I like to read in batches. It’s probably not the best way to read, but it seems to be the way my head can handle it. Similarly, I write reviews in batches. So, even though I read Visioneering a few weeks ago, I held off on this review because I had already begun reading Start and quickly realized their reviews belonged together. As a side note, I’m already reading You Are a Writer by Jeff Goins, which also fits in this theme, but it could go on indefinitely if I kept waiting, and that’s the point of these books, anyway. Stop stalling and get MOVING. So here I am, moving. (Well, this first paragraph was stalling, but NOW we’re ready to move.)

Visioneering – Andy Stanley

I’ve mentioned before how much I appreciate the teaching and leadership of Andy Stanley. No, I’ve never met him, but I’ve been listening to his podcasts and reading his books for a while now and I feel like I know him. VISIONEERING is a combination of VISION and ENGINEERING. Planning and putting plans into motion. It’s a practical guideline that addresses everything from idea conception to realized vision (and back again).

Using the backdrop of the Biblical account of Nehemiah and his quest to rebuild the fallen walls of Jerusalem, Stanley walks readers through the process in a candid, step-by-step format. We begin by identifying our calling/dream/passion/goals/whatever you want to call it. Something wrong in life that bothers us enough to actively seek a solution. Then begins the preparation, which is different for each of us because we surely find ourselves in different life situations with unique obstacles and opportunities.

Stanley also addresses timing, integrity, and other important details that are often overlooked in books of this ilk, which makes VISIONEERING a complete view of vision. Highly recommended as a high-level framework for becoming a visionary leader or living a more focused and, thereby, fulfilling life.

Start – Jon Acuff

START echoes a lot of these concepts of cultivating a vision and drills down to a granular level, focusing more on individual goals and less on leadership specifically. And, you could easily argue that it focuses solely on writing, but I think it only seems that way because that is the path Acuff chose for himself and he’s speaking from personal experience.

If nothing else, readers will enjoy turning the pages and experiencing the witty and sarcastic voice that shines through the writing. As it read, it feels like you’re engaged in a conversation with Acuff and, if you have heard him speak publicly at a Quitter conference or elsewhere, you’ll hear his voice in your head as you read. (I pre-ordered the book and it came with mp3s of said conference engagements, which overlap heavily with the book’s material.)

The gist of the book, though, is simple. Stop stalling and get moving. I know, I already said that in the opening paragraph. But that’s the key to fulfilling your dreams and Acuff offers insight to the five stages we all face as we walk towards goal achievement, what he calls the Path to Awesome. Once you start down the path, which is a deliberate choice, you’ll experience seasons of learning, editing, mastering, harvesting, and guiding, most of which are superficially self-explanatory. Acuff fills in the outline with humorous quips and personal examples, leaving the reader with a good grasp of what to expect in each phase of the journey. He addresses the fears we all face (even though we think we’re all alone), obstacles we’ll encounter, and pitfalls to which we may be tempted to succumb. Each opposition is coupled with practical steps to take in our efforts to overcome and prevail.

Another fine book from Acuff. As a long-time casual fan of his blog (StuffChristiansLike.net), it’s been a real pleasure to see him sprout wings and fly all the way to “awesome.”

Our turn.

peace… love… bdg…