Like Giving."

Scotty

I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their 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: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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