Thursday, April 17, 2008

Do Hard Things - book review

This is what we call the Rebelution: throwing off the shackles of lies and low expectations and returning our generation to a true and very exciting understanding of the teen years—not as a vacation from responsibility but as a launching pad for the rest of our lives.

~Alex and Brett Harris, from their new book Do Hard Things~

I pre-ordered several copies of this book, knowing it would be above average. It finally came, and indeed, it’s not your everyday book written by teens. (Um, there aren’t many of those, are there? Let’s say it’s not your everyday book, period.)

In the book, the Harris twins offer an expanded, in-depth look at the rebelutionary concept of doing hard things. They talk about the myth of adolescence and the potential the teen years hold. They detail five kinds of Hard Things. And they show practical ways they can be accomplished. Much of the content is familiar to me since it’s similar to articles on their blog, but it’s great to have a book-length look at Doing Hard Things.

It’s challenging. Maybe especially to those of us already past our teen years who know we could be doing more, striving for bigger and better things, and we don’t even have the excuse of being teenagers anymore. Of course, part of the whole point of the book is that being a teen is no excuse, and that they should and can rebel against low expectations. But the Do Hard Things mindset is something all Christians should have. It’s just incredibly sensible, useful, fulfilling, and possible to do so at an early age.

The stories are probably the most challenging parts of the book, since they are real-life (historical and modern) examples of teens doing real-life hard things from overcoming sickliness, buying and learning to use recording equipment, running political campaigns, beating procrastination (ouch!), designing top-quality survey programs, captaining ships, and more. Alex and Brett also do a consistent, thoughtful job of backing their points with Scripture, making their message all the more powerful.

I’m not quite finished with the book. It’s a good length. The cover design is really cool. It has an intro by Chuck Norris, if that interests anyone. (Half a year ago, I had no clue who this cool guy was who got all the jokes made about him…”You don’t know who Chuck Norris is?!?!?” was usually followed by uninformative silence. Now I know he’s a real person, not some mythical character, and I chiefly think he’s cool because he’s a Christian and admires the Harris twin’s character and message.)

I may put up more quotes from the book later, or talk about some hard things I’m attempting. For now, I recommend buying the book (or here's a cheaper autographed one) and/or reading the blog. These guys have a message that is changing lives because of its grounding in truth. I think God is using it to change mine, and only time and effort will tell where He’ll take me next.

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