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Raise Thee Up Ancient Principles for Lasting Greatness

Author: Michael Holmes

I received a copy of this book from Michael Holmes and he has been wonderful to read from and briefly interact with on twitter.  You can find him @MichaelGHolmes or at his website for the book at  The book is quite a short read and easy to read and it covers the subject of greatness from a Christian perspective very well.  For that, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and it is very accurate both from the research aspect and evidence used to outline each area and I think he covers the subject thoroughly.

Greatness is first explored and a number of stories are used to demonstrate what is meant by greatness (both qualitative and quantitative) as well as obedience.

Principles are then explored and how they differ from practices.  I loved the points in instinctive morals but unfortunately, I have to say there were a number of paragraphs and examples that I just couldn’t make any sense of in this area.  Examples of sin being a principle completely lost me and no matter how many times I read it, these parts just completely confused me.  The wording used and how Holmes includes quotes to complete his thoughts I find is very distracting and unnecessary.  Personally, I felt that quotes were used far to much which made the author’s point difficult to follow.  I’m not sure exactly why I felt this way and I had the same feelings reading Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life a few years ago.  It must be a personal preference as millions of people love Warren’s book and obviously the quotes used didn’t keep others away.  The same is likely true with this book.  I’d like to hear an authors point be made from their own words more strongly and then provide some reference or context to back it up, instead of forming paragraphs, arguments and starting new thoughts with quotes from references.

So one thing I really liked are the 3 criteria to identify a principle over a practice:

  1. Immutable – simply meaning that it cannot change, its lasting
  2. Consequential – principles will consistently bring about consequences (whether they are rewards or downfall)
  3. Universal – simply that apply for all wide range and are not specific to certain person or situation.

Next, Holmes covers isolation, desire and character as three critical areas impacted by greatness.  These sections were great and presented with short examples and references as is done throughout the book.

Finally, Homes explores 5 laws: vision, the extra mile, persistence, stewardship and service.  While I love these topics and attach much value to each especially in the personal development studies and writing I do, I didn’t seem to find the same value in these chapters from the book.  I think there is so much covered in such short sections (many are just one page) these laws all felt to be presented in a very disjointed manor.  Again, I felt some of the quotes to distract me from the message even though many supported the argument well.  It simple left the writing to very difficult to read, as the content doesn’t flow and certainly doesn’t segway nicely between the topics.

So, overall I did enjoy the book and I’m sure any Christian would gain much from it and find pieces that really mean something to them.  I think that people who are not very familiar with the characters and stories from the Bible will not understand many of the references and there is little explanation behind each to support it.  If you are looking to deepen your understanding of greatness and to look at principles and your character as it relates to greatness, then this book will definitely give you a great study guide with good examples and references to deepen your research on.  Each chapter even has ending questions to ask yourself or a study group questions about each topic and they would be very helpful in using this book in a group for discussion and review.

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