The Road Trip That Changed the World

Here is a book that leaders need to read. For one of the works of leadership is Discerning the Times . . . and that means we have to learn how to interpret the culture in which we life.

Author, church leader, "sociologist/cultural commentator" Mark Sayers is definitely one of my favorites.

His first book, The Trouble With Paris, is still one of my favorite explanations of post-modernism. When an author writes their first book and it is SO GOOD, you kind of wonder if everything else they write is just commentary on their first book. And not nearly as worth reading as was the first FRESH statement.

His latest book, The Road Trip That Changed the World, is a kind of commentary on the themes of the first book . . . but it is a deeper, more insightful, more integrated work than The Trouble With Paris. And he introduces more new themes that make this work broader as well.

Here is why I highly recommend Mark Sayers and The  Road Trip That Changed the World.

1.   He is a very good writer. He has learned the author's craft well. His book is a treat to read, just for the quality of writing.

2.  He is an outstanding student of our contemporary culture. He really understands the context of our times. He is truly a sociologist, cultural anthropologist and missiologist. Now before any of those words are a TURN-OFF . . . 

3.  He is incredibly accessible as he talks about these things. He does so in a way that is popular AND profound. Easy to understand AND wonderfully insightful. He explains everything simply and clearly, without making them simplistic and inaccurate.

4.  He is deeply grounded in historic, orthodox, evangelical, Reformational faith and theology. Here is why he is extremely valuable for me. Too many other post-modern writers are letting go of way too much orthodoxy (in my assessment and for my theological beliefs). Therefore, their post-modern assessments and prescriptions for living faithfully in theses times - seem to me as if they have serious compromises. (I am not getting into specifics or this post becomes painfully long and unreadable.)

5.  Brutal Facts AND Hopeful. He does what Jim Collins recommends in Good to Great. He helps me confront the brutal facts and realities of our own missional context . . . and yet, without losing hope. Sayers is decidedly hopeful about possibilities, while painfully realistic. It is the genius of the Both/And.

6.  He is a deep generalist. He weaves together philosophy, theology, art, poetry, literature, biblical exegesis, sociology, spirituality and more - and it all MAKES SENSE. He is a synthesizer of a diverse set of knowledge domains, and the narrative he weaves is all the more compelling.

7.  It is 270 pages in 25 chapters. Most books I think are at least 1/3 longer than they need to be. Most authors over-communicate and as they do, they are repetitive. There is a little of this in Mark's book... but just a little. At one point, I bogged down "a little" but then . . . it picked right back up. Each chapter is about 10 pages. Which means you can easily read (and think about) a chapter in 15-30 minutes depending on your reading/reflecting pace.

8.  And it is $15.00! Seriously - how can you pass up that price?

Thanks to my good friend and Book Savant, Byron Borger of Hearts and Minds Books who recommended this book to me and when he asked me TWICE, if I had read it yet, and admitted I had not yet done so... encouraged me to read what I buy. Especially when it is what he recommended.

Hey, do something counter-cultural. Reject the juggernaut of Big Book Business and go to the H&M website. Order it from Hearts and Minds.

Also, if you don't already do this, subscribe to his BOOKNOTES BLOG. It is right there on the left column. Easy to do. That way you stay up to date on the best new books coming out constantly, as well as hearing about the best already published books as well.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International