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Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Eric Metaxas , Tom Parks
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

April 2014
In Seven Men, New York Times best-selling author Eric Metaxas presents seven exquisitely crafted short portraits of widely known but not well understood Christian men, each of whom uniquely showcases a commitment to live by certain virtues in the truth of the gospel. Written in a beautiful and engaging style, Seven Men addresses what it means (or should mean) to be a man today, at a time when media and popular culture present images of masculinity that are not the picture presented in Scripture and historic civil life. What does it take to be a true exemplar as a father, brother, husband, leader, coach, counsellor, change agent, and wise man? What does it mean to stand for honesty, courage, and charity, especially at times when the culture and the world run counter to those values? Each of the seven biographies represents the life of a man who experienced the struggles and challenges to be strong in the face of forces and circumstances that would have destroyed the resolve of lesser men. Each of the seven men profiled George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, John Paul II, and Charles Colson call the reader to a more elevated walk and lifestyle, one that embodies the gospel in the world around us.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1480521256
  • ISBN-13: 978-1480521254
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 12.7 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,563,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5.0 out of 5 stars challenging 13 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good short snappy easy reads with a profound message & challenge for today. The author is very easy to read and understand.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  376 reviews
77 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 Men worth learning from 14 April 2013
By Book Reviewer - Published on
Eric Metaxas is most-known for his biography, Bonhoeffer. It was labeled as a biography of uncommon power and received the award for Book of the Year.

Metaxas is currently the voice of BreakPoint, a radio commentary ([...]) that is broadcast on 1,400 radio outlets with an audience of eight million.

Metaxas' newest title 7Men & their secret of greatness is a compilation of brief biographies of men who made a difference and left a mark on the world that is worth mentioning. The 7 men listed are:

George Washington
William Wilberforce
Eric Liddell
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Jackie Robinson
Pope John Paul II
Charles W. Colson

Each of these men achieved a level of greatness because of circumstances that each faced.

Washington refused to relinquish power on two occasions.

Wilberforce fought the slave trade based on his strong, holy convictions.

Lidell was known for his passion for running yet glorifying God and doing HIs will as a missionary.

Bonhoeffer was a pastor & theologian who strived in the Holacaust for the sake of the Jews.

Robinson broke the color-barrier in Major League Baseball and opened a door of change that exists today.

Pope John Paul II is helped draw attention to Parkinson's disease & the unborn children. He did this through the utmost humility.

Chuck Colson is widely known for his many faults & mistakes in his early service to President Nixon. But he is also known for his great service to the King of Kings in the later years of his life. He is a story of true redemption to the one farthest from God.

Metaxas writes about men who were God's men at a time when men were most needed.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
46 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What makes a man great? 20 April 2013
By wheelsms - Published on
Do we really need one more book about manhood? Author Eric Metaxas seems to think so because manhood is the theme of his latest book, Seven Men: And the secret of their greatness. In this encouraging and well written book, he seeks to answer two questions: What is a man? and What makes a man great?

What sets this book apart is that the author doesn't talk about manhood. Instead, he shows what manhood looks like in the lives of great men. As he explains, "Seeing and studying the actual lives of people is simply the best way to communicate ideas about how to behave and how not to behave."

Metaxas believes that one of the primary characteristics of authentic manhood is someone who sacrifices himself for those he loves. As the author says, "That's a picture of real fatherhood and real manhood." The author picked seven men who he believes exemplifies these characteristics. After reading the book, I concur with his assessment.

George Washington could have become the first king of America. Instead, he gave up real power for the sake of his new nation. William Wilberforce gave up the chance to become prime minister of England. Instead, he spent his life working to repeal slavery. Eric Liddell gave up the opportunity to win an Olympic gold medal in the one event in which he was most likely to win it. Yet he is better known for his sacrifice than for winning a race. Dietrich Bonhoeffer courageously defied the Nazis and surrendered his freedom and safety time and time again. In giving up his life, he inspired countless people to do the right thing in thousands of situations. Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in professional baseball. But he had to surrender something very few men would have the strength to surrender--the right to fight back against injustice. Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II, surrendered his whole life to God and served as a priest. Chuck Colson pled guilty to a crime when he didn't have to--and went to prison as a result. Yet it was there he discovered he was truly free.

The brief biographies of these men are well written and inspiring. They whet one's appetite for a longer book on each person. The book would be a great gift for a high school or college graduate and would hopefully inspire a young man to pursue greatness through sacrifice and service. I hope this becomes a series and we see another volume soon.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com [...] book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great 7 Jun 2013
By Sonya Matson - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Love Metaxas! 40 year old husband loved the book, 75 year old father loved the book, 13 year old son loved the book.
We recommend Bonhoeffer, great book also!
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seven great biographies for those with a Twitteresque attention span 9 Jun 2013
By Steve - Published on
I first saw Eric Metaxas when I attended a Socrates in the City event in Manhattan, and I became a big fan. From the first time I heard him speak, I knew he had a kind of style that someone who grew up in the New York area--a style that was sometimes poignant, sometimes deep, sometimes inspiring, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes downright silly. but always authentic and genuine.

I read his book on William Wilberforce cover-to-cover. I've heard amazing things about his book on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but unfortunately I haven't gotten a chance to finish it yet, as it's the kind of book you really need to read without much interruption, and that kind of time is kind of hard to find in my life these days. And admittedly, my attention span is more of the Twitter variety than the War and Peace variety, so I really need to get myself in the mood to read a 600 page book, no matter how well-written it might be.

Enter Seven Men and the Secret of Their Greatness. This was the perfect book for me. Instead of being one long book, it's like getting seven mini-books in one; I could finish one of the "mini-books" in just a few sessions of my morning commute (and admittedly, at times the content was so compelling I snuck in some pages after I got to the office).

The book is broken into seven sections, each focusing on a mini-biography of a different man. The men are George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, Pope John Paul II, and Chuck Colson.

I admit that I've gotten awful tired of reading contemporary biographies. Today's historians have gotten as secular and politically correct as the rest of the world, and it's painfully clear that, intentionally or not, they inject their biases into their work. In one of the supposed "great" recent biographies of George Washington, for example, extensive numbers of pages felt like they were taken out of today's tabloids: how many women did Washington have affairs with? What drove his ambitions? What did he do to achieve greatness? It might as well have been a biography about Denzel Washington.

In so many contemporary biographies of men of greatness, there's one thing clearly missing: God. I won't attribute this to some grand conspiracy; but it is just a sign of the times where the mere mention of religion can set off all kinds of political correctness bells and can instantly discredit a historian who wishes to be respected in academia.

What I love about this book is that not only does it *not* leave out descriptions of each of these men's faith in God nor relegate it to a few lines; it provides a clear and objective case that faith played an active role in these men's lives, not only in helping them achieve great things, but also in helping them maintain perspective and humility after they achieved it. And it does this without proselytizing or being "preachy". It just tells the men's stories, objectively and honesty and, for once, completely.

What I love about what Metaxas did here was that these aren't mere "Cliff's Notes" versions of each man's biography. Instead, Metaxas focuses on moments in each man's life that tell you about his character, moments that a lot of history books tend to gloss over as a footnote. Most of us know, for example, that George Washington declined to serve a third term. But did you know that he went out of his way to end what might have been a rebellion from the Army of the nascent United States after being mistreated by politicians in the early Congress? Most of us know the story of Eric Liddell that was told in the movie "Chariots of Fire", but did you know about what happened afterwards, and how he gave his life to be a missionary to China?

In a lot of ways, I see this book almost as a "sequel" to Hebrews chapter 11. Yes, we can admire these men for the great things they achieved from a historical perspective. But this book gives us insight into the faith and the principles that helped them achieve them. And in a world where young people more or more see their "heroes" as those celebrities who make the most money, or business leaders who make the most money, or reality TV stars who make the most money, or sports figures who make the most money--this book should be required reading for everyone.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good character sketches, but will disappoint fans of detailed biography 1 Jun 2013
By R.Christopher - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
When I was in elementary school I checked out and read a short biography of Don Shula, repeatedly. I'm not really sure why. I had never heard of Don Shula. Football to me meant the University of Alabama. I had adopted the Chicago Bears as the NFL team to receive my love, but I never watched their games and probably couldn't have named anyone on the team besides the Fridge (every little boy knew there was a football player named after a refrigerator). I think it was the first biography I had ever read; I liked the format, and I just kept coming back.

Eric Metaxas' 7 Men reminds of that book. It's the kind of biography that I got hooked on when I was eight. It is not the kind I get excited about reading now.
I'm not saying I dislike it because 7 Men is hagiography and I prefer sordid exposé. It's not and I don't.

The book hits pretty much where Metaxas aims. In the forward he admits wanting to publish something in the vein of Foxe's Book of Martyrs or Plutarch's Lives--biographical sketches the reader can consult to find role models. I think he succeeds in his plan.

Metaxas got a lot of attention and praise for his books on Wilberforce and Bonhoeffer. This collection of essays is a different beast. Short life summaries of Bonhoeffer and Wilberforce are presented alongside stories about George Washington, Eric Liddell, Jackie Robinson, John Paul II and Chuck Colson. The men aren't presented as perfect. Metaxas doesn't hide their documented failures or wrong-mindedness, but neither does he speculate on private terribleness that history can't support. I like what he says in the forward about our relatively recent obsession with questioning authority:

"But this didn't just mean we should question whether authority is legitimate, which would be a good idea. No , it seemed to me to go beyond that . It seemed to say that we should question the very idea of authority itself. So you could say that we've gone all the way from foolishly accepting all authority to foolishly rejecting all authority. We've gone from the extreme of being naive to the other extreme of being cynical."

Like the Don Shula I met long ago these men are sculpted into an empty gallery rather than painted into a landscape. Their families, friends, influences and trials are listed but not illuminated. There isn't time and there isn't room.

I think Metaxas did what he set out to and yet, probably disappointed fans of his last two biographies (not me; I haven't read them). I would recommend 7 Men to young readers, especially young men, or as good church study / sermon illustration material.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers for review.!
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