Book Review – DO HARD THINGS (Alex and Brett Harris)

I received my copy of DO HARD THINGS about two weeks ago and was able to finish it earlier this week. It reads quickly and is engaging and interesting. More important than anything, though, is the content. It’s a message that many teenagers (and even adults) need to hear. For anyone not familiar with the Rebelution or Do Hard Things, the goal of the movement is a rebellion against low expectations. I’ll try to explain that a little more in a second.

The book is divided up into three sections with approximately four chapters each. The first section introduces the movement, its purpose, and its historical context. Personally, that was my favorite part because it showed that the age of adolescence and young adulthood (along with its expectations of rebellion and relative mediocrity) is really quite new, and therefore most likely not God’s plan for His children.

In this first section, Alex and Brett tell stories of the early lives of George Washington, Clara Barton, and David Farragut which seem superhuman by today’s standards. They discuss the history of the teenager, the origins of the word (and the period of life) and the consequences of the teen age.

With this background, they expound on the significance of the Rebelution (A “Revolutionary Rebellion” against low expectations- a “Rebelution”) and how people strive for the standards and challenges they are given. When those standards are high, people strive to do well and work hard. In today’s culture, standards are low, which is why most adults don’t expect much from teenagers. They set mediocre challenges and get mediocrity as a result.

The Rebelutionary solution is to strive for the greatest challenge we can attain- living a godly life that speaks of His wonderful grace and power in our lives. The second section of the book describes the so-called “five types of hard things,” or different areas in our lives that are challenging and take hard work. Those are: “things that take you outside your comfort zone, things that go beyond what’s expected or required, things that are too big for you to do alone, things that don’t pay off immediately,” and “things that go against the crowd.”

This section is definitely not as good as the first, but it’s nevertheless good information. I didn’t like the approach- “how to do Hard Things…” simply because it came across strongly as a how-to book rather than a generation-changing calling. This is the hard part of the review for me to write, because while I disagree with the method, the how questions still need to be addressed. Keep in mind that this is their first book, so as first-time authors they deserve a little slack.

I didn’t really enjoy the third section either, which just seemed like a bunch of ‘relevant examples’ of other teenagers just like you who followed five steps and now are experiencing health, wealth, and prosperity. I know that’s obviously not the intention of the authors, but I suppose I just got a little tired of the thousands of examples strewn throughout the book.

The one other thing that I didn’t really like was how easy it was to read and comprehend. To an extent that’s good- but it’s not exactly demonstrating their message to seek challenges and strive to do hard things. In my opinion there could have been many more Scriptural references and less examples, but the trade-off is going to bring in less non-Rebelutionaries and therefore not be as effective in spreading the message.

Despite my nit picking, it’s still a great book with a great message. You can tell that their hearts are set on God and are seeking to help other teenagers follow His plan for them. If you haven’t read it yet, I definitely encourage you to. If you haven’t discovered the Rebelution, I humbly suggest that it could be one of the best things you could do today.

Read More:
The Rebelution | 1 Timothy 4:12 | DO HARD THINGS on Amazon ($11.89 new, $9.58 used) | Tim Challies’ Review

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