I teach a leadership course and tell my students I will read and review the business or leadership books they recommend. I was skeptical at first, most attempts to create Bible oriented business books fail. However, in this case the authors chose to use Good to Great, one of the best business books of the decade, as a primary focusing lens and there is a single Bible verse at the end of each chapter.
The story begins with the observation leaders are often forged in the furnace of life. Billy got off easy this once. His furnace experience was being rejected for marriage by Emily, saying "I just don't see any real purpose in your life yet." The statement stung and after months of consideration, Billy decided to be fully committed to God. The story then moves to Theodore Roosevelt, who was also pursing his life's true love. He got the girl, but only for three years, soon after his father passed away, his mother and wife died at his home within hours of one another.
Billy's calling as an evangelist was tested, he was offered movie contracts, even a million dollars a year, ( this is the 1950s, so that would be more like 6 million today using the Consumer Price Index).
The book pours you through history, not just Billy's experiences, but those of his friends. Billy had to face the growth pains of the nation, trying to serve both Catholics and Protestants in divided cities like New York and Boston. They discuss the civil rights movement where he was pressured to hold segregated meetings; he did not. I am not overly emotional, but I cried during many of the historical passages as I remember this nation's history, the author's tell the story well.
He was friend to Presidents and others in power including friends that fell including Nixon and evangelist Jim Bakker. He gave Nixon's Eulogy and conducted the memorial service for the Oklahoma City Bombing and the National Cathedral service for the 9/11.
The book does a great job of covering his management style; he built a great team and gave them a lot of freedom to act. If there is one place a bit more depth would have helped, it would have been more information on his health struggles, how did Billy Graham balance life and mission.
The bottom line, this is a good book whether or not you believe in the Christian faith. It deserves at least two readings, there are so many illustrations and nuggets it is impossible to get them all the first time through.