Not That Big a Jolt

Book Review: Jolt: Get the Jump on A World That’s Constantly Changing by Phil Cooke.

On the one hand I want to endorse this book. On the other hand, I feel it falls a bit short of being the book that I’d recommend to a Christian wrestling with change. Jolt is not a bad book overall. There are some great quotes and solid principles that can be implemented. Cooke is obviously successful, and has some excellent thoughts on what it takes to adapt to a changing world, yet this book is more a collection of somewhat related essays, uneven in quality,  designed to motivate more than truly equip. As someone in the midst of significant change, I was a bit encouraged, but I can’t say I was “jolted”.

I appreciated a number of his thoughts:

  • Recognition that there are some things that can’t be changed.
  • Ignoring reality is not a wise strategy.
  • A discussion of the power of perception.
  • The encouragement to stop letting fear control our choices.
  • Change is inevitable and often difficult, but as Kathleen Norris writes “disconnecting from change does not recapture the past. It loses the future.”

I was bothered by two assumptions:

  • Cooke tends toward the mechanistic view of life and change; i.e., “Make the right choices, take the right steps and you will succeed.” From a humanistic stance this might be somewhat understandable, but to leave God out of the worldview mix is a somewhat odd for a Christian book on change (at least that used to be odd). His suggestions are generally helpful, but as a Christian in the midst of significant change I would hope for something a bit more biblically sturdy, with the understanding that sometimes (usually) Christian living is not about tips and techniques for success, but struggle and frustration that develops character.  There is a chapter on the power of faith, but the object of faith seems somewhat ambiguous.
  • Everyone is special if they want to be and that we all can be successful, creative, and significant. I’ve written about this before – not everyone is “special”. Some of us are just ordinary or average. And that is OK.

So. Jolt is not a bad book. You might find it helpful, but I found it to be more of a mild bump.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


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