America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great – Book Review

DSC02646If you aren’t already familiar with Dr. Ben Carson and you live in the USA then chances are that in the next couple of years you will be.  His life story and rise to prominent humanitarian success has been the subject of a movie (entitled “Gifted Hands” and starring Cuba Gooding Jr.) and he has written several best-selling books, of which “America the Beautiful” is the latest.

Since the release of “America the Beautiful” Dr. Carson has gained popularity as a practical, intelligent and compassionate voice calling for the American people to rediscover what made our nation great.  He is seen in many circles as a modern day patriot who even as a registered Independent maintains conservative, Godly principles of government and management.  For this reason and others, he has recently been approached by more than one group who wishes him to run for President in 2016.

While he himself has not acknowledged any plans to enter the presidential race as of yet, after reading “America the Beautiful” it is my wish that Dr. Carson be a candidate.  He has a clear understanding of how our nation was formed, how we rose to prominence in the world and that we must return to honoring God for our success if we are to continue to survive.

“America the Beautiful” begins with a look back at our nation’s history and its key players and events.  This was truly my favorite part of the book because I am a fan of history and because Dr. Carson provides plenty of evidence to support the fact that our founding fathers truly wanted “one nation under God”.  From George Washington to Ben Franklin to Thomas Jefferson, every single one of them at some point publicly acknowledged the role of the sovereign God in their lives and in the formation of this country.

Our nation was founded on “in God we Trust” and the basic ideas that government should not interfere in the lives and freedoms of its people but rather uphold and protect “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” equally for all.  When we remember and practice these tenants, we thrive.  When we forget and personal liberty is trampled we stumble and fall.

Dr. Carson then goes on to show how our nation has had its fair share of mistakes (slavery, the Civil War, the treatment of Native Americans and Japanese during WWII, civil rights) but also how we have learned from those mistakes.  He contrasts those periods in our nation’s history with the period we find ourselves in now where there is much uncertainty about our nation’s role in the world and the vast split in political ideology that seems to have occurred.

Dr. Carson is hopeful that with the intelligence and potential that the American people possess we can find the answers to the problems that we face.  Dr. Carson calls for the involvement of the best and the brightest in the process of government as well as a return to a government that is “of the people, for the people and by the people”.  In other words, we need real human beings from all walks of life involved in our political system in order for it to function properly and not just those who wish to be career politicians.  In this, I agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Carson.

Towards the end of the book Dr. Carson discusses some of the bigger problems facing our nation at this juncture and the Affordable Care Act is one of those topics.  Being a surgeon and well respected doctor, Dr. Carson’s ideas and suggestions in this area carry a lot of weight in my mind.  Dr. Carson is a brilliant man who has real experience working in the medical field and he seems to have an excellent grasp on what is needed to truly provide adequate healthcare for our populace while not bankrupting us in the process.

While the Affordable Care Act is not the only notable topic that Dr. Carson discusses in the latter parts of his book, it is perhaps the most timely.  I think what he has to say about this and about the direction our country is headed in is important enough that I would recommend “America the Beautiful” to anyone who wanted to read it.

“America the Beautiful” may not be the most fun or exciting book that I’ve read lately but it just might be one of the most important.  I pray that God is already working to provide the right leader for our country in 2016 and that we as a nation remember to honor and acknowledge God in all of our ways.  Dr. Ben Carson might just be exactly what we need and if you read “America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great” you will hopefully agree with me.

ISBN-13  978-0310330912

Publisher: Zondervan

Publication date: January 22, 2013

Pages: 224

The Six Keys to Financial Success – Book Review

Six Keys to Financial Success, Book Review, Sean HymanAfter writing “More than Giving, More than Saving”, I began my search for knowledge in regards to the world of finance and investing.  In my search, I came across the work of Sean Hyman.

Sean is a former pastor who has dedicated his life to teaching others what the Bible has to say about success, money and financial stewardship.  Sean’s book, “Six Keys to Financial Success”, is one of the tools that Sean uses to assist people like you and me in making financial decisions based on Godly principles.  “Six Keys to Financial Success” is an ebook and at only 47 pages, is more of a booklet than a full fledged book.  Don’t let that stop you from reading it, however, because it is well worth your time.

Being a novice, I appreciate the simplicity and straightforwardness of Sean’s book.  Sean uses plain, everyday words and grammar and while finance and investment does contain plenty of advanced concepts, “Six Keys to Financial Success” is written for the beginner and assumes you have no prior knowledge or training.  In other words, it’s a great place for a person like me to start.

Along with being easy to read, “Six Keys to Financial Success” is also generally encouraging and provides a lot of useful information for anyone who wants to get their life on solid financial ground.  If you’ve ever suffered (or are suffering) from debt problems and can’t seem to get your head above water, “Six Keys to Financial Success” would be a great place to start your debt recovery.

Sean’s basic premise in “Six Keys to Financial Success” is that God desires his people to live in such a way that we are always in a position to bless others with our abundance.  Debt causes a deficit and a lack of abundance and inhibits our ability to bless others and based on what the Bible says, God would not have us live in such a way.

Sean’s six keys are as follows:

1. Pray for God’s Favor and Blessing in Your Work – I love that Sean starts this with prayer.  Beginning any endeavor with prayer and entreaty to God means that we are acknowledging Him as the ultimate authority and that without His blessing we are laboring in vain.  Seek Him first!  Pray for the business that you work for and pray for those who work along side you and over you.  Acknowledge God in all your ways while working and He will bless the fruit of your hands.

2.  Tithes and Offerings: 10% Plus Some, Not just 10% – God desires us to be givers.  If you’ve read last month’s book review (Plastic Donuts: Giving that Delights the Heart of the Father) then you know that while tithing is important and God promises blessings to those who tithe, it is joyful giving that really pleases Him.  God richly blesses those who give in abundance.  I’ve seen this in my own life and Sean writes about how he has seen it in his life.  I’ve always heard it put “you can’t out give God” and that is entirely accurate.  Be a giver!

3.  Save Money and Reduce Your Debts – The Bible clearly shows that this world will go through times of plenty and times of lack.  Those who “build a storehouse” will not suffer loss when the lean times come.  For us today, that means having a healthy savings account and developing the discipline to keep it that way.  Despite what we might think, we don’t need the latest and greatest of anything and we could probably do without much of what we now have.  By cutting expenses and putting the extra into savings we are putting ourselves into a good position for a rainy day.  There’s no need to stress about a car repair or appliance replacement when we have a healthy savings account and we are certainly in a better position to help others when we aren’t having to worry about making ends meet each month.

4.  Invest for Your Future – Much like the topic of “More than Giving, More than Saving”, Sean encourages putting your money to work by wisely investing it.  Using the parable of the talents, Sean illustrates how God gives to us according to our ability and then expects us to develop what He has given us.  In order to be given more, we need to “enlarge our territory” by increasing our abilities.  God is only going to bestow on us the blessings that we can handle.  In order to be more fully blessed, we need to be in a position to receive it by learning and working as hard as we can.  Invest in knowledge, invest in increased ability and invest the finances that God has blessed you with.

5.  Philanthropy – Once again, be a giver.  Put yourself into a position where you can bless your pastor, your church, your family and the poor and needy with your finances.  Sean says, and I agree with him, that those who give generously tend to do better in life than those who don’t.  That’s pretty self-explanatory but it really can’t be overstated.

6.  Be the Lender and Not the Borrower – Following the above five principles will put us in a position where we are not dependent on the bank or a credit account.  We can become the lender because we have the abundance to do so.  Proverbs 22:7 says the borrower is slave to the lender and our Lord would not have us be in bondage to anyone or anything.  Taking on debt to obtain material goods may be the American way but that does not make it God’s way.  God does not get glory out of His children being poor and destitute because of bad financial decisions.

I appreciate “Six Keys to Financial Success” for what it has already taught me and how it is shaping my thinking about finances.  Sean Hyman would be a great person for any Christian who wants to know more about financial stewardship to read and study more about.  His life story and path to success is based on Godly wisdom and Biblical principles and the world we live in could use many more people like him.



“Six Keys to Financial Success” is published in eBook form by and is available from for Kindle products and from for Nook products.

ISBN -13: 9781456602444

Copyright 2011

47 pages