Today I’m reviewing my recent read: The Power of Adversity: Tough Times Can Make You Stronger, Wiser, and Better by Al Weatherhead and Fred Feldman
Bottom line:“Adversity” reads like a biographical book of proverbs. (…and that’s a good thing.)
I can only imagine how hard it was to sell this book to a publisher. It’s counter cultural to encourage people to embrace suffering and adversity. To suggest that without them we are missing out on some of the best of life sounds crazy next to 99.9% of every other message that media and marketers are giving us. To say that tough times can doing anything good for you is not what most of us want to hear. The thing is, anyone who’s not living in denial though knows that adversity is part of life and we have the power, as the author tells us, to use that adversity to grow.
You’ll read a few clichés in this book. But a lot of clichés have become clichés simply because they’re true. I can’t remember how many times now I’ve asked a bride and groom to repeat after me, “For better, for worse”. We say it because any honest assessment of marriage or life in general will acknowledge that it will be. It will be better and worse, richer and poorer, sometimes sick and sometimes healthy. The Power of Adversity will inspire you, give you practical steps for facing adversity and getting something good out of it. If you read this book you’ll find that the next time you face trouble, you’ll have some new tools for turning trouble into a blessing.
It’s an incredibly candid telling of one man’s experience of choosing to grow through adversity rather than live as a victim. If you’re in recovery you’ll recognize some of the lines and some of the experiences in this book. In this book the author goes beyond the one liners to bring the proverbial sayings to life. In real terms, in a real life, the results of embracing adversity and being empowered by it are played out for us. So are the risks of ignoring the wisdom found in these pages.
In my own 45 years I have learned that suffering has produced the best fruit in my life. Suffering has made me better in every way. With almost twice as many years and far more life experience, the author has not only discovered the truth found in the first chapter of the book of James in the New Testament, (Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides) but he has proved it over and over in his life. He takes the truth further for us as we read and tells us, in practical terms, how to walk out a life, day by day, that finds the treasure that’s buried in our hard times.
The author never comes across as a guy who’s got it all figured out or who is living in some other dimension than the rest of us. I’ve read a few books, particularly in the “success” category, that sound great, get you all amped up and motivated but as you read you realize the author is (or sounds like) a guy who never gets the flu, makes every relationship work and turns telemarketers and bill collectors (someone else’s because he never has bills) into new best friends. From the start, the author makes it clear that his life is just like my life or yours. Despite great success in business he experienced hurt and rejection from his father, failed endeavours, broken marriages, extreme health issues and his own addiction problem.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough. I visit with people as part of my ‘day job’ and time and time again one of the big issues adversity and two mistaken ideas: 1) If God really loves me I won’t have adversity in my life. 2) The best things for me would be to get rid of any adversity in my life. The first idea is just plain wrong and the second is death. I’d like to see everyone get a copy of this book for the practical wisdom, the compelling personal story and for the pages included that give you a workbook as a tool for handling the next season of adversity that comes along. During the reading of the book I had some adversity drop into my lap and I found myself applying things I’d just been reading in this great little book that’s quick to read and interesting from beginning to end.
Can I just add a big, “well done” to the co-author and editor who created a filler free book that required them to sort out a life time of experience and thoughts. Tomorrow I’ll feature an excerpt from the book here at CV, a taster to get you thinking.