Pleasing People by Lou Priolo is one of those books that is so great, I wish more were written like it. Taking the issue of pride—a serious problem for many Christians, if not all—and showing how it manifests itself in the sin of people-pleasing, makes this a tremendous book that should be on the bookshelf of every Christian. Not enough has been written about pride by contemporary authors, which makes this work a real treasure.
The book is smartly divided up into two main sections: “Our Problem” and “God's Solution.” Within the first section, the chapters consist of “Characteristics of a People Pleaser” (pp. 19-36), “The Dangers of Being a People-Pleaser” (pp. 51-65), and “You Can't Please All of the People Even Some of the Time” (pp. 83-93). The second section deals with the “Characteristics of a God-Pleaser” (pp. 127-46), and “So What Exactly Does It Take to Please God” (pp. 147-64). I particular enjoyed the first chapter because of its People-Pleasing Inventory (pp. 20-21). [note: you can read this in Christian Book Previews.com’s excerpt section.]
Priolo asks a key question about mid-way through his book, that keys into the theme that the author answers throughout: "As a Christian, your chief mandate, your number-one priority, your ultimate ambition, your main purpose for living is to please God. What could be more important to you than that?" (p. 127). In his definition of a people-pleaser earlier in the book, he writes that "not only does the people-pleaser love the wrong thing (the approval of man rather than the approval of God), he fears the wrong thing as well—he fears the disapproval of man more than the disapproval of God" (p. 23). Priolo helps the reader in a couple ways: he defines people-pleasing as it relates to God, and he defines it as it relates to man.
Fearing the rejection of man is often a misplaced fear. As Priolo states, being focused on pleasing people is unrealistic since selfishness distorts their reasoning and causes them to have unreasonable expectations (p. 86). So why "would you trust his [man's] ability to discern your character and determine the basis on which he approves or disapproves of you? Why trust him to determine the standard by which he accepts or rejects you" (p. 87).
On page 135, Priolo helps the reader to gain even more clarity between what the "People-Pleaser" and what the "God-Pleaser" look like, and what motivates each:
To boost his reputation
To be commended
To avoid rejection
To receive honor
To obey God, to show love to God
To glorify God
To show love to others
To worship God
Pleasing People is a well-thought and well-written book. There are no stones left unturned on the issue at hand. If you decide to pick this up be prepared to be challenged. This work deserves high marks. – Ray Hammond, Christian Book Previews.com