Monday, June 19, 2017

Review: Real Artists Don't Starve

The proposition of Real Artists Don't Starve (2017, Thomas Nelson) is intriguing. It begins with a shocking discovery about Renaissance artist Michelangelo. While he may be seen as the stereotypical "starving artist," he was actually paid a fortune for his murals on the Sistine Chapel. This led author Jeff Goins to the conclusion that being an artist does not mean succumbing to the "Starving Artist" mold. Instead, he contrasts this with the "Thriving Artist" of what he calls the New Renaissance. The book presents practical principles for becoming an artist who thrives, embracing countercultural mentalities of creativity.

Make no mistake—this book is not a how-to on starting a work from beginning to end. Rather, Real Artists Don't Starve presents a method, a mindset in which to enter a creative process. As a musician, composer, and graphic designer, I benefited from many of these ideas that I often saw as wrong, such as that "stealing" is a good thing. This book does have a self-help vibe to it, and its publication by a Christian organization hints at the betterment of life promised by the Gospel. Overall, this book is an excellent read for existing artists who want to go deeper in their craft.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Review: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

In an updated version of his groundbreaking work, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (2017, Zondervan), award-winning author Pete Scazzero outlines ten problems that arise from spiritual immaturity and provides biblically based remedies. The thesis is simple: It's impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature. His explanations are succinct, easy-to-read, theologically correct and scripturally rooted. This book comes highly recommended for those in all positions—from top-tier leaders to the average layman.

Scazzero melds psychology and theology as he uncovers the causes of spiritual immaturity. Step-by-step illustrations illuminate his concepts. He also uses a variety of illustrations, from popular culture to the Bible. Questions for reflection and a prayer at the end of each chapter provide an excellent immediate application of the principles. This book would be excellent for small group, leadership development, or discipleship courses. Overall, all could benefit from reading Emotionally Healthy Spirituality—it is of no surprise that this is a bestseller.