The Butterfly Effect: A Book Review

How significant is my life?  Do I make a difference?  When I move…when I act…when I do something…does the universe notice?  Do I really matter?

Thus begins the new book from Andy Andrews called The Butterfly Effect: How Your Life Matters.

Few books of significance are as brief as this one.  Totaling a little over 100 one- or two-sentence pages, Andrews attempts, in true story/parable form, to illustrate how easily one’s actions and decisions can have an impact for years to come, not just on those in your immediate sphere of influence, but on people all across the globe.

The true story of union soldier Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, a thirty-four year old school teacher, is alone worth the price of the book.  I’d be willing to wager it is a part of our nation’s history about which you’ve never heard.

While reading through The Butterfly Effect the first time, I couldn’t help but think how powerful a book it could be for the parent of a young child.  I could see myself reading it out loud to my nieces and nephews.  The potential impact it could have on young, developing minds cannot be overstated, in my opinion.

The underlying message is simple.  Everything you do matters to all of us forever.  This is best illustrated in the second story Andrews shares.  I won’t give anything away, but I liken it the AT&T commercial where you see an elderly couple clapping and all smiles as their son is being introduced as the president of the United States.  You’re then taken back in time as the spot reveals that first chance meeting between the president’s parents.

If not confined by the 30- and 60-second nature of television advertising, it would be easy to carry that story even further back in time to reveal each person who, with one decision or action, impacted the future outcome.

In the words of Andrews, “There are generations yet unborn whose very lives will be shifted and shaped by the moves you make and the actions you take today.  And tomorrow.  And the next day.  And the next.”

“Your life…and what you do with it today…matters forever,” Andrews says.  And I’m inclined to agree.

What are some things you can do to ensure the impact you make is a positive one?

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers 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.”

The Noticer by Andy Andrews: A Review

The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective.

by Andy Andrews

Thomas Nelson Publishers

_200_350_book50cover1 In a matter of minutes, Jones, as he prefers to be called (no “Mr.” just Jones), can completely disarm the most stubborn stranger he encounters with little more than a few probing questions and several common sense, but often profound, answers.  Upon first meeting Jones, most find themselves asking things like, “Who is this man?  What brought him here at this place and at this time?  And why would he be the least bit interested in talking to me?”  Afterward, they’re left asking, “Where did he go?  How did I survive before he showed up? And will I ever see him again?”

Each of them is at a crossroads.  A choice must be made to either continue down the path they’re currently on or forge a brand new one.  At just the right time, whether at the end of his rope, at the point of despair, or in her greatest time of need, they each meet Jones.

A single man looking for meaning having gone through two failed marriages; a couple trying to remember what it was exactly that first drew them to one another; a seventy-something woman who’s come to the conclusion her usefulness has passed; a young businessman striving so hard for success that he fails to realize what true success really means; all these poignant stories and more make up The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective.

How many times have I wished I had just the right answer, as Jones always seems to, when talking with someone in a seemingly impossible situation.  I’m no Jones, but it’s not unusual in Christian radio (my vocation) or in the world of Christian music in general to encounter, fairly regularly, teenagers, young couples, mothers and fathers, you name it, all looking for that spark, that piece of perfect advice that will be just the dose of confidence they need, not just to function, but to start anew and to make a difference in the lives of others.

Personally, I wish I had this book years ago.  But I believe there is value to be gained from reading it regardless of where you find yourself in life.   I’m at a place now where I have the opportunity to speak into the lives of several just starting their life’s journey.  In fact, while on Facebook just last night, I was able to encourage a former intern using the principals in this very book.  Thank you Andy Andrews.  Here are some of my favorite take-aways from the book The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective:

  • Whatever you focus on increases – “If you set your mind on loss, you are more likely to lose…But a grateful perspective brings happiness and abundance into a person’s life.”
  • Every day, ask yourself this question: “What is it about me that other people would change if they could?” – “Another person’s perspective about you can sometimes be as important as your perspective is about yourself.”
  • A friend who accepts you as you are is dangerous – “A true friend holds you to a higher standard.  A true friend brings out the best in you.”
  • We judge ourselves by our intentions, but we judge others by their actions – “There is no difference in the person who intends to do things differently and the one who never thinks about it in the first place.”
  • And my personal favorite?  Your proof of hope – “If you’re breathing, you are still alive.  If you are alive, then you are still here, physically, on this planet.  If you are still here, then you have not completed what you were put on earth to do.  If you have not completed what you were put on earth to do…that means your very purpose has not yet been fulfilled.  If your purpose has not yet been fulfilled, then the most important part of your life has not yet been lived.  And if the most important part of your life has not yet been lived…”

You’re reading this review so I assume  you’re still breathing.  It’s time to get to work.

The Noticer Project: 5 People That Have Impacted You Most

_140_245_book50coverIf  you’re anything like me, you pretty much suck at noticing your surroundings.  Any time my wife makes a change to something within our home (a new wall hanging, rearranged furniture, a different brand of toothpaste even), it usually requires her pointing it out to me.  Let’s just say I’ve missed my share of “Your new do looks great, honey!” opportunities.

This curse especially makes itself known when I’m trying to locate a specific item around the house – by the way, why does it seem we husbands have a disproportionate amount of trouble with this?  I could be looking for cream or sugar for my coffee.  Maybe it’s a certain pair of socks.  Maybe it’s the milk (probably in the refrigerator).  Whatever it is I’m trying to find, more often than not, it’s right in front of me.  My brain, for some reason, just doesn’t see it.

I have to admit that, as I’ve grown older, I can sometimes allow this blinders-on mentality to creep into my relationships.  If I’m not making a concerted effort to pay attention, needs I should be meeting, or at least helping to meet, can go completely ignored.  And that’s certainly not a habit I want to see get a strong-hold in my life.

I couldn’t help but laugh just a little then, albeit nervously, when I realized the subject matter of the new book The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective; a book I’ve agreed to review in time for it’s release on Tuesday.

I’m especially intrigued though by a campaign the publishers are referring to as The Noticer Project. The site describes the project, in conjunction with the book, as “a worldwide movement to ‘notice’ the 5 most influential people in your life.” The description goes on to say, “Noticing those five people is meant to encourage us to step outside our busy schedules and avoid waiting until a wedding, graduation or even a funeral to take notice of the special, influential people in our lives.” How wonderful is that?

I’ll post my review of The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective tomorrow.  In the meantime, you can enjoy this special video.  It includes several in-character excerpts from the book itself.