I enjoyed reading Jesus CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership, which lead me to get Jesus, Life Coach: Learn from the Best by Laurie Beth Jones. I was somewhat disappointed, as the user surveys say. Perhaps my challenge was around the expectations I had, but I did get some useful thoughts out of it.

Placing your religious (dis)beliefs to one side for a moment, few would dispute that Jesus of Nazareth has been a major influence on world history. So I was expecting some valuable insights into his behaviors and some actionable ideas, as the cover says “learn from the best”. There is no theology or analysis in here, but there are some interesting thoughts and anecdotes. The book consists of a large number of themes mapped to comments about Jesus. Each chapter starts with “With Jesus as your life coach, you will…” but it never seems to explain how to action that

The opening chapter suggests that you “have your tent stolen,” so that you can see the stars and get a new and bigger perspective. I like the metaphor. Things that put life into perspective are great. What is limiting your view of the world? How can you broaden your horizons?

There are a few chapters on keeping your focus and cutting away things that don’t belong, enforcing your “no’s”. This includes a chapter on practicing planned abandonment, knowing when to say ‘no’. As you have probably noticed, this is something of a pet topic for me (Planned Abandonment – Having an end at the beginning), so I won’t say any more here. The book then goes on to dealing with reality; to understand reality, to use open ended questions and to identify the source of light. Where your light comes from changes the shadows and drives how things look. Again, a really nice illustration.

The next section of the book deals more with action. Have your readiness assessed, are you ready and willing? Do you care enough to act? Be Seen. Use your greatest strength. Overcoming procrastination. What are you avoiding? Are you doing what needs doing now? The last set of chapters deals with other life issues. Be prepared to be off to a rough start. Have help to find balance. Do succession planning, think about what you will leave behind. Do leave regret behind. Don’t lord it over others (cf humble leadership) and don’t go where you aren’t welcome (shake the dust off of your feet). Engage in positive confrontation. Stand up and be a voice and not an echo. Have an opinion, but learn to listen and seek feedback. Be fulfilled and come alive with new possibilities. Experience amazement. All great themes.

Much success literature recommends reading the biographies of inspiring people. This book wasn’t quite what I expected, but I should know not to judge a book by its cover. I will go back to one of the gospels and see what I can pick up from there instead.