OK, I'm not talking the birds and the bees. When I speak about the facts of life it's more about those realities that explain life as it is. These books aren't deep theology or biblical exposition. They're not fiction thrillers or romance novels. Non-fiction is their broad literary genre and they'll be found at the book store in varied topical aisles. I didn't read them because they were popular or even interesting. They landed on my Nook because they helped me understand what is going on in the world around me.
There's this thing called truth. As an evangelical Christian I believe all truth is God's truth. In the mystery of his ways he reveals truth to his people according to his divine purpose in his chosen time. If Scripture is correct unbelievers cannot fathom the spiritual reality of his truth---
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are
folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually
1 Corinthians 2:14, ESV
At the same time, people do often trip across the truth without recognizing or acknowledging it as God's. For them, what they have uncovered may be a great discovery, invention, or underlying principle. And, in essence, that's the appeal of these five books. They disclose clues about what makes like work. And, there are millions more like them in some respect. Here are five notable books about the facts of life---
1. Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky
Saul Alinsky (1909-1972) is considered the father of the community
organization school of political activism. Reading Rules for Radicals helped me
to understand some of the anomalies of our times---the Jefferson City riots, the
Baltimore destruction, even the recent congressional sit-in about gun control.
It is the playbook for political activists and the strategy by which liberal and
radical politics shape minority opinion. Of course, I totally disagree with the
political premise upon which Alinsky constructed his community organization
principles. But, knowing it has helped me understand much of what is
happening around us.
2. The Crowd by Gustave LeBon
This book is subtitled The Study of the Popular Mind and was published in 1895.
LeBon was a French social scientist who studied crowd psychology and group
dynamics. The Crowd is a fascinating study of how people are influenced when
they become part of a multitude. There are applications of LeBon's conclusions
to national identity, politics, education, religion, and individual development.
Football games, concerts, political rallies, and even church at times was a little
more understandable after reading this one several years ago.
3. The Likability Factor by Tim Sanders
Sanders, a former Yahoo executive and current consultant to Fortune 500
companies is among the most sought after motivational speakers in America.
He has published five books, The Likability Factor being released on the heels of
his best seller Love is the Killer App. The premise of The Likability Factor is simple:
likable people are more effective at nearly everything than unlikable people. He
explains the four elements of likability and discusses practical ways to raise
your personal L-factor. It's an excellent primer about human relationships.
4. Managing the Non-profit Organization by Peter Drucker
Drucker (1909-2005) was a management and leadership legend. He is credited
with the line "management is doing things right, leadership is doing the right
things". It may be apocryphal, but he's also credited with explaining the four
toughest jobs in America---President of the United States, university president,
hospital president, and pastor. This book makes a clear distinction between
managing in the for profit sector and the non-profit sector. As a former banker
and hospital financial administrator this book was helpful in learning the
unique character of a non-profit system.
5. StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
Psalm 139 is a poignant and powerful expression of God's wiring of humans.
We are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (v.14). The StrengthsFinder system
was developed by Gallup Leadership chief Donald Clifton to assist individuals in
discovering their personal strengths. The central thought is that we all will be
more effective in everything we do if we are operating in the areas of our
endowments. So, strength discovery is essential. This is the book I've given
away most frequently in the past fifteen years. In my opinion, strengths theory
touches everything in life---work, marriage, relationships, service, and personal
Yes, life is often mysterious. Sometimes we simply don't understand what is happening around us or why things are the way they are. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians---
Look at what is before your eyes.
2 Corinthians 10:7, ESV
Sometimes the answers are right in front of us. Sometimes the facts of life are right there in a book.