I first heard of this book when it first came on the scene. The Harris brothers were young teens who were challenging the the way teens were living or expecting to live.
Now, 5 years later, it seems the complacent life style that many teens were living continues and perhaps has even gotten worse. It's acceptable to not make series choices or to not pursue hard things. Again and again, sullen attitudes, disrespect, or aimlessness seems commonplace and the acceptable because it's what teenagers are like.
I love this book - although it's certainly not perfect but because it challenges this complacent attitude that is so prevalent. I especially appreciate how it's not a merely a book that cheers you on and to be the best you can be - out of your own strength, but rather it's basis is in living for the glory of God - 1 Corinthians 10:31.
The book is relatable and readable, like a conversation with friends that have seen what can happen when you trust God and step out in faith. They break down their thoughts with lots of anecdotes and real life examples - that make sense to young and older, alike.
Although this book was meant for teens, I think it's certainly a book that those of any age can be challenged with. I definitely recommend this book and our whole family is reading it together so that we would all be willing to do those hard things that the Lord has laid before us.
*this book was provided by Blogging for Books for the purpose of review.
Do Hard Things, by Alex and Brett Harris, is an incredible book. In this five-year edition, the brothers reminisce about their big idea that young people were being underestimatedbadly and with devastating consequences. They originally wrote this book to challenge other kids to have higher expectations for themselves, to Do Hard Things.
In this new edition, we find that the book has now been translated into over a dozen languages and that young people around the globe are rebelling against low expectations. Because they did not wish to change the original book, the Harris brothers opted to leave the original content untouched while adding new material as appendixes. Its the same book, but better. The new content includes Questions (and Stories) to Get You Started, 100 Hard Things, and a study guide for personal or group use. It also includes information about downloadable video resources now available.
This is a marvelous book. It definitely challenges people of all ages to set the bar higher than societys expectations, wanting more from ourselves because God created us for more than we often realize. I especially liked the list of 100 Hard Things, that includes varying levels of things that others have done, such as: stopped complaining, babysat for a single mom, led See You at the Pole, hosted a 30-hour famine, and ended a relationship that wasnt healthy.
I would recommend this book not only to teenagers, but to anyone wishing to become a better person for Christ.
I received this book free from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.
I remember five years ago being captivated by an interview I was listening to on the radio.
Two teenaged brothers were talking about how our society sets ridiculously low expectations of teens, and how teens struggle to meet such low standards!
How have we become a culture that expects so little of young people, and view largely wasting away the teen years as a norm? The brothers explained that a hallow adolescence is a fairly new concept less than 100 years ago, teens were accomplishing things we hardly expect from a mature adult today.
So these brothers were issuing a challenge a call for a teenage rebelution a revolution of teens who rebel against such low expectations and challenge themselves to do hard things.
The brothers were Alex and Brett Harris, and the interview was focusing on their book that was their key tool for making their argument against low expectations for young people. Now, five years later, an updated version of Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations (published by Multnomah Books) is out with much of the same message but with even more compelling insights.
I didnt read the first edition of the book, but Ive found this new version may be an even better read because it includes a flurry of stories telling how this rebelution has dramatically impacted the lives of teens around the world. Noting what has happened in the past five years, Alex and Brett write:
What a difference five years have made! What started as a blog (TheRebelution.com) became a best-selling book, Do Hard Things, which led to youth conferences around the country every summer. And all of that, by Gods grace and a lot of hard work, had spawned an international youth movement with this red book as its manifesto.
This new addition isnt just stories reflecting their success, it contains the original challenge to teens (and adults) to think differently about adolescence and to be challenged to greater expectations. In an interview, the Harris brothers note:
The teen years are not a vacation from responsibility. we had told the columnist. They are the training ground of future leaders who dare to be responsible now.'
The benefit of this new edition of the book are the multiple stories that demonstrate some of the great things teens really are capable of if only they and the adults around them change their expectations of teenagers.
Do Hard Things remains a great challenge for teens, and the Harris brothers state the following:
This book invites you to explore some radical questions:
Is it possible that even though teens today have more freedom than any other generation in history, were actually missing out on some of the best years of our lives?
Is it possible that what our culture says about the purpose and potential of the teens years is a lie and that we are its victims?
Is it possible that our teen years give us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for huge accomplishments as individuals and as a generation?
And finally, what would our lives look like if we set out on a different path entirely a path that required more effort but promised a lot more reward?
If youre a teenager, or the parent of a teen, this book may be the challenge (and encouragement) you need to truly make the teen years the launch pad to greater things than you have ever expected!
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
The most unique aspect about this book is that it is a book about teens written for and by teenagers. Many youth ministry books are written from the perspective of older adults about teenage issues, but often miss the mark when it comes to communicating the actual needs and opinions of teenagers (probably because we expect too little of them). The wisdom that these two teenagers bring to the table is rare, no doubt because they chose to "do hard things" when they could have veged out in front of a TV or computer screen.
The main issue in the book is that society places too low expectations on teenagers. The authors' solution is for teenagers to "do hard things," instead of doing nothing or just enough to get by. The teenage years should be a launching point into adulthood rather than a waiting period. What these two young men are saying is not necessarily new, but it is often unheeded and definitely needed. As with every bright idea, there needs to be something to distinguish this idea from others. The chic thing to do is to splice key words together to form a new word. The authors combined the words "rebellion" and "revolution" to form "rebelution" to brand their idea. This word, though a bit cheesy and clich, captures the main theme of "rebelling against rebellion," or, as the subtitle of the book states, "a teenage rebellion against low expectations." (pg. 11)
The style of the writing is very conversational and testimonial. After a brief history and explanation of the authors' rebelutionary idea, the bulk of the pages expound the "Five Kinds of Hard": Things that are outside your comfort zone, go beyond what is expected or required, are too big to accomplish alone, don't earn an immediate payoff, and challenge the cultural norm. Of course, with all books about action, the last few chapters challenge the reader to do something, or more specifically to "do hard things." The book also has appendices that give ideas for taking the first step, which can be helpful for the person that does not know which hard things to start doing.
Ironically, for a book challenging teens to "do hard things," reading this book does not live up to its title. Maybe that is on purpose, but keep in mind that it is a book written for and by teens, though parents and adults can benefit as well. I guess I expected that this book would have been a little more The book can be skimmed in sections. Part 1 contains the more "meaty" parts while Parts 2 and 3 are mainly the how-to guide of the "Five Kinds of Hard," testimonies of teenagers who have done the hard things and how God has changed their life in the process, and the motivational speech to get up and do something.
One major critique of this book is that it comes scarily close to promoting a secular humanistic agenda of "be all that you can be" or "you can do anything you put your mind to." For the Christian reading this book, it is most likely assumed that God's glory is the reason for such things, but the non-Christian wanting to impact the world can easily do hard things and come away with the three pillars of the Rebelution (character, competence, and collaboration) without glorifying God. Apart from all Truth being God's Truth, the Truth that needs to be explicit is Jesus as the Savior of our sins. The authors equate being salt as fighting against sin and being light as fighting for truth and justice. The idea Jesus was trying to communicate was that the point of the Christian's existence was to specifically point to Him, not to some Christian ideal (Matt. 5:13-16). Christians do need to create a counter-culture, but the gospel that Jesus came to save people from their sins should be explicitly communicated in that counter-culture and not merely indirectly acknowledged, as if we simply tip our hats to Jesus. What separates a Christian counter-culture from secular culture is Christ. If Jesus is not explicitly present in the "hard things" that we do, then all we have secular humanism with a little Jesus sprinkled on top instead of having Jesus as the tree and "doing hard things" as the branches.
It is not my intention to discourage people away from reading this book. Honestly, I probably would not have picked up this book if it had not been for endorsements from respected authors such as Randy Alcorn, John Piper, and R. Albert Mohler Jr. But after reading it, I highly recommend it. I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not obliged to write a positive review.
This book offers such a great challenge for young people. This is my go to gift for middle and high school students. I bought several copies to just hand out in youth group. Adults can benefit from this book as well. It has a good message for people of any age, reminds us to take the first hard step in what God wants us to do with our lives.