I know I say this about most books, but this is a good one. Certainly not a "theology" book or a book "about God" in any way, but one that is very helpful nonetheless. Denzel Washington has collected 73 stories from people such as Hank Aaron, Muhammed Ali, Yogi Berra, Jimmy Carter, Jamie Farr (M*A*S*H*), Jackie Joyner Kersie, Cal Ripken, Ruben Studdard, Dick Vitale, John Wooden, Bob Woodward, James Worthy and a host of others. Each chapter is a 3-4 page story of their influences in life and who has influenced them the most. You'll read about predictable influences such as teachers, coaches, parents, etc. Each in their own unique way talking about how those people shaped and made a difference in the success that they now enjoy.
Denzel closes the book with this:
It's an incredible thing, the human spirit. It's what keeps us teaching, ever upward, and as I flip through these pages one last time I'm reminded of the powerful role we can play in someone else's life. The good people you've heard from here have all benefited from a guiding hand or two or three. They've been on the receiving end of some profound words of wisdom, or they've patterned their lives after men and women of principle. They've seen one good turn and helped it blossom into another. or they've made a mistake and managed to learn from it and move on. And that's the great lesson we can all take with us as we set this book aside and return to our lives. Keep open--to possibility, to opportunity, to wonder--or remain forever shut off to the encouraging outcomes that await us all. Change happens. The key is to keep reaching for that guiding hand and to keep extending our own. So go ahead. Train up a child in the way he should go...and watch what happens.
Now that is a great quote. But there is one thing absent from this book and from that summary. So I feel compelled to include it here. The guiding hand that very few in the book mention and very few of us ever give credit to is the sovereign, omnipotent, almighty hand of the living God and His son Jesus Christ. God orchestrates the people he will put in our path and he directs our paths from our youth. I wish the book would have closed with this, I think it would have been more appropriate:
"Then HE led out his people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.HE led them in safety, so they were not afraid, but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.And HE brought them to his holy land, to the mountain which his right hand had won.HE drove out the nations before them; he apportioned for them a possession and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents." Psalms 78: 52-55