Lessons from San Quentin: Everything I Needed to Know About Life I Learned in Prison  -     By: Bill Dallas, George Barna
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Lessons from San Quentin: Everything I Needed to Know About Life I Learned in Prison

Barna Books / 2009 / Hardcover

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Bill Dallas was a jet-setting real-estate entrepreneur when he was charged, convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for grand-theft embezzlement. As he faced the reality of his circumstances God caused him to reflect and re-evaluate. Lessons from San Quentin tells Dallas' story of how his life was changed by hardship for the better. He teaches 12 core principles from hard-earned lessons that will challenge and inspire you to rise above failures to develop the character God wants you to have.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Barna Books
Publication Date: 2009
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 1414326564
ISBN-13: 9781414326566
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Real-estate entrepreneur Bill Dallas's charmed life changed dramatically when he was charged, convicted, and sentenced to five years in prison for grand-theft embezzlement. Lessons from San Quentin tells the amazing true story of how one man's life was changed for the better due to the hardships encountered at the legendary maximum-security prison. Using stories and reflections from life on the inside, Bill teaches 12 core principles that will inspire readers to use tough times to develop the character God wants them to have. Chapter headings include: (1) Life in the Median Strip; (2) I am H64741; (3) Embrace Your Trials; (4) Cling to Hope; (5) Express Yourself through Your Work; (6) Choose Sustaining Faith; (7) Get Your Self-Image Right; (8) Get Rid of Self-Absorption; (9) Shape Your Attitude; (10) Give Respect; (11) Persevere Until You “Get It”; (12) Let Life Come to You; (13) Make Life Simple; (14) Find Freedom in Forgiveness; (15) Life after Prison; (16) He Was Always in Control.


"Read Bill's story only if you want to risk a changed life." John Ortberg Pastor and author

"A riveting story." Chuck Colson Founder, Prison Fellowship

"Valuable insights drawn from a compelling story of redemption and hope." Lee Strobel Best-selling author

"Intensely personal!...Packed with insight and practical lessons." Dr. Gary Smalley Founder, Smalley Relationship Center

Author Info

Bill Dallas is the CEO of the Church Communication Network (CCN), a satellite and Internet communications company serving thousands of churches across North America. He hosta Solutions, a weekly satellite program with Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. A former Young Life leader and Bible study teacher, Bill is a graduate of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He is the proud father of Dallas and Amanda. Bill and his wife, Bettina, live in northern California.

George Barna is the author of more than 40 books about faith and culture, which have been translated into 12 languages. He is the founder of The Barna Group, the nation's leading provider of faith-oriented research. He lives with his family in southern California.

Publisher's Weekly

The CEO of Church Communications Network wraps his story of going to prison around the core principles of life he learned there. With coauthor Barna, a researcher and cultural critic, Dallas tells stories of people he meets in San Quentin prison; the group he learns the most from are the “Lifers,” those sentenced to life terms in prison. One of the long-term men Dallas meets who shapes his experiences is Vy Le, a Vietnamese immigrant who conquered revenge through a relationship with Jesus that began in an isolation cell. A central feature in the book is a section in each chapter with principles that center on humility, determination and trust in God. Otherwise good stories are told with a lack of suspense and drama in favor of highlighting principles. Readers will also find a challenging series of questions to help them discover how self-absorbed they are. Those looking for riches-to-rags-to-success stories will find a passionate case for avoiding the pitfalls of the financial crime Dallas committed and living a principled life. (Feb.)Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Product Reviews

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  1. Jennifer @ Quiverfullfamily.com
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Inspirational Lessons
    October 17, 2010
    Jennifer @ Quiverfullfamily.com
    Quality: 3
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 3

    After Bill Dallas was sent to prison for economic crimes related to his real estate and development business, his life entered a tailspin. Though Dallas had initiated a relationship with God prior to being sent to prison, his fledgling faith wasn’t enough to prevent him from plunging into despair and hopelessness.

    It was only after developing relationships with the “Lifers” at San Quentin prison that he was able to learn from their example, re-modeling his life after the example they provided. Lessons from San Quentin shares Dallas’ experiences in prison and how they worked to reshape his character. The first portion of each chapter shares his experiences, and the positive examples set for him by prisoners more mature in the faith; the second half relates how everyone can apply what Dallas learned in prison to their own lives.

    The lessons Dallas relates are eminently practical, and while we won’t all be faced with living in such cramped quarters and such bland food, we all encounter deserts of the spirit wherein we need to struggle through in order to move on to the plans God has for our future.

    At times it does seem that Dallas is becoming somewhat repetitive and stretching out his observations to fill the pages, but there is a great deal of inspiration here. The writing is accessible, and very readable; somewhat reminiscent of a gift book, you won’t need to struggle to grasp these lessons.

  2. Pamela Kelley
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    December 28, 2009
    Pamela Kelley

    This is one of the best books I have ever read that truly spoke to me, spoke to where I live, angonize and grow. I think that because it is in a true-life story form, and not just informational only, it is easier to process and absorb it. I underlined a great deal of the book and made many, many notes along the way. YES, it does inspire me to rise above failures and disappointments to develop the character God wants me to have, and THAT's what our problems and struggles can ultimately accomplish!! Awesome book. Thank you Bill Dallas!!

  3. Wynelle Ediger
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    August 22, 2009
    Wynelle Ediger

    Even though I don't personally know anyone who's been in prison, nor have any idea of what prison-life is like, this book enticed me. I developed compassion for the inmates and their lifestyle. I also gained an appreciation that prison is not a dead-end street, but that God, is His sovereignty and power, can mightily change lives for the good. I also realized that a person doesn't have to be in an institution to be in prison. God can work the same within other physical limitations, such as an illness.

  4. Patrick McKinney
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    February 15, 2009
    Patrick McKinney

    Amazing Grace is truly the lesson Bill Dallas reminds us of through Lessons from San Quentin. Although having never spent time in prison, the story of Bill Dallas caused me to realize the lessons he learned while in prison apply to anyone who reads this book. Unfortunately we are all prisoners of this world and suffer many of the same basic trials as Bill Dallas therefore the Transforming Principles he shares applies to all of us no matter our position in life.sustaining faith demands transformation, and such transformation can only be built on surrender, brokenness, and humility. Through Lessons from San Quentin Bill Dallas exposes a very dark time in his life to help us understand the power of sustaining faith Christ Jesus.

  5. Ginger Tate
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    February 5, 2009
    Ginger Tate

    Lessons From San Quentin is the type of book to make you thankful for Gods plan in our lives. Bill Dallas, author, was educated and wealthy and life was good. However, it soon fell apart.Bill Dallas was convicted of grand theft embezzlement and was convicted and found his new home to be San Quentin, one of the nations most infamous prison (the worst or the worst). Feeling like life was over; he soon came to realize that life does continue.Lessons from San Quentin covers Bills journey from playboy to suicidal inmate to spiritual apprentice. During Bills prison term he comes across a group called The Lifers. The Lifers guided Bill to a personal relationship with God, showing that no matter where you areGod is there and will put people in your path to help you find Him.This is a book that will stir your heart and shows how someone can turn their life around no matter what the circumstances are.

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