Chad Oberholtzer | Boalsburg, PA, USA | 09/23/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'm relatively well-read in contemporary, evangelical Christian books, but I have somehow managed to miss the entirety of Max Lucado's massive productivity since the mid-1980's. He rather remarkably publishes multiple books every year, yet I've never read one until I listened to the audiobook version of "Cure for the Common Life." Given his amazing success and strong reputation, I was hopeful, but this one left me mostly disappointed.
"Cure for the Common Life" shares a familiar message, that we were created by God with gifts, interests, and experiences that shape what we should do with our lives. Lucado encourages us to find our sweet spot and to live in it. There's certainly nothing wrong with that message, but it's been told a million times before in much more compelling ways. Marcus Buckingham does a fabulous job with this general idea through his StrengthsFinder stuff. Countless other pastors (Andy Stanley, Wayne Cordeiro, Bill Hybels, etc.) have addressed these basic themes in teaching and writing over the past decade or two. Lucado's offering simply felt stale, uninspiring, and unremarkable to me.
To be fair, the book is not a total loss. The chapter about trying to decipher the code that has been written into our children rather than treating them as a blank page on which we can write how we'd like them to live is something that all parents would be well-served to consider. And his chapter about being willing to serve in thankless and simple ways, no matter if a particular act of needed service fits within our sweet spot, is a helpful corrective to the notion that living in our sweet spot somehow allows us to avoid the more unsavory tasks of servanthood demonstrated by Jesus.
Otherwise, "Cure for the Common Life" left me wanting for a cure for the common book. I know that Lucado is wildly popular with millions of readers, and this particular book has gotten largely positive reviews. Nonetheless, it was rather forgettable for me, not significant enough to offer me anything that I haven't heard before. I might give Lucado another chance someday, but I'm hard-pressed to recommend this one to anyone but the most ardent Lucado fans. There's just more engaging stuff out there."