Category Archives: Book Reviews

How the Mighty Fall

Just finished How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins, author of Good to Great.  As the name connotes, it’s about what contributes to the fall of once-great companies. 

He says there are five stages in the process of falling:

  1. Hubris Born of Success
  2. Undisciplined Pursuit of More
  3. Denial of Risk and Peril
  4. Grasping for Salvation
  5. Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death

Here are some things I picked up from it:

  • “Don’t try to come up with the right answers; focus on coming up with good questions.”
  • “There are more ways to fall than to become great.”
  • When grasping for salvation “Common ‘saviors’ include a charismatic visionary leader, a bold but untested strategy, a radical transformation, a dramatic cultural revolution, a hoped-for blockbuster product, a ‘game changing’ acquisition, or any number of other silver-bullet solutions.”
  • “Great companies foster a productive tension between continuity and change.”
  • “Everyone in a key seat should be able to respond to the question ‘What do you do?’ not with a job title, but with a statement of personal responsibility.”
  • “Many ‘overnight success’ stories are about twenty years in the making.”

Quitting Church

I just finished Quitting Church by Julia Duin.  The book started out strong and I gleaned some good stuff from it.  She is a journalist and had a different perspective than many of the people I normally read.  By the end it seemed to plummet into a long list of everything anyone might hate about church, sometimes even naming things that are inherently opposite (such as not catering to people and then saying how we need to cater to different kinds of people).  Overall I’m glad I picked it up.  Here are some quotations I thought were helpful.

  • Ten percent of America’s 331,000 congregations have more than 350 members, but more than half of those attending religious services go to those 33,00 or so churches…although most churches are small, most people are in large churches.
  • Sunday mornings at church have become too banal, boring, or painful.
  • Parachurch ministries, such as Young Life or World Vision, flourish because they are efficient, they don’t demand a weekly commitment of time, and they have opportunities for people with unusual schedules.
  • The questions [people are asking] have changed quite significantly in the past thirty years.  It used to be “Is there a God?” and now it’s “What I know about God, I don’t like.”
  • I’ve never been at a church where people really pray for each other.
  • Churches are doing mission out of memory, not imagination.