From beginning to end, this book is, undoubtedly, an appeal to corporate ladder climbers to line up their lives with characteristics of a person from the Bible...Solomon. Steven Scott outlines the importance of honesty, kindness, generosity, & graciousness as the way to the top.
Each chapter ends with some action steps & possibly some fill-in-the-blank to help navigate the path to prosperity. Overall, however, I believe it has more foothold in the corporate world than the theological world. That being said, this is a good book to pass along to a co-worker who would possibly not otherwise engage in a Bible character study on their own. The appeal of Solomon's success & prosperity can work in that environment.
Light on theology, thick on observation & application. It's a good surface-level book with useful helps, a good gift to introduce someone in your office to a Bible character study while appealing to his/her desire to advance up the corporate ladder.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
The premise of this book is that if you will read a chapter of Proverbs a day, and apply it, your life will become more successful, happy, and lucrative.
The subtitle of this book bugged me, "King Solomon's Secrets to Success, Wealth, and Happiness." I just got back from a village in Northern Haiti, and this is the book I took to read on the plane. What a contrast. The truth is, if you're born in Pierre-Brizard Haiti you can memorize Proverbs and still die broke and young from dysentery.
But then Garry Smalley wrote the forward, and Gary Chapman and Ruth Graham are on the back cover recommending the book. I was unfamiliar with the author Steven Scott, but these are people I trust. I figured the titles must be there more as a marketing gimmick (read and get rich), than a statement of the author's theology. So_ I read it.
There is great stuff in this book. How could there not be when it is full of Proverbs from Solomon? Steven gives good advice, great stories, and fun examples mixed in with the parables. He also does a pretty good job of bunching parables on one topic together in his chapters on that topic. It would be a nice addition for teaching through Proverbs both in helping to categorize the parables, and in giving examples of each truth. His emphasis on application is motivational, which is the greatest asset in reading the book.
The premise of the book is that by studying Proverbs the author's life changed. His relationships were mended, he was able to keep a job, he made more money, etc. However it felt to me at times like Steven's ideas for success were shoehorned into Proverbs rather than drawn out of Proverbs.
The most glaring example of cramming an idea into the text is Chapter 3 "The Activity that Creates Extraordinary Success." Steven bases his entire chapter on the first half of one verse. Proverbs 29:18 "Where there is no vision, the people perish." KJV. He then defines vision as, "a precise, clearly defined goal with a detailed plan and timetable for achieving that goal." (p. 33. He leaves out the last half of the verse "But he that keepeth the law happy is he.") We could put his definition in the verse then to read: "Where there is no precise, clearly defined goal with a detailed plan and timetable for achieving that goal the people perish."
It's the typical create a vision, make a plan, work the plan, and try not to mess up and you will have a better life speech.
But that is NOT what this verse is teaching.
The complete verse in the New King James reads, "Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law." It's similar in the NASB, NIV, NLT, etc. NO other version uses the word "vision," because the word has changed meaning since 1611. When the entire sentence is read, it's obvious this passage is about divine revelation, "Happy is he who keeps God's law." Unrestrained are those who won't follow God's law. The French Bible says they are "without brakes," the NLT says they "run wild." There is nothing in this passage to suggest that we need to "make a precise, clearly defined goal with a detailed plan and timetable for achieving that goal" or we will perish.
As a result it leads me to believe the author wanted to get vision-casting into Proverbs, and this was the only way to do it. But messing with Scripture is bad.
For me, the ugliest part of the book was the cover and first paragraph. After that it got better. The book starts with_
"Imagine going from a below-average wage to a personal income of more than $600,000 per month! Imagine losing nine jobs in your first six years after college, and then, on your tenth job, building more than a dozen multimillion-dollar businesses from scratch, achieving sales of billions of dollars. Imagine doing all of this by following specific steps taught by Solomon in the Old Testament Book of Proverbs. In a nutshell that is my personal story." (Page 1)
It's how the book was marketed, how they tried to get it to sell that bugged me most. Most of the book is really, really good. And, only one book is perfect - which brings me to my conclusion.
The best thing about this book is its emphasis, its overwhelming motivational encouragement to read a proverb a day. To study Proverbs.
The Richest Man Who Ever Lived is worth reading. If you are teaching through Proverbs it will give some great illustrations and examples.
But a better book is Proverbs.
I received this book free from Multnomah Books for review. I was (obviously) not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Daniel Cooley danielcooley.com