Book Review – “Rules To Live By: 52 Principles for a Better Life”

We all have principles that we live by. These principles guide our lives and determine how successful we become in life. Those who are not committed to sharpening their saw (Ecclesiastes 10:10) and becoming more effective in daily living, will only hinder and limit their potential contribution in this world. As a busy pastor with a young family, I am always open to advice in this area. With Jerry White’s new book “Rules To Live By,” I have found just that.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the name Jerry White, he is president emeritus of The Navigators, which is a Christian organization that focuses on discipleship and is based out of Colorado Springs. Dr. White served for many years as a mission controller at Cape Canaveral and in the US Air Force and now is a popular conference speaker.

In this short book, Jerry White offers “52 principles for a better life.” It is an easy to read book, but has the potential to greatly enhance a person’s daily living. Just to give you a sampling of some of my favorites:

– Learn to think well
– Learn to concentrate
– Think long term
– Let magazines sit for two weeks
– Be quiet
– Get mad at the right things
– Disagree Agreeably
– Make and keep close friends
– Focus on contribution, not position
– Make lists

As you can see, this is not rocket science. These are principles that, if practiced, will increase personal effectiveness. Some of the principles are kinda fun, such as:

– Be a loser
– Waste time
– Forget
– Make love
– Do some things poorly
– Leave some things undone
– Compete, but don’t be competitive

I won’t take the time to explain what Dr. White means by those principles, but you might just want to buy the book for yourself. If I had one criticism for this book, it would be that it is not gospel centered. While Dr. White is a Christian man and certainly none of these principles are contrary to Scriptures, he does not place Jesus Christ at the center of the book. What could be a more important rule to live by than to affirm the lordship of Jesus Christ over every sphere of life? Aside from that, we can all find helpful tidbits to aid our personal effectiveness.

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