This book, regarding the idols we have in our lives, has gotten some serious props from other sectors (not the least of them being Rick Warren, who contributes the foreword). But it won’t be getting much of that here. Perhaps the best way to approach this review is to pick out one of the few good chapters, and explain what went right….
… and that chapter would be “Money Always Wants to Be More Than Money.” (The chapters on beauty and chasing a dream have their moments as well, to be fair.) Here’s what worked (and what you won’t see nearly as often elsewhere):
• There’s hardly any bullet lists in this chapter, and they don’t come until near the end. (And yes, I know; enjoy the irony here.) Elsewhere—and I mean like a good 10 percent of the book—we’re littered with either lists of the obvious or series (plural) of closed-ended questions.
• There’s also a minimum of quotes from outside sources in this chapter. Not that quoting other sources is intrinsically a bad thing, but when it’s at least a quarter of your book (on top of the aforementioned bullet lists), it is.
• Ideas in this chapter are broken down and dealt with in some degree of depth, rather than one page over here, followed by a new page of thoughts here (and of course, repeatedly broken up by the aforementioned quotes and bullet lists).
Feeling the avalanche effect here? Me too. Basically, the book is kind of a fluffy monster, even as it purports to deal with the deep heart idols nearly all of us carry.
I do wonder whether this book preaches better than it reads. It’s not that it’s a bad message, by any means; it’s just that it doesn’t go into enough depth to really illumine anything. There’s a few places where Pete Wilson gets more personal, and those sections tend to work. But far too much of this is restating the obvious, and often in the most obvious manners possible.
For a better recent book dealing with our idols, I would once more direct you to Ed Welch’s What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care? For the most part, unfortunately, Wilson’s book lives up to its title.