I have heard a lot about and a lot by Dr. David Jeremiah in the past and so when his new book came out and I had a chance to review it, I jumped on it.
Let me start by saying that I was not disappointed. I thought I would be, but I wasn't.
31 Days to Happiness leads the reader through the book of Ecclesiastes in an effort to find the meaning of life. At first I thought to myself This has been done a million times, not the least of which is Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life which was just republished like six months ago... but while Dr. Jeremiah's book does follow a well-worn pattern (31 day devotional-type set up with personal anecdotes coupled with Biblical revelations), the pattern is well-worn for a reason. It keeps the reader interested and allows Dr. Jeremiah to dispense some of the wisdom he's gained through his own experiences (and the experiences of others he's come in contact with) while following along through the ultimate wisdom found in the Bible. Dr. Jeremiah does borrow heavily from other authors (including Rick Warren) but he does so in a way that is helpful and doesn't take away from the particular focus he has on Ecclesiastes. Unfortunately my favourite quotes from the book were quotes from other authors such as:
"If education was the key to life, then universities would be the most moral, ethical, and spiritual centres in any nation. Education would equate to contentment. We all know that's not the case" (Josh McDowell"
"The craft that we call modern,
the crimes that we call new,
John Bunyan had 'em typed and filed
in Sixteen Eighty-two" (Rudyard Kipling)
Anyone who has read Ecclesiastes (or anyone who knows Dr. Jeremiah's stuff) will not be surprised at the ultimate conclusion of the book, but the practical lessons to be had from the conclusion (divided up as "Life is Uncertain, Embrace It -- Life is Short, Enjoy It -- Life is Mysterious, Examine It -- and Life is Obedience, Express It) are helpful and encouraging. They help one to see the point of going on despite the seeming monotany or pointlessness that life can sometimes seem to be. Throughout the book Dr. Jeremiah alludes to the ultimate conclusion -- that there is no point to life outside of God, and that is the same conclusion Ecclesiastes comes to.
No surprises, but a great help. I found it a very helpful read.
That being said, I hate the title. In this age of way too many self-help books coming out every month, this title is so cliche it hurts. It doesn't give any information as to what the book is really about and really just amounts to false advertising. Why even go there? Is anyone foolish enough to think that happiness can be achieved through 31 days of reading some writer's book? I hope not. But if there are, those poor people will be sorely disappointed by this book. Its a helpful read. An encouraging read. A book that can help one on the way to developing contentedness and even happiness. But I would be my bottom dollar that no one struggling with unhappiness will read this book and by the end of 31 days find they are now miraculously unhappy no more.