I’ve recently signed up with a website called BookCrash which sends me free books in exchange for honest reviews on my blog. I chose to read The Book of Common Sense for a Successful Life by D.L. Dennis because I’m always game to hear a new angle on “success” and how to get there. However, this book had few new angles to offer me, I’m afraid.
Mr. Dennis seems like a nice fellow. His life story is one of those feel-good tales of the kid who starts in the pits, messes things up, figures things out, and makes it to the top. Now, he wants to help others in the same boat have the same success.
The first part of the book tells his story and gives an overview of his three-legged stool analogy – that successful living requires attention be paid to the financial, social, and spiritual aspects of life. He devotes three chapters to finances and only one to each of the others -- and the chapter devoted to spiritual life seems rather sparse for a book promoted as Christian literature.
The second part of the book lists “ten steps to success”, practical tips for accomplishing what he suggests. This tips range from the somewhat enlightening (“determine the value of your time”) to the rather obvious (“stay focused and be persistent”). This section being only a third of the 150-page book, it really couldn’t do much more than scratch the surface.
Nobody can argue with the advice Mr. Dennis gives. Common sense is an appropriate label for what the author is offering us.
Unfortunately, while Mr. Dennis seems like a nice man with a nice story and nice advice to share, he also doesn’t seem to be a writer. The book drags. I found myself distracted by identifying passages I can use with my homeschooled children for re-writing activities; the book is chock-full of lessons on redundancy, wordiness, cliché, vague pronouns with no antecedent. But most of all, the book has no distinctive voice. While reading, I alternated between longing to meet this guy to see what his personality is really like to fearing that this is what his personality is really like.
Again, I admire Mr. Dennis for his story and his desire to share this wisdom with others in his situation. Unfortunately, I suspect few of those others are likely to buy a book to find this wisdom. However, they may gladly receive it as a gift. Check out the book at Truth Book Publishers online if you know someone who really needs some common sense in their life.
Disclosure of Material: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookCrash.com book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”