Justin’s #64 – Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake, Frank Abagnale Jr., 227 pages

November 30, 2015 // 0 Comments

I saw this movie back in the day and thought it was interesting. So I picked up the audiobook version of it. The man who read it is named, “Barrett Whitener.” He is the same man who did the audiobook for “Confederacy of Dunces” which I reviewed earlier this year. And he is basically amazing. He is really what made this book really interesting and entertaining and I look forward to hearing more by him. The book itself is about con-man Frank Abagnale Jr. Estranged from his family early in his life, Frank ran away from home as a high school dropout. For the next couple of years, he would go on to con hundreds of banks in a fake-check scheme posing as a Pan Am pilot. He partied in every major city in Europe; he stole somewhere in the 2.5 million dollar range; he posed as a Doctor in Atlanta; a lawyer in New Orleans; and he rode probably hundreds of airplanes for free posing as a pilot. You’ll have to listen/read the book for more details, but Frank Abagnale Jr. was a con-man. One of the biggest at that. He had an aura about him that made people […]

Mark’s #43 – You Are Not Special: …And Other Encouragements by David McCullough, Jr. (2015)

November 29, 2015 // 0 Comments

David McCullough, Jr., son and namesake of the famous historian, high school english teacher, husband and father of four sprang into the public eye with his now famous graduation speech entitled, “You Are Not Special.”  This book, is an expansion of the speech as McCullough challenges many aspects of our culture, it’s definition of success, the pressure put on students, the distractions of the modern world, micromanaging parents, the disfunction of youth sports and activities, and more. McCullough shares stories of fatherhood, teaching, and his own childhood.   He encourages students, parents, and school administrations to cast aside this obsessive pursuit of what we have collectively determined to be success.  Parents hover, teachers bow to pressure to lower standards and raise grades, and students have stopped taking risks for fear of failure. Against this pressure, McCullough encourages readers and students to step out, pursue life, pursue joy, and to make a difference in the world.  Learn for the sake of learning.  Play sports for fun.  Read constantly. Write something. Stay humble. “You see, if everyone is special, then no one is.  If everyone gets a trophy, trophies become meaningless.  In our unspoken but not so subtle Darwinian competition with one […]

Justin’s #63 – Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles, Charles Spencer, 352 pages

November 28, 2015 // 0 Comments

Have you ever gotten 100 pages into a book and realized that you hate it, but since you’re so far in, you have to finish? That was this book in a nutshell for me. I am no anglophile, and the title of the book is so much more appealing that the contents. Let me try to see if I can draw some conclusions about this book: England in the early 1600’s was a complex machine. By the 1640’s, there was a parliament but it acted as an advisory council and had little real power. The English have always had spats with the Scotts, and by the middle 1640’s, the two were pitted against each other: the Royalists were loyal to the King of England and the Parliamentarians were, obviously, loyal to Parliament. The reason for the Civil War was religious: Charles I wanted to make the Anglican religion universal over all of Britain. The more Presbyterian Scotts thought this a violation and quickly mounted several uprisings that devastated the order. After some bloody years, the Royalists lost and Parliament took control of the country. In the process, Charles I was extradited for high treason. During a sham trial where Charles […]

JRF’s #22: Battling Unbelief by John Piper – 162 pages

November 28, 2015 // 0 Comments

Taken from the end of Piper’s longer classic, Future Grace, and supplemented with new material, Battling Unbelief applies the power of faith in future grace to the fight against sin in daily life.  Working of the proposition that, “unbelief in the promises of God (that is, future grace) is the root that sustains the life of these sins,” Piper looks at how the promises of God help us fight against anxiety, pride, misplaced shame, impatience, covetousness, bitterness, despondency, and lust. In a time where (joyfully) the theology of the cross has been rediscovered and celebrated, this book is a helpful reminder that our only source of motivation to fight sin, is not just passively looking back to the cross with a debtors ethic, but actively looking forward to and striving towards the consummation of the promises that Christ’s life, death, and resurrection purchased for us. I leave you with a few quotes: “Boasting is the response of pride to success.  Self-pity is the response of pride to suffering.” “The battle against bitterness is fought not only by trusting the promise of God to avenge wrongs done against us; it is also fought by cherishing the experience of being forgiven by God.” “So I […]

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