Review – Acer R11 4 Gig Real Life Review

What this Review Is And Is Not

I thought I’d do a review of the Acer R11 Chromebook focusing on how it fits within my daily workflow. This review will not address the technical specifics of the Chromebook, but more day to day usability. If you are interested in specifications, octane speeds, etc., there are great reviews such as:

CNet R11 Review
Laptop Magazine R11 Review
Computer World R11 review
The Verge

Instead of the technical merits, I will focus on my experience with the Acer R11 (4Gig 16meg SD model). I plan on updating this review as I used the machine especially once the Google Play Store is available bring all the Android apps.

My Case Use

I am a pastor so my work varies and includes quite a bit of writing as I prepare sermons, lessons and newsletters, along with talking with people, facilitating training events, leading meetings, creating strategic leadership and organizational plans, and various other activities. Currently I am working on a second book which I plan to self-publish through Amazon’s Createspace service.
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Review – Quiet by Susan Cain

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Susan Cain’s book on introversion is, in my estimation, an indispensable resource on challenges introverts face in an extroverted world. The book is well researched and written. The five years it Cain took to write is evident. I was surprised by the amount of research Quiet contained, and the extensive research serves as a testimony to a self-avowed introvert.

Cain organized the book around four main sections. Part One, the Extrovert Ideal, covers the cultural propensity toward extroversion. Part Two, Your Biology, Your Self! covers biological factors of introversion. Part Three, Do All Cultures have an Extrovert Ideal, explores other cultures and whether there are cultures that are more introverted. Part Four, How to Love, How To Work, gives guidance on how to live as an introvert in an extrovert’s world.

One of the main points Cain made was that introversion is not something to be cured or fixed. It is a temperament. She points out not only the contribution introverts have made, but how their temperament is essential to society. Introvert’s quiet contributions have literally changed the world. Through many encouraging chapters she helps introverts to embrace their temperament, find their voice, and contribute. The book addresses how extroverted cultures create challenges that Introverts must understand and adapt to if they are going to reach their potential.

The book was comprehensive, covering everything from biological factors to how to succeed in an extroverted world. She also addresses raising a child who may be an introvert. A wonderful take away was her suggestions on public speaking.

The book is well researched, however, I wish the references to the endnotes were in the text. While not having references in the text, does make the book easier to read, it makes further research more difficult. Also, not having references in the text makes it difficult to know which statements had research and which ones didn’t. That is my only critique however.

This is an excellent book and resource for both introverts and extroverts. I recommend this book to those who know they are introverted because it gives suggestions and guidance on how to embrace one’s introversion while living in an extroverted world. I recommend this book to those who work, or live, with introverts, and anyone who has to lead or manage people. Extroverted leaders and managers have much to gain through this book. By understanding more about the introverts, and their potential contributions, both introverts and extroverts will find their world enriched.

Review – The Deeper Path by Kary Oberbrunner

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I received a pre-release electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I just finished Kary Oberbrunner’s book and I’m conflicted. I’m giving the book three stars. Overall the book was a good positive book. There were many helpful points, and thoughts. Following the exercises to create one’s OPUS and Six Pack would be powerful and could serve to clarifies one’s life purpose. However, I did have some reservations as well. I will outline those after I comment on what I found helpful.

Kary’s story is powerful and insightful. Through his story, he points to the reality of pain, the reality of God, and the reality of living past the pain. I found the second section, The How, especially helpful, challenging, and redeeming. As Kary demonstrates, it is possible to embrace one’s pain and find hope, joy, and life. I loved his stress on silence versus noise and how we tend to drown out our pain. Instead of ignoring our pain, Oberbrunner encourages us to embrace it and move through it to healing..
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Review – The Heart of Religion

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I received the electronic version of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The authors have taken on quite a task. Through qualitative and quantitative statistical methods they seek to understand the impact of experiencing divine or godly love has on benevolence. The quantitative survey served to determine what categories had impact on benevolence. The real treasure, however, is their use of qualitative interviews to put “meat” onto the skeletal bones of the survey data.

The book does not focus on organized religion such as denominations or organizations, but rather “lived” religion which the authors believe, at the source, lies an inner experience of love that provides the impetus for religion. The book is appropriate for wide range of individuals from social scientists to laypersons. While each group will find items of interest, because of its wide audience, there could be disappointments as well. The authors mention that when they shared drafts with people, the scholars wanted it to be more academic and the non-scholars wanted it less academic. Yet, whether scholar or not, people wanted to read the rest of the book, a desire with which I concur.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in how divine love “plays out” in someone’s life. This is a scientific work. The survey data was enlightening, but the interviews and the exemplar’s stories were able to give insight into how one, empowered by divine love, views his or her life and lives in response to that love.

There’s a lot I could say about this book. While there have been religious surveys in the past, this is perhaps the first one to truly look behind the data. There were surprises and confirmations. What I appreciated the most was the authors commitment to digging under the surface of assumptions to understand what happens in a person’s life when they experience divine love. One of the great takeaways for me was their heuristic of “The Process of Participating in Godly Love” which, I believe, could be used to undergird a mentoring or discipleship process. At the very least, the heuristic gives insight into how one’s life is affected by godly love.

I did have some struggles while reading the book. The authors sought to discover “how Americans wake up to the reality of divine love in  a Christian context and then attempt to express that love to others through benevolent acts.” Yet, many times I felt the accounts of the exemplars were more from outliers than normal everyday Americans. The exemplar’s whose stories were told ran complex and extensive ministries, put their lives or livelihoods on the line, or were instrumental to social change. I wanted more data from everyday people who were trying to live life and how divine love impacted their benevolence.

I started wondering if that wasn’t part of the point. When someone’s life has been overtaken by an experience of divine love they do become an outlier. Their lives are turned completely upside down. They become somewhat consumed by love which is lived out in ministry to the world. Or, perhaps they authors believed that looking at exemplars gave greater insight into the effects of godly love than the live’s of non-exemplars would have. In all fairness, the authors did mention several times that the book represented a small part of their research. With the size limits of the book, it would not be possible to include data from all of the individuals interviewed.

Because of the extensiveness of the findings the authors had to choose to focus on a small part of the results, choosing to focus on those more pentecostal (as a worldview rather than denomination). I would have liked to see a broader address of other non-pentecostals and perhaps even faiths other than Christian. Given the choice to focus on pentecostalism, I found it interesting that at least one of the authors had already written several books about pentecostalism. It doesn’t seem that was the reason for the pentecostalism focus, but rather that those more pentecostal, or open to experience of God’s spirit, also tend to experience godly love more often.

As it stands, the book is over 300 pages (with endnotes), so including more data, more interviews, more stories, would have made the book too large. I, for one, look forward to seeing more results from this research.

One surprise was how this book has caused me to reassess some of my prejudices and piqued my interest in alternative expressions of Christianity. The book contains enough statistical data that to plumbs its depths would take more than a single reading. I thank the authors for their work and pray for their continued success and insight.

Review: Coming Home to Your True Self by Albert Haase

Coming Home to Your True Self: Leaving the Emptiness of False Attractions by Albert Haase

Not too bad of a book. I wasn’t real impressed at first, but he does a good job of discussing the true and false self. Fairly easy to read. Perhaps the best part of the book was the last chapter which had to do with growing spiritually.

He does a pretty good job of breaking down the characteristics of the true and false self which is helpful. The book is very accessible, more so that Thomas Merton or others. Perhaps this is because he is a spiritual director and he is writing the book to people who simply want to grow in their faith.

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