Monday, April 11, 2011

‘The Final Summit: The Quest to Find the One Principle That Will Save Humanity’ by Andy Andrews – Book Review

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One of the most talented writers of our day is Andrew Andrews. I recently finished reading his latest release, ‘The Final Summit: The Quest to Find the One Principle That Will Save Humanity.’

Here is the synopsis of this profound and insightful novel:

David Ponder is back – and this time, the fate of mankind may be in his hands. This is humanity’s last chance. Centuries of greed, pride, and hate have sent mankind hurtling toward disaster, and far from its original purpose. There is only one solution that can reset the compass and right the ship – and that answer is only two words.
With time running out, it is up to David Ponder and a cast of history’s best and brightest minds (from Winston Churchill and George Washington Carver to Joan of Arc) to uncover this solution before it’s too late. The catch? There are allowed only five tries to solve the ominous challenge.
Readers first encountered David Ponder in the New York Times bestseller The Traveler’s Gift. Now, in The Final Summit, Andrews combines a riveting narrative with astounding history in order to show us the one thing we must do when we don’t know what to do.

Here is the biography of the author:

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 speaker for the world’s largest organizations. Zig Ziglar says, “Andy Andrews is the best speaker I have ever seen.” He has spoken at the request of four different United State presidents and at military bases worldwide, being called upon by the Department of Defense to speak about the principles contained in his books. Andy appears frequently on CNN, Fox News, and ABC’s Good Morning America. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Noticer and The Traveler’s Gift. Arguably, there is no single person on the planet better at weaving subtle yet life-changing lessons into riveting tales of adventure and intrigue – both on paper and onstage. He lives in Orange Beach, Alabama, with his wife, Polly, and their two sons.

I was awed by this ringing endorsement:

Every generation or so, God produces a person who can communicate like no one else. His words are like cool water to a thirsty civilization. Andy Andrews is one of the best I have ever seen.
--- Zig Ziglar, America’s #1 Motivator and Best-Selling author

Here is the book trailer for this interesting book:

And here is the story behind ‘The Final Summit’ – including some entertaining older footage of the author!:

The book recaps David Ponder’s first encounter as a Traveler, as shared in ‘The Traveler’s Gift:’

He knew that his time travel had been real. It was not a dream or hallucination as a result of coma from the automobile accident. The Seven Decisions he had gathered from the lives of the other Travelers had changed everything. Not just for David and Ellen, but for hundreds of thousands of others with whom he had gone to share the decisions. (p. 10)

A primary character in this novel is the Archangel Gabriel. Here is David’s 
description of this amazing creature:

In contrast to his own changes that Gabriel had mentioned, David saw that the archangel’s physical appearance was exactly as he’d remembered. He was well over six feet tall and muscular, with clear blue eyes and relatively short, curly blond hair that brushed his ears and eyebrows. (p. 29)   

David met many of the most remarkable people that have ever lived during this Final Summit. I have admired many of them for a very long time. It would hard for me to pick my favorite, but I really admire Abraham Lincoln, Amelia Earhart, and Anne Frank.

One of the solutions they decided upon that was impactful to me was ‘restore hope.’ Our church is involved in an outreach campaign knows by its acronym, EACH – Everyone A Chance to Hear. Hope is an important word for me with regard to that campaign. So I really appreciated Joan of Arc’s explanation why this is the correct solution:

“Don’t you see? If the most important part of your life is in the future, then it doesn’t matter how old you are or how sick you are. It doesn’t matter how fearful or depressed you might feel or how penniless you might be. By the virtue of the fact that you still draw breath, there is more to come. There is more laughter and learning…more victories. There is more. This is proof of hope, monsieur.” (p. 87)

I enjoyed the story, but I do have an issue with this book. My main bone of contention – and it is a big one – is that this book is published by Thomas Nelson, a Christian publisher. I am not sure if Andy Andrews professes to be a Christian, but it would seem that books published by a Christian publisher should point its readers to the real solution to our world’s problems – Jesus Christ. This is a self-help book; that is even how it’s categorized on the back cover. I just think Mr. Andrews, if he indeed is a Christ follower, lost a great opportunity to point his readers to the real solution – Jesus. From my reading of that book, Jesus is only mentioned once in this book, and not even by name. Abraham Lincoln shared this tidbit with Winston Churchill when they admired the table that they sat around:

“It was handmade,” Lincoln said with a twinkle in his eye. “Of course, you know the Boss’s Son is a carpenter.” (p. 166)

Perhaps I am being overly picky, but I really think Mr. Andrews missed a golden opportunity to give Jesus the glory He deserves when it comes to Him being the Salvation of the world. Don’t get me wrong – I was really inspired by and motivated by the process that the Travelers went through to get to their answer, and I don’t disagree with any of them. I think it just falls short in its answer. I do think it’s a worthwhile read, but one needs to read it with a discerning spirit and a discriminating eye. The Bible makes it clear that humanity will not save itself. That does not mean that we can’t live better lives by living out the principles in this book

I’ve had the opportunity to read two of Andy’s previous books – ‘The Boy Who Changed the World’ (you can read my review here) and ‘The Butterfly Effect: How Your Life Matters’ (you can read my review here). The first book is geared to children, and is based on the principle elaborated upon in the second book, which is a lovely gift book.

You can order this book here.

This book was published by Thomas Nelson and provided by them for review purposes.

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