This is a good post by Mike Anderson at the Resurgence.
Jonathan Edwards On … Negotiation
When you read carefully, you see how this applies. From Charity and Its Fruits:
And they, also, are of a spirit and practice the very opposite of a spirit of love, who show an exorbitantly grasping and avaricious spirit, and who take every opportunity to get all they possibly can from their neighbors in their dealings with them, asking them more for for what they do for or sell to them than it is truly worth, and extorting to the utmost from them by unreasonable demands: having no regard to the value of the thing to their neighbor, but, as it were, forcing out of him all they can get for it.
And they who do these things are generally very selfish also in buying from their neighbors, grinding and pinching them down to the lowest prices, and being very backward to give what the thing purchased is really worth. Such a spirit and practice are the very opposite of a Christian spirit, and are severely reproved by the great law of love, viz., that we do to others as we would have them do to us.
In other words, “think win win” is not a modern invention. As Edwards points out, even in our commercial and business dealings, Christians are to have a view to the good of the other person. We are not to simply seek our own benefit, but are to have regard to what will be good for the other as well.
This is not anti-capitalistic, either. One of the best recent books on negotiation, Getting to Yes, makes the case that this is actually the most effective form of negotiation. It’s called thinking win-win, and it’s not only the most effective long-term (since people don’t like doing business with those that are always pinching them down to the lowest possible amount), nor only the most decent way of treating others; it’s also very Christian.
Christians seek the good of others–not just in their personal lives (what does that even mean, anyway?), but in all realms of life, at all times.
Wordsmithing: Tips for Writers
Andy Naselli has a great summary of Doug Wilson’s recent book Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life, which is worth taking a look at.
And, if you read the post, you’ll learn a bonus fact on why it’s not necessarily wrong for me to have ended that sentence with a preposition.
(One other note of interest: Though it’s not as engaging, I used the term “wordsmithing” in the title of this post because I don’t like the term “wordsmithy” that Wilson uses in the title of his book! But that’s a small thing, and probably something Doug would find humorous in light of the subject.)
Tweaking the Idea of "Minimal Viable Product"
A good point from Godin the other day:
One of my favorite ideas in the new wave of programming is the notion of minimal viable product. The thought is that you should spec and build the smallest kernel of your core idea, put it in the world and see how people react to it, then improve from there.
For drill bits and other tools, this makes perfect sense. Put it out there, get it used, improve it. The definition of “minimal” is obvious.
Often, for software we use in public, this definition leads to failure. Why? Two reasons:
1. Marketing plays by different rules than engineering. Many products depend on community, on adoption within a tribe, on buzz–these products aren’t viable when they first launch, precisely because they haven’t been adopted. “Being used by my peers,” is a key element of what makes something like a fax machine a viable product, and of course, your new tool isn’t.
What is an Entrepreneur?
I love this quote from Godin:
An entrepreneur is an artist of sorts, throwing herself into impossible situations and seeking out problems that require heart and guts to solve.
How the Gospel Should Shape Your Web Strategy for Those in the Twin Cities
This Friday morning (November 11th) I’ll be speaking at the Social Media Shepherds monthly event on “How the Gospel Should Shape Your Web Strategy.” It will be 8:00 – 9:30 am at Bethlehem Baptist Church (downtown campus), 720 13th Ave S, Minneapolis, room 203 (upstairs and to the left).
For anyone in or around the Twin Cities interested in web strategy and social media, it would be fun to see you there.
Looks like you can also RSVP and get more info on Facebook.
Four Books I'm Looking Forward To
I’m going through my in box after letting things collect for a while I attended to some major projects. Here are four books I’ve recently obtained that I’m looking forward to reading:
1. Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck–Why Some Thrive Despite Them All
Jim Collins’ new book.
I know Jim Collins only writes about one book every ten years or so, but I can barely keep up because they are so packed with incredible insight. Good to Great and Built to Last (his best, in my view) were so helpful I spent 12 hours taking notes over each of them (and then more time reviewing the notes and writing out further thoughts).
Jim Collin’s books are among the best, bar none, that you can read on how to lead your organization effectively (or, if you aren’t in top leadership, create a pocket of greatness wherever you are).
Get all of Jim Collin’s books if you haven’t, read them, take notes, then read them again.
I hope I can do that with Great by Choice in a timely manner!
2. The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God
Tim Keller’s new book.
I need to read more on both marriage and parenting. I am so far behind on my parenting reading that I didn’t finish Making the Terrible Twos Terrific until our oldest was 6. Fortunately, our third just turned two, so there’s still hope with that book. And, I think I can get to this book in much less time than it took me to get to that book on the Terrible Twos.
3. Jesus + Nothing = Everything
Tullian Tchividjian’s new book, on the sufficiency of Christ. Excellent subject, excellent title. Sounds like he discusses this in the context of the most challenging year of his ministry, and so it will be combined with lots of personal stories and insights that he gained through a period of suffering. Looking forward to this a lot.
4. Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership
John Dickson’s recent book. I heard John speak at the Global Leadership Summit this August, and his presentation was the best message on humility I have ever heard. I love, love, love his definition of humility and think it is right on: humility is holding power in the service of others.
I’m hoping to get to these soon. I have about 20 books on social action and ending global poverty lined up to read as soon as I can, then I hope to get through a bunch of books on parenting, and in the midst of that I hope to fit in these and a bunch of others.
The Business of Design
Good design is good business. This is starting to be recognized more and more, but there is still a long ways to go for the importance of good design to truly take root.
This is a helpful Fast Company article from 2005 on how “in a global economy, elegant design is becoming a critical competitive advantage. Trouble is, most business folks don’t think like designers.” It shows how design-oriented companies think and operate, and why this matters.
And, this is relevant not just for businesses, but churches, ministries, and all non-profits. Good design matters because people are emotional as well as rationale. To care only about the utility of a product is to fail to treat people holistically. (And, interestingly, the result is most often less helpful products as well.)
7 Benefits of Reading Non-Christian Books
Tony Reinke, in his excellent book Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books:
What types of books should Christians read? Scripture is the most important book, and the highest priority for our reading. Christian books can teach us valuable lessons about God, the world, our sin, and our Savior.
But in this chapter I want to focus on the value of non-Christian books. By that term, I mean any book not authored by a converted Christian or written from an explicitly Christian motive. What should we do with all these books? Should we burn them? Should we treasure them? Should we read them in secret under the bedsheets with a flashlight?
My conviction is that non-Christian literature — at least the best of it — is a gift from God to be read by Christians. These books are, in the words of Spurgeon, gold leaf compared to the gold bars of Scripture, but they are gold, and they do have value.
He then discusses seven benefits to reading non-Christian books. I’d love to reproduce the whole discussion, as it is an excellent outline on how to think about the relationship between common grace and saving grace, but to see that you’ll have to get the book! But here are the seven benefits he goes in to:
- Non-Christian literature can describe the world, how it functions, and how to subdue it
- Non-Christian books highlight common life experiences
- Non-Christian books can expose the human heart
- Non-Christian books can teach us wisdom and valuable moral lessons
- Non-Christian books can capture beauty
- Non-Christian literature raises questions that can only be resolved in Christ
- Non-Christian books can echo spiritual truth and edify the soul
If you read (which is everyone), I would highly recommend my friend Tony Reinke’s new book, Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books. It is well written, enjoyable, incredibly practical, and on a subject (reading) that it is very interesting and helpful to read more about. So often we just read, without thinking much about how we do it. Tony’s book helps us correct that, so we can read better and know better what reading really is.
Here’s what Randy Alcorn had to say:
“I read many books, but seldom do I enjoy one more than I did Tony Reinke’s Lit!. Many of my greatest childhood adventures, and much of my growth after I was converted as a teenager, came through reading imagination-expanding and life-changing books. Tony’s writing is thoughtful, perceptive, concise, and God-honoring. He upholds biblical authority, and offers helpful guidance, while allowing for a range of tastes. Lit! rings true to my own lifetime of reading experience. As a reader and writer of both nonfiction and fiction, I appreciate the breadth of Tony’s treatment, which includes a variety of genres. For book lovers, this is a treasure and delight. For those who aren’t book lovers, it makes a great case for becoming one.”
In part one, Tony gives a theology of books and reading, and in part 2 he gives practical advice on books and reading. He covers how a biblical worldview equips us to benefit from books, seven benefits of reading non-Christian books, six priorities for deciding what to read (and what not to read), 20 tips and tricks for reading nonfiction books, six ways to find the time you need to read, and much more.
So if you read, I highly recommend getting Tony’s book!