Book Review: Trust by Henry Cloud

Book Review: Trust by Dr. Henry Cloud

Are you tired of broken promises, shattered trust, and unreliable relationships? Look no further than Dr. Henry Cloud’s latest best-seller, “Trust: Knowing When to Give It, When to Withhold It, How to Earn It, and How to Fix It When It Gets Broken,” for a comprehensive blueprint on how to cultivate and restore trust in all aspects of life.

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Book Review: The Self-Evolved Leader by Dave McKeown

Book Review: The Self-Evolved Leader by Dave McKeown

Brené Brown. Stephen Covey. Jim Loehr. Cal Newport. Carol Dweck. Simon Sinek. Michael Hyatt. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Henry Cloud. Whether they have opened your eyes to view vulnerability as courage, motivated you to find your why, or advocated for you to set clear boundaries with others, each of these best-selling authors and speakers has shifted the way leaders think about and approach leadership.

Imagine if there were ONE book where themes of vulnerability, authenticity, mindset, purpose, clarity, communication, and boundaries all came together to paint a complete portrait of an effective and influential twenty-first century leader. Would you be interested?

Enter The Self-Evolved Leader: Elevate Your Focus and Develop Your People in a World That Refuses to Slow Down by Dave McKeown. In this single volume, the principles taught by each of the aforementioned authors has been distilled and synthesized into a coherent and comprehensive model for personal leadership development and team management.

The Self-Evolved Leader is a “How to Lead” manual for managers and directors in charge of teams (size doesn’t matter).

It is a GPS for people on a mission to develop their own leadership abilities whether they are leading a team or aspire to do so. Maybe they are lifelong learners like me and can’t get enough of leadership theory, or maybe they are suddenly thrust into a leadership position and feel unequal to the task ahead of them, or maybe they were never taught healthy leadership principles from their senior staff.

McKeown takes readers through a step-by-step process to discover “their authentic leadership calling, create a vision for a better world, and build the framework and structure needed to chart the course (p. 2).” And the framework and structure are legit.

The Self-Evolved Leader includes an actual  90-day plan to begin implementing what you’ve learned. He literally tells you what to do each day so that by the time you’re done with the 90-days, you will have set in place a roadmap for yourself and your team that you repeat each quarter.

McKeown rejects the industrial era model of teamwork (“a cog in a well-oiled machine”) and instead posits that teams in the twenty-first century function more like cells in organisms.

“The interactions are more amorphous, the nature of work is more prone to change, and the individuals are connected by more than the mere interlinking teeth of a cog or spoke. There’s a stronger degree of interdependence of connection and of symbiosis. Each person is uniquely individual and at the same time part of the whole. Each person is connected by more than the pursuit of a common goal; they are connected by a sense of shared humanity.”  

(p. 37)

The author’s description of a “self-evolved” leader really resonates with me because it’s exactly who I strive to be. This type of person is someone who accepts responsibility for their own growth. They demonstrate vulnerability and regularly practice empathy which strengthens their connection with the team. This leader is clear on boundaries and daily chooses to stay in their own lane. 

Smiling personal health coach sitting in an office and talking to a woman

According to McKeown, when a person adopts the self-evolved leadership approach, they will focus their activities, decisions, and interactions on helping team members achieve their goals and become the best version of themselves.

He lays out three essential elements which increase the self-evolved leader’s impact on the team: (1) creating a shared vision; (2) establishing a “pulse” and a variety of vantage points from which to assess progress; and (3) key disciplines to adopt in order to have long-lasting impact. He does this by not only suggesting what the elements are, but also by detailing HOW to implement each one. It’s like a road map for how to lead your team over the course of the next year. Literally. 

McKeown has identified eleven“key disciplines” (six micro disciplines and five core disciplines) essential for every self-evolved leader. He lays out a 90-day plan to help the reader practice what they are learning and hone their leadership skills. 

The author takes a methodological approach to explaining the five core disciplines. He describes the importance of the discipline, shares the benefits of it, and then answers the question “why is it so hard?” He then offers a proven “how to” strategy to spur you towards growth in that area. 

The Self-Evolved Leader is packed with helpful tips, strategies, and methodologies for implementation based on the latest research and best practices in leadership accepted across sectors. I highly recommend it for anyone currently leading a team and anyone interested in moving into leadership at their organization. 

If you are interested in purchasing this book based on my review, I’d appreciate it if you use my Amazon link:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 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.”

Images properly licensed through Envato.

Book Review: “Detours” by Dr. Tony Evans

Book Review: "Detours" by Tony Evans

Detours: The Unpredictable Path to Your Destiny is the first book I’ve read by Dr. Tony Evans, and I experienced two distinct reactions to it: resonance and repulsion. I’m happy to report that the good definitely outweighed the bad, and I learned a few practical tips to help discern God’s hand in my life. 

I think the book was written for people who, like me, have felt as if they’d been called to do something specific and purposeful, waited for YEARS, and have yet to see the vision become reality. (I blogged about that here and here.)

Resonance – What I Loved about Detours 

Detours is an in-depth case study of the life of Joseph (based on Genesis 37-50) packed with impactful insights, practical advice, and encouragement to weary Christ followers to stay the course and finish the race marked out before us.

When your destiny is in God’s hands and you are trusting God with all your heart—in spite of your circumstances, mistakes, detours, and distractions—no one can block what God has for you.” (p. 153)

The premise of Detours revolves around God’s creating each individual human being for a specific purpose—a Kingdom purpose—and our experiencing fulfillment in the arrival of our destiny. He explains how God rarely (if ever) takes a person from the cradle to his or her destiny without a number of different detours along the way.

By the time you’re finished with the book, you’ll be able to answer the following questions:

  • What is a divine detour?
  • Why are detours necessary?
  • How do I know I’m on a detour, and not merely being distracted?
  • How do I know God is with me on this detour?
  • What am I supposed to be doing while I’m waiting for my destiny?
  • How does my past figure into my future?
  • Is there anything I can do to get off this detour and back on the road?
  • How long do I have to wait before I reach my destiny?

Evans posits that while some detours are created to develop certain skills, habits, and disciplines within us so that we can properly handle our destiny, other detours are self-inflicted thanks to poor decisions we’ve made along the way.

If God is not ready to deliver you from it, look for Him in it.” (p. 74)

The good news is that God can flip anything the enemy means for evil for our good (cf. Genesis 50:20), and He will fulfill our destiny when the time is right.


Repulsion – What Annoyed Me in Detours 

The author’s casual, conversational writing style reflects a pastor’s heart and is filled with real-life illustrations much like a sermon would be. As someone very familiar with the story of Joseph, I found the detailed retelling (and re-retelling) of the milestones in his life unnecessary; however, someone unfamiliar will certainly benefit from this effort. 

It was not long before I deduced that Detours was doubtlessly a sermon or sermon series developed into a book. The main development tool must have been a Thesaurus, because the repetition in the book became bothersome.

While I can understand repeating key points and phrases when speaking to a live audience—and I am hopeful those who purchase the audiobook will appreciate it—as a reader, I was repulsed reading the same point multiple times within a few paragraphs. I would highlight a profound statement only to have it repeated—almost word-for-word—in the next paragraph, and/or again on the next page! Thank God for, huh? Honestly, I got it the first time. The repetition felt like filler. (There were also a couple of non-sentences that bugged me because they made no sense at all.)

And, then there was the unexpected switcheroo in the conclusion where the author—instead of recapping the lessons learned from Joseph’s life as expounded throughout the book—chose Ruby Slippersto insert an incredibly well-known and previously un-mentioned fictional character and story line to illustrate his point. I found the introduction of Dorothy and her companions form the “Wizard of Oz” to be completely out of place and the allegorization of the movie’s cast and plot unnecessary and distracting. (There may have been a moment when I clicked my heels three times to get back to Kansas Joseph…and it worked!) Dr. Evans does, in the end, recap Joseph’s journey and the practical life lessons learned along the way. He challenges us to pay attention to the pattern of promotions in Scripture: From Abraham to Joseph and Moses to Esther, we are reminded that our destiny has a kingdom purpose.

Your destiny and kingdom purpose often involve both a hookup and a hope to people beyond yourself. Look for both as God guides you.” (p. 199)

Detours is the kind of book I wish I had read in my twenties, although I’m not sure my twenty-year-old self would have embraced the truths contained in these pages. I highly recommend the book to anyone who finds himself or herself in a holding pattern or on a “never-ending” detour. You will be encouraged and your hope, refreshed. Pastors, church leaders, mentors, and coaches will benefit from the memorable and easily transferable lessons contained herein. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from B&H Publishers (LifeWay) as part of their Book Review Blogger 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.”