Tuesday, September 7, 2010

‘The Butterfly Effect: How Your Life Matters’ by Andy Andrews – Book Review

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I don’t know about you, but I don’t think a lot about how all of my actions affect other people (I do more so than I used to, but still not often enough). In his wonderfully inspirational and lovely book, ‘The Butterfly Effect: How Your Life Matters,’ Andy Andrews shares with us a scientific theory by that same name that emphasizes the fact that what we do affects and matters to other people.  
Here is Andy talking about the Butterfly Effect:

And here is the book trailer (with some powerful images and music):

Here is the biography for the author, Andy Andrews:

Hailed by a New York Times reporter as “someone who has quietly become one of the most influential people in America,” Andy Andrews is a best-selling novelist and in-demand corporate speaker for the world’s largest organizations. He has spoken at the request of four United States presidents and at military bases worldwide. Andy is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Noticer and The Traveler’s Gift, as well as The Lost Choice and The Heart Mender, and the children’s book based on The Butterfly Effect entitled The Boy Who Changed the World. He lives in Orange Beach, Alabama, with his wife, Polly, and their two sons.

In the Author’s Note, Andy explains what he learned from an old man named Jones (whose wisdom he shared in his book, ‘The Noticer’):

“When you know that everything matters – that every move counts as much as any other – you will begin living a life of permanent purpose. A life of permanent purpose will make you a better parent, a better spouse and a more valuable friend. Your productivity and financial success will soar to new heights when the old days of uncertainty, doubt, and depression fade into the past.”
          Of course, that conversation with Jones changed me. But even more, it became the guiding force that produced the kind of speaker and author I have become. You see, I understand fully that my very value as an author and speaker must ultimately be judged by the success you achieve. And as I consult with companies or speak to organizations and teams, I am keenly aware that much of my client’s (your) ability to succeed beyond imagination depends upon my ability to prove this very concept!...
          In these pages, I know you will find hope and direction for yourself, but I am most excited that you will now be equipped to lead others to their own life of permanent purpose! My hope for our families, our places of worship, our businesses, our nation and our world is an incredible life of permanent purpose that can be achieved when at last we understand: Every move we make and every action we take, matters not just for us, but for all of us…and for all time. (p. 3)

Andy tells his readers about the origin of the Butterfly Effect:

In 1963, Edward Lorenz presented a hypothesis to the New York Academy of Science. His theory, stated simply, was that:
A butterfly could flaps its wings and set molecules of air in motion, which would move other molecules of air – eventually capable of starting a hurricane on the other side of the planet.
Lorenz and his ideas were literally laughed out of the conference. What he had proposed was ridiculous. It was preposterous. But it was fascinating! Therefore, because of the idea’s charm and intrigue, the so-called “butterfly effect” became a staple of science fiction, remaining for decades a combination of myth and legend spread only by comic books or bad movies. (pp. 6-7)

What a neat concept!

Andy’s premise in this book is that the actions of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, a colonel in the Union Army, on July 2, 1863, affect the world to this day. The men of his 20th Maine division won a decisive battle in the Civil War that kept the United States intact:

Historians have determined that had Chamberlain not charged that day, the rebels would have won at Gettysburg.
Further, historians tell us, had the rebels won at Gettysburg, the South would have won the war…and the war itself would have been over by the end of the summer.
Most people assume that had the South won the war, today we would exist as two countries, the Union and the Confederacy. (pp. 46-48)

Further down the road of history, there would not have been the big, strong, wealthy, populous United States that defeated Hitler in Germany in World War II and Hirohito in Japan in the same war.

Andy also explains that the life of George Washington Carver affected the life of future Vice President Henry Wallace, whose life affected the life of young Norman Borlaug. Borlaug went on to win the Nobel Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom for hybridizing high yield, disease resistant corn and wheat for arid climates, which is calculated to have saved two billion lives from famine.

Andy goes on to tells his readers of the uniqueness of each one of us:

          You have been created as one of a kind.
On the planet Earth, there has never been one like you… and there never will be again.
Your spirit, your thoughts and feelings, your ability to reason and act all exist in no one else.
The rarities that make you special are no mere accident or quirk of fate.
You have been created in order that you might make a difference.
You have within you the power to change the world. (pp. 104-105)
The very beating of your heart has meaning and purpose.
Your actions have value far greater than silver or gold.
Your life… And what you do with it today… MATTERS FOREVER. (pp. 108-109)

This is Andy’s second book releasing today; the other book is ‘The Boy Who Changed the World,’ which is the children’s book explaining this same concept (you can read my review here). This book is just as beautiful as the children’s book (which is beautifully illustrated by Philip Hurst). I would recommend this lovely gift book to all ages, and for all occasions. I will be keeping it on my nightstand to look at with regularity.

You can order this book here.

This book was published by Thomas Nelson Publishers and provided by Book Sneeze, its blogger review program, for review purposes.

1 comment:

Diane said...

I have the children's version. The other one sounds great too! :O)

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