Monday, April 27, 2009

Review of “The Noticer” Which Is Being Released Today

imageWhen Thomas Nelson asked if I wanted to review their new book, “The Noticer” at first I declined.It seemed like a book my wife might enjoy (ala Nicholas Sparks), but the descriptions of it didn’t “ring my bell” so to speak.  But later, (almost too late) I changed my mind.  At that point, they could not send me the paper copy in time for the release date, so I read an electronic copy.

The basic storyline is that a mysterious old man named “Jones” (“Not Mr. Jones…just Jones”) --“The Noticer” of the title--appears in people’s lives at one or two key moments in their lives when they need direction, encouragement, focus.   Jones seems to be either an angel or an incarnation of God. People know him by names appropriate to their culture:  Garcia to an Hispanic person, Chen to an Asian person, etc.  He walks through locked doors, appears on boats out on the ocean, appears out in the ocean waters beside another boat, even “transfigures” himself: morphing from one nationality to another in front of Andrews. He notices people and what they need to know.

Andy Andrews, the author, who in real life is a corporate motivational speaker appears as the first one that Jones appears to when he is homeless, jobless, living below a pier on the Gulf Coast and about at his wits end.  Jones has Andy read biography after biography of famous and successful people.  (What the book doesn’t say is that this practice and the Seven Decisions that Andrews developed from it formed the basis of his motivational speaking career).

The book tells a series of vignettes of Jones’ interaction with people in the community on the Gulf Coast: a couple on the verge of divorce, a set of teens asking advice on who to marry, a businessman filled with worry, an old woman waiting/wanting to die, a hard and corrupt contractor, another homeless teen, like Andrews, living under the same abandoned pier. 

The book is filled with nice truisms, but truisms we often forget:

  • Whatever you focus on, increases.
  • When you are happy & enthusiastic, people want to be around you, and when people want to be around you, your opportunities increase.
  • A successful life has a great deal to do with perspective. And another person’s perspective about you can sometimes be as important as your perspective is about yourself. Ask yourself, what would other people change about me if they could?
  • Most folks figure a true friend is someone who accepts them as they are. But that’s dangerous garbage to believe. The kid who works the drive-through at your local fast-food restaurant accepts you for who you are—because he doesn’t care anything about you. But a true friend holds you to a higher standard. A true friend brings out the best in you. A best friend, will tell you the truth . . . and a wise best friend will include a healthy dose of perspective.”
  • The way we feel love is generally the way we express love.  But the person we love may feel love differently (saying “I love you” as opposed to doing acts of kindness).  If we don’t know how they receive love and express love in that language they will believe we don’t really love them.
    1. Words of approval
    2. Favors and deeds
    3. Physical contact
    4. Quality time
  • Smart people get tripped up with worry and fear. Worry . . . fear . . . is just a misuse of the creative imagination that has been placed in each of us. Because we are smart and creative, we imagine all the things that could happen, that might happen, that will happen if this or that happens.
  • The easiest way to defeat these worries & fears is with logic:
    • 40% of what you worry about will never happen
    • 30% of what you worry about has already happened, it’s in the past.
    • 12% have to do with needless imaginings about our health.
    • 10% would be petty little-nothing worries about what other people think.
    • 8% are legitimate concerns that are things we can actually do something about.
  • Wisdom is the ability to see, into the future, the consequences of your choices in the present.
  • If you are breathing, you are still alive. If you are alive, then you are still here, physically, on this planet. If you are still here, then you have not completed what you were put on earth to do. If you have not completed what you were put on earth to do . . .that means your very purpose has not yet been fulfilled. If your purpose has not yet been fulfilled, then the most important part of your life has not yet been lived. And if the most important part of your life has not yet been lived . . that is one’s proof of hope.
  • No matter your age, physical condition, financial situation, color, gender, emotional state, or belief . . . everything you do, every move you make, matters to all of us—and forever.
  • There is a big difference between our perception of SUCCESS and our perception of a successful LIFE.
  • There is no power in intention.  There is only power in action.

What is very confusing is the connected campaign: “The Noticer Project: A Movement to “Notice” the Five Most Important People in Your Life.”   It seems disconnected from anything in the book, but shares the same title and advertizing space.

I had never heard of Andy Andrews before this book.  He is advertized as a raconteur, the Will Rogers of the 21st century.  Could be.  Perhaps it is my cynical side, but it seems like a book designed to promote the career of a motivational speaker.  The writing is inconsistent:  touching in spots and yet often choppy and awkward.  Often it is simply a lecture put into dialogic form. 

But as with many books like this it is not without its redeeming features:  the messages are true, the story format makes them easily accessible.  Many people (me included) would do well to heed many of its words.  Is it great literature?  Absolutely not. It is worth spending some time with?  Yes.  Am I better for having read it?  Absolutely.

1 comment:

nicole said...

Ever have one of those "people" you life? Always smiling,positive,glass half~full,kind of person.
I have several;when asked what magic pill they were prescribed.......a resounding "Andy Andrews" was their response. The Noticer; is my choice ....will keep you posted.

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