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The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

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Overview

Not where you want to be?
Wondering how to get there?

Whyis it that smart people with admirable life goals often end up far from where theyintended to be? Whyis it that so many people start out with a clear mental picture ofwhere they want to be relationally, financially, and professionally and yet years later
find themselves far from their desired destination? Whydo our ...

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The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

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Overview

Not where you want to be?
Wondering how to get there?

Whyis it that smart people with admirable life goals often end up far from where theyintended to be? Whyis it that so many people start out with a clear mental picture ofwhere they want to be relationally, financially, and professionally and yet years later
find themselves far from their desired destination? Whydo our expectations aboutour own future often go unmet?

What if you knew the answer to those questions? What if there was onesimple ideathat explained why so many people get lost along the way?

There is. It’s called theprinciple of the path. And not only does it explain the disappointmentand regret that characterize the lives of so many, it provides a way foryouto be theexception.

As you are about to discover,the principle of the pathis at work in your life everysingle day. Once embraced, this compelling principle will empower you to identifyand follow the path that leads to your desired destination. And this same principlewill enable you to avoid life-wasting detours along the way.

“If you’re ready to break the bad habits, bad behaviors, and bad decisions that havebeen leading you into trouble, you need Andy Stanley’sThe Principle of the Path.”
–Dave Ramsey, host ofThe Dave Ramsey Show
and best-selling author ofThe Total Money Makeover

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780849946363
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/29/2011
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 158,637
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Andy Stanley is a pastor, communicator, author, and the founder of North Point Ministries, Inc. (NPM). Each Sunday, more than 30,000 people attend worship services at one of NPM’s five Atlanta-area campuses: Buckhead Church, Browns Bridge Community Church, Gwinnett Church, North Point Community Church, and Watermarke Church. Andy’s books include When Work and Family Collide and The Grace of God. Andy and his wife, Sandra have three teenagers.

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Read an Excerpt

The Principle of The Path

How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
By Andy Stanley

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2008 Andy Stanley
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8499-2060-8


Chapter One

Swamp My Ride

Now, if Louie and I had not been rescued by the stranger in the black Monte Carlo; and if we had, in fact, driven through the next set of barricades into a swamp, we would have done so for two reasons. And neither reason has anything to do with IQ, education, goals in life, net worth, looks, or church attendance. We would have ended up in the swamp because that's where the road led and that was the road we chose.

Anyone, regardless of race, creed, color, or sex, would have ended up in the same place had they chosen that stretch of highway. It didn't dead-end in one place for one kind of person and somewhere else for another kind. That unfinished stretch of highway was no respecter of persons. Everybody got the same treatment. And that's true of every highway, freeway, driveway, or path. It leads where it leads, regardless of who's on it.

Nothing new or original about that.

But here's where you may need some convincing. The principle you employ every time you look at a map or fire up your GPS (i.e., roads lead to the same place every time) applies to other arenas of your life as well. But what's perfectly obvious in the realm of geography is not soobvious in those other arenas. And, as we are about to discover, what's true geographically is equally true relationally, financially, physically, and academically. There is a parallel principle that affects parenting, dating, marriage, our emotions, our health, and a host of other areas as well. Just as there are physical paths that lead to predictable physical locations, there are other kinds of paths that are equally predictable.

Realizing that we are only a few pages into our time together, I don't expect you to accept my premise just yet. But before you start pushing back, consider this: What if I'm right? What if there really are financial paths that lead to predictable financial destinations? What if there are relational paths that lead to predictable relational destinations? What if there are emotional and spiritual paths that lead to specific emotional and spiritual destinations? I don't have to convince you that there are dietary paths that lead to specific health destinations. And we all know people whose lifestyle decisions led them to predictable predicaments. But what if those we-all-saw-it-coming scenarios reflect a universal law? What if there is a single unifying principle that governs what happens not only on the highway but in every area of life? I believe there is. I call it the principle of the path.

Principle

I refer to this as a principle because this isn't a rule you follow. Truth is, the principle of the path follows you. It's not a law. You can break a law. But the principle of the path has the power to break you. It is not an idea or concept you choose to apply. As we will discover, it is being applied to you every moment of every day. Principles are different from rules or laws. Perhaps an example will help.

When you were in high school, you probably studied Archimedes' principle. Ring a bell? No? It ought to, because every time you get in a pool, a boat, the bathtub, or a cruise ship, you are being impacted by Mr. Archimedes' principle of buoyancy. "But wait," you argue, "that's impossible; I don't even know what it is!" Maybe not, but you are impacted just the same. And to be fair, so is everybody you know. That's the nature of a principle. You don't have to know it or apply it to be impacted by it. And that's just the beginning. The principle that explains why a drowning man sinks is the same principle that explains why the flotation device the lifeguard throws in his direction floats. Go figure.

When the principle of buoyancy is leveraged, things float. When this principle is ignored or misapplied, things sink. According to Archimedes' principle, a body immersed in liquid receives an upward thrust from the bottom toward the top, equal to the weight of the displaced liquid. So five-ounce pebbles sink, and a fifty-one-ton battleship floats. Now, Archimedes was an inventor as well as a mathematician, but he did not invent this principle-he discovered it. Things were sinking and floating long before he came on the scene. He simply gave the world an explanation for something that had been happening since the first duck spotted the first pond. Knowing about his principle won't keep you from sinking, but learning how to leverage it will. That's the nature of a principle.

Like Archimedes' principle, the principle of the path is not anyone's invention. It is a discovery. A discovery that explains patterns that have been observed since the beginning of time. Specifically, the principle of the path explains why many people's dreams don't come true. It explains why intelligent people with admirable goals and ambitions end up far away from where they intended to be relationally, financially, educationally, emotionally, even spiritually. It explains why people who seemingly have everything end up with nothing.

But this same principle also explains why other individuals are able to attain the life and lifestyle they have always dreamed of. As Archimedes' principle explains both why rocks sink and boats float, so this principle explains why some people do well in life while others don't. But the principle of the path is more than an explanation. Again, it is a principle, which means that once it is discovered, it can be leveraged. To leverage something is to borrow or use its power. The principle of the path is a powerful principle, and its power is available to anyone who is willing to leverage it.

What Farmers Know

If you grew up around church or on a farm, you may be familiar with the principle of the harvest. As is the case with Archimedes' principle, whether or not you are familiar with it, you've been impacted by it. The principle of the harvest states that we reap what we sow. Sow apple seeds and you will reap a harvest of apple trees. Sow watermelon seeds and you get-you guessed it-watermelons. Nothing new there. This cause-and-effect relationship is in place whether you know about it or not. And it is in place whether you agree with it or not.

Chances are you've heard the principle of the harvest applied outside the realm of agriculture. The principle of the harvest applies to friendships, finances, and marriage. What you put into something impacts what you can expect to get out of it. Neglect your marriage or your health and the outcome is predictable. You experienced this principle at work throughout your time in school. What you put in determined what you got out. This principle operated in the background of your life whether you were aware of it or not. And if someone had brought it to your attention and you refused to accept it as true, it really would not have mattered. You were going to reap what you sowed anyway. That's just how principles work. And the principle of the path is no different. But whereas I've never met anyone who disputed Archimedes' principle or the principle of the harvest, I've talked to dozens of individuals and couples who refused to accept the principle we are going to focus on in this book. And the tragedy is, believing it or not believing it doesn't change the fact that it operates in the background of our lives each and every day.

Coming Up

At the beginning of the next chapter, I'm going to introduce you to and define the principle of the path. This one powerful principle, if embraced, will empower you to identify the paths that lead to the destinations you desire in a multitude of arenas. This same principle will aid you in identifying the paths you should avoid as well. Let me be specific. If you're married, this principle will help you stay married. If you and your partner embrace this idea, your marriage will get better. If you have kids, this principle will position you to hand off your values and worldview to your children. I've seen this principle heal broken relationships. Better yet, this simple idea protects relationships from being broken to begin with. If you're single, this insight will maximize your potential for healthy and enjoyable relationships.

When applied to the realm of finance, this principle will ensure that you live with more margin and less pressure. I've seen individuals and couples take this idea to heart and within a few months dramatically change the way they handle and view their finances. Sandra and I adopted this idea early in our marriage. We've never-and I mean never-had any consumer debt of any kind. And we've never argued over money. Granted, we've only been married eighteen months but ... Not really. We just crossed the twenty-year mark.

But that's just half of the story.

Embracing the principle of the path is the key to avoiding regret. All kinds of regret. Relational, professional, academic, moral, marital ... as a pastor, I've heard more stories of regret than I can recount. Hundreds. I've walked with individuals and couples through bankruptcy, divorce, custody battles, lawsuits, partnerships gone bad, and kids gone wild. I've listened to countless people tell me how badly they wish they could go back and do it all over: marry differently, date differently, spend differently, parent differently, live differently. But, of course, you can't go back. Anna Nalick is right: "Life's like an hourglass glued to the table." And for all you country music fans, Kenny Chesney is correct as well: "When your hourglass runs out of sand, you can't turn it over and start again."

Perhaps you've heard someone make the argument that experience is the best teacher. That may be true, but that's only half the truth. Experience is often a brutal teacher. Experience eats up your most valuable commodity: time. Learning from experience can eat up years. It can steal an entire stage of life. Experience can leave scars, inescapable memories, and regret. Sure, we all live and learn. But living and learning don't erase regret. And regret is more than memory. It is more than cerebral. It's emotional. Regret has the potential to create powerful emotions-emotions with the potential to drive a person right back to the behavior that created the regret to begin with. If regret can be avoided, it should be. And the principle of the path will empower you to do just that.

Now, I realize that's a big promise. I wouldn't blame you for being a bit skeptical. I'm well aware that the discount table at your local bookstore is filled to capacity with books making similar promises. But if you will indulge me for one more chapter, I think I can connect enough dots to convince you that this is not hyperbole. This is not a self-help book. I'm not offering a formula. I'm not going to provide you with seven steps. My intention is to bring to your attention a dynamic that is operating in the background of your life and the lives of the people you love. And if you accept my premise and keep reading, you will discover what I've learned about leveraging this powerful principle for your benefit. Because like the other principles to which I've referred, the principle of the path impacts your life every single day. And like any principle, you can leverage it for your benefit or ignore it and reap a harvest of regret.

Thirty-two years ago, a stranger in a black Monte Carlo raced ahead of me on a deserted stretch of highway and saved me from driving my car into a swamp. He kept me from ending up precisely where I didn't want to be. But he did more than that. He took the time to lead me to the road that would take me where I wanted to go. My hope is that this book will do the same thing for you.

Chapter Two

Why Bad Things Happen To Smart People

Once upon a time, before there were six hundred channels, DVDs, and On-Demand movies, three networks pretty much decided what Americans would and would not be allowed to watch on television. And I'm not referring to a rating system; I'm talking content. If they didn't broadcast it, there was no way to get it. During that era one of the major networks decided that it would be a good idea to broadcast The Wizard of Oz annually on a Sunday night. That was really significant for our family for two reasons. First, we loved The Wizard of Oz. Who didn't? Second, it was on Sunday night, which meant we got to stay home from church! This was an event my sister and I looked forward to almost as much as Christmas. If you were to ask my parents to recount their memories of this sacred occasion, they would be quick to point out that I watched most of the movie from behind my father's big, leather chair. The witch was a bit much for me, even in black and white. But I loved that night nonetheless.

As you probably know, the plot of this classic film revolves around Dorothy's desire to go home. After all, there's no place like home. Dorothy may have been the only adolescent to actually believe that. But this is a fairy tale, so anything is possible. Early in the film, Dorothy meets Glinda, the good witch of the east. And it is Glinda who informs Dorothy that her only option is to seek assistance from the great and powerful Oz. Unfortunately, that will require a trip to the Emerald City. Upon discovering this bit of disconcerting news, Dorothy turns to Glinda and asks, "But how do I start for the Emerald City?"

Glinda, with her head tilted to one side and her arms stretched wide to avoid crushing that impossibly large skirt, responds, "It's always best to start at the beginning-and all you do is follow the yellow brick road ... just follow the yellow brick road." And as it turns out, Glinda was right. A bit overdressed, but she was right. Finding the Emerald City was simply a matter of following the yellow brick road. Granted, Dorothy encountered a few obstacles along the way, but she never got lost. She just kept following that yellow brick road, and eventually she found herself in the wonderful Land of Oz. Why? Because there was something special about Dorothy or her companions? No, because that's where the yellow brick road led, and that was the path she chose. Well, actually it was the path L. Frank Baum, who originally wrote the story, chose for her. But you get my point.

Wouldn't it be great if there were a yellow brick road that led to wherever it is you want to go in life? Imagine a yellow brick road that led to a marriage that made you want to come home early every day. What about a yellow brick road that led to financial security? Or a yellow brick road that led to better health? Imagine a yellow brick road that would lead you back into a relationship with someone you never thought you would be able to reconnect with-your dad, mom, son, daughter, best friend. What if there were a road that led out of the valley of guilt, shame, or even depression? If that were the case, you would stop looking for solutions to problems, and you would start looking for the right path.

Recognizing the distinction between a solution and a path is the first step in understanding the principle of the path.

Let me explain.

How absurd would it be for someone who was lost, miles away from where he wanted to be, to say, "I need a solution!"? Or to ask you to fix his problem? Wouldn't make sense, would it? When someone is where he doesn't want to be, he already knows the solution; what he needs is direction. There is no fix for being lost. To get from where we don't want to be to where we do want to be requires two things: time and a change of direction. There isn't a quick fix.

Being lost or far from where you want to be is not a problem to be solved. There is no instant solution for being lost. One gets to the place one wants to be the same way one got to the place one didn't want to be-by putting one foot in front of the other and moving in a specific direction. Cars have problems that can be fixed. Computers have problems that can be fixed. Lawn mowers have problems that can be fixed. But generally speaking, people have directions that need to be changed.

I've talked to many individuals who want to discuss their problems. But they don't really have problems. They have chosen to live in the wrong direction. They don't need a solution. They need a new direction. If you aren't sure you're buying all of this, just look back at your own life.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Principle of The Path by Andy Stanley Copyright © 2008 by Andy Stanley. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction xi

1 Swamp My Ride 1

2 Why Bad Things Happen to Smart People 9

3 The Great Disconnect 18

4 Should've Seen That Coming 35

5 The Heart of the Matter 56

6 My Italian Job 76

7 The Story You Will Tell 96

8 A Little Help from Our Friends 115

9 Attention Retention 135

10 Road Closed 156

Epilogue 174

Study Guide 179

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 56 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley

    This book is not simply another superficial self help book on how to achieve your worldly dreams of financial prosperity, successful career or satisfying marriage. Stanley offers practical and memorable advice on living one's life based God's moral principles rather than selfish or emotional desires. The message delivered in this book is broad enough to appeal to Christians and non-Christians alike. Nevertheless, Stanley does not shrink from the task of delivering the saving message of the gospel. Biblical truths are not watered down.
    According to Stanley, "The principal of the path trumps all things (page 15) .it is universal" (page 44) and regardless of your age, education, gender or economic status, the principle works the same way. Summed up, the principle explains that the direction a person takes, rather than intentions lead to the outcome in life. The biblical verse, "The heart is more deceitful than anything else", in Jeremiah 17:9 sums up the tragic results when we depend on emotion and worldly wants rather than on a God- directed path. Furthermore, to make poor choices that violate morals, will eventually result in one's downfall. As the book of proverbs advises we must run from danger, rather than succumb to it. If you simply depend on intention and short term wants, then emotions will lead you to become sidetracked to the wrong path. There is a cause and effect relationship at work, and these principles can be leveraged to our advantage when navigating through life's options. It is in our power to choose right or wrong, but at times we must step back, and evaluate our choices in light of God's wisdom. The simple abstract diagram on the cover cleverly sums up the principle of connecting the dots and staying on the God- directed course.
    A big strength for this book is the acknowledgement that at times we do suffer through no fault of our own. Or sometimes, we simply cannot reverse the damage or undue the consequences caused by a lifetime of poor choices. Because Stanley advocates a God directed path above all else, he acknowledges that we can still find peace even in adversity and turmoil. As a member of the Thomas Nelson Review Blogger program http://brb.thomasnelson.com/ , I recommend this book for anyone who seeks some objective worthwhile advice.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 5, 2009

    How to get from where you are to where you want to be?

    Beginning with a personal story, the author starts explaining about direction, destination and determination. He clearly states that it is direction not determination that decides our destination. The book encourages the readers to turn back to the past and see their current state and position.

    We all have certain desires and ambitions in life. Even though we are determined to obtain them, our current state is far away from what we desired for. The author explains the reasons behind the failure. Taking the examples of various biblical characters, the author proves the point.

    Through his book, the author stresses on the actions to be taken to reach our destination, a destination which we deeply desire for

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The direction not intention determines your destination

    Synopsis:
    Andy Stanley's book caught my attention. He writes that the principle of the path governs the way that our lives progress, whether we're aware of it or not. Our paths that will take us to the path's destination, regardless of what we'd intended or had hoped to go. Certain actions always have the same results. In the simplest terms, the principle of the path is like the principle of the harvest, we reap what we sow. Or as he puts it, "Today's decisions create tomorrow's experiences."

    It is easy enough to identify when someone else seems to be on the wrong path - one of disappointment or regret. It is not as easy to spot in our own lives. We can see the paths that we took in hindsight, but we need to take special care to see where our paths are pointing us right now. The book provides us with questions for self-examination to help with this.

    As we identify areas which we need to address, Stanley stresses that it is direction not intention that sets our destination. He writes that by acknowledging and acting on this cause and effect principle, we can avoid the regret that might come on many levels, "What seems like a sacrifice now will feel like an investment later on." The key is identifying when we're on the wrong path. The principle of the path does not try to provide a solution or fix, but instead proffers a guide to better self awareness.

    Review and reaction:
    I received this book through the Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger Program. It's my first exposure to their books and found the book interesting and a bit discomfiting. The writing is anecdotal and clear. While the main point is straightforward, I thought the discussion was helpful because it forced me to think through my own actions and the areas in my life that need some work. It was the review of my own life that was a bit discomfiting.

    I particularly liked his description of the ways that we rationalize decisions. We delay making changes. "We listen to our hearts, and then we assign our heads the responsibility of building a case to support our hearts' decisions. But again, the reasons follow the decisions - they aren't the real reasons behind the decisions."

    I found the book interesting and helpful and would recommend it to others who are interested in examining their own lives and whether they're taking the right steps to reach their long term goals, whether financial, relational, or on any other level.

    Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishing, Inc. (March 31, 2009), 204 pages.
    Courtesy of Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers program.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Principle of the Path

    Lord help me see trouble coming long before it gets here and give me the wisdom to know what to do and the courage to do it. This simple prayer, based on Proverbs 27:12 is the basis of Andy Stanley's new book, The Principle of the Path.
    It is an easy-to-read common sense book, essential for today. Stanley asks us to just tell ourselves the truth and make decisions by asking ourselves these questions.
    Has God already spoken on this matter?
    What outcome am I expecting?
    Will my decision affect that outcome?
    What is the final story I want to tell?
    I read the book and then tried out this thought-provoking method on a few of my own issues. I was impressed with the ease of the process. Granted I still had to DO the right thing, but the questions make options clear.
    I would recommend the book (and the path) to any you who wants to live life at their best....

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2011

    A Very Highly Recommended Read.

    Self-help books are a dime a dozen. I'm sure this isn't news to anyone, so wading through the useless, over-obvious or the more dangerous, complete fallacies, is a skill in and of itself. I can't believe how often I hear about well meaning Christian friends who get caught up in the Eckhart Tolles or and take those concepts as an addendum to their Christian walk or completely disregard the faith of their childhood for a new more fashionable and less "restricting" faith fad.

    This book will probably not become Oprah's book-club pick, nor will it likely gain the worldwide attention that Eckhart Tolle's books have, but it should. Andy Stanley has captured a principle so important and vital to our lives that it can't be ignored and if you read this book, I'm pretty sure you'll agree.

    The thing about principles is this, a principle is a principle whether you know it (and how to apply it's rules) or not. You don't need to know a principle exists in order for it to work or to benefit or be affected by the outcome. The principle applies it's rules to the situation regardless of how you respond. The best example of this in the book is when Andy refers to Archimedes' principle that ".any object, wholly or partially immersed in a fluid is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object." This principle exists whether you know it or not, just ask any child who saw a pool full of people swimming, decided it looked like fun, jumped in and immediately sank to the bottom! The child hadn't been taught the principle of buoyancy, but if he/she had learned what Archimedes knew about floatation AND (the most important part) applied it to his/her situation, their outcome would be much different and more enjoyable!

    So, what if we could know the outcome of every situation and how to apply the principle of the path to every aspect of our lives. According to Stanley, we have already fallen victim or conquered situations in our lives by inadvertently applying the rules of the principle of the path or ignoring them. Andy Stanley's conversational approach to this concept affords an easy (but no less informational) read about improving every aspect of our life by understanding that no matter what decision we make, we are on a path and our decision has the potential to alter that path for the good or the not-so-good.

    Take the time, read the book and enjoy Andy's relaxed and matter-of-fact writing style. You'll learn a lot about yourself and I know you'll be the better for it. A very highly recommended book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2010

    Excellent

    Looking for a way to change something in your life? this book will compel you and give you the strength you need to take responsibility for your actions and remember that they affect more than just yourself.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2009

    The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley

    Have you ever wondered why you are not where you want to be even though you got all A's in school, or was top ten in your class? In The Principle of the Path, Andy Stanley explains how life is not made of decisions but is a path, and how to find the way to the road to get to where you want to be. It's a unique book full of great advice, funny stories, and informational experiences that keep you entertained while you read.
    The Principle of the Path will help you out financial, relationally, mentally.whatever! You will walk away from this book with a new insight on how you chose what you do everyday. Andy Stanley has a comical, creative way of writing that makes you want to continue reading to find out what he'll say next. If you give this book a chance you'll fall in love with it like I did!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    Good read

    Good read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2012

    Very Much Worth !t

    After reading the first 2 chapters you can infer the simplicity of the message Andy Stanley is portraying. All of the principles in the book are basic, however, imparatively necessary.

    We all took a path to get where we are. Stanley makes a point that we were all being shown signs, such as ones you would see while taking a road trip; & these signs are warnings that tell us where we're going, even if its not where we intend to be. Using Biblical principles to staple his point, this book is a great read that emphasizes what God knows is best for us.

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  • Posted August 29, 2011

    Today's decisions create tomorrow's experiences

    Andy Stanley states, "The principle you employ every time you look at a map or fire up your GPS (i.e., roads lead to the same place every time) applies to other arenas of your life as well. But what's perfectly obvious in the realm of geography is not so obvious in those other arenas. And. what's true geographically is equally true relationally, financially, physically, and academically. There is a parallel principle that affects parenting, dating, marriage, our emotions, our health, and a host of other areas as well. Just as there are physical paths that lead to predictable physical locations, there are other kinds of paths that are equally predictable." Stanley calls this the principle of the path. Through the retelling of life experiences, both personal and gained through his years of being a pastor; and stories from the Bible, Stanley demonstrates how direction-not intention- determines destination. Although the information given is not new it is presented in such a way that made me stop and think about some of my own past decisions and about where I want to be and what I need to do to get there. I used this book in my daily devotions for several weeks and am sure that many of Stanley's points will be forever engrained in my mind: -You don't have problems to fix; you have directions that need to change. -Today's decisions create tomorrow's experiences. -What gets our attention determines our direction and, ultimately, our destination. -Knowing doesn't make a difference. Doing does. The Principle of the Path is a good book, whether you are where you want to be or still trying to reach your destination. The book can be a quick, easy read; or used as devotional material (there is a study guide in the back of the book) over a longer period of time. It's your choice. As Stanley states at the end of the book, "The decisions you make will determine the direction and the destination of your life. Choose wisely." -------------------------- Thomas Nelson Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review through BookSneeze®. I am not required to give a positive opinion but I am required to give my honest opinion.

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  • Posted August 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good Life Advice

    The Principle of the Path

    Overview

    I grew up believing in fate - that whatever happened, it was meant to be. The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley presents an interesting argument that each decision we make places us on a path for the rest of our lives. It puts us in the driver seat of our own lives and allows us to feel some sense of control over our successes and failures.

    This book is an excellent as Andy intertwines many of his own personal stories with the key messages of his book. His language is easy to read and his stories bring his theories to life. The book includes the following topics

    Why bad things happen to smart people
    Should have seen that coming
    The heart of the matter
    Getting help from your friends
    Attention retention
    Road Closed

    Greatest Lesson

    The greatest lesson I learned from this book is that we must have the foresight to consider the long-term impacts of our decisions. Each decision is not an isolated event, but rather one additional step on our life plan. The book offers some wonderful advice about how to select and stay on the right path throughout life. For example, Andy suggests that you should become friends with individuals who are further down the path you want to be on and seek advice from them on how they got there. This is much more effective than surrounding yourself with friends who are at the same stage as you and may not have the wisdom and experience to help you move forward in your path.

    "You will never reach your full potential without tapping in to the wisdom of others" (page 133)

    Recommendation

    I recommend The Principle of the Path for anyone (young or old) who is looking to understand why they have ended up on the path they are on. This book will inspire you to adjust your path to achieve greater success and happiness in life.


    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze 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."

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  • Posted July 27, 2011

    THE DESTINY CHANGING BOOK

    The Principle of the Path is a simple concept yet so powerful. I believe many readers initially would say, 'Andy, can you write something new?' but as they read on, they change to 'Andy, can I have more?' Andy Stanley, like any great writer would, presented to us concise unambiguous principle of life. This is a complicated world and people make difficult choices and this book if carefully adhered to would be life and destiny changing! In fact, not only Christians can benefit from this principle but everyone should get a hold on it. This book has disturbed me in a good way as I now have to think through every path I take. I highly recommend this book to everyone who is serious about life and destiny. I give this book a five-star!

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  • Posted June 15, 2011

    Very helpful and insightful!

    I love and appreciate books and sermons by Pastor Andy Stanley and in "The Principle of the Path" he is definitely in top form.

    The book is subtitled "How to get from where you are to where you want to be" and deals with the, seemingly well-known, premise, that direction - not intention - determines our destination. Hence, in order to arrive at the desirable place, we need to make every effort to get on the right path. The one that leads to where we're heading.

    It's not exactly a book on rocket science, no.

    But, with a number of well-placed examples and personal stories of failure (don't we all love to learn from examples of others ;)), Pastor Andy shows the clear way forward. And leaves it to our determination finding (and following) the right path. How do you respond to the warning signs you see? How do you handle independence when it is so tempting to neglect the voices of reason in our life? If you arrived to where the current path of your life leads you to, would you be satisfied with the destination?

    There is plenty to do while we still can make a difference in this world and I find "The Principle of the Path" to be very helpful on this quest. Especially that it comes with a study guide to help us turn our wishful thinking into direction shift. Most of us need it more than we know.

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  • Posted May 27, 2011

    Take a few and read this book

    Recently had some time on my hands and read through Andy Stanley's Principle of the Path book. I really enjoyed reading through the book. One of my favorite chapters was chapter 5, entitled "The Heart of the Matter." In this chapter Stanley references his coffee buying habits and his justification for spending the money and the feeling that coffee brings him. This chapter talks about the justification that we go through to make ourselves feel better about decisions we make. The chapter ends with these questions:
    1) Why do I do what I do?
    2) Do I justify things?
    3) Do I lie to myself?
    4) Why do I do what I do?
    5) What would I advise someone else to do?
    This chapter is the best chapter of the book and helps put something's in perspective.
    It gets to the heart of the matter and tears away the excuses we make and the justification of our decisions. Definitely worth reading this book for this chapter. Your Direction, not Your Intention, Determines Your Destination. There is often a tension between where we want to end up in life and the path we choose to get there. We fail to see that having good intentions is never good enough. Like Charlie Brown, we wrongly believe there's something to be said for trying hard. We need to understand why, in spite of our good intentions, we may have ended up at the wrong destination with our finances, our marriages, our careers, or a host of other dreams. So how do we get from where we are to where we truly want to be? The Principle of the Path is a road map to proper direction and discipline.
    Please take some time and check this book out.

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  • Posted April 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    What Path am I on!

    How many times have we gotten to a point in our lives where we just had to stop and ask ourselves, "How did I get in this situation?" Wouldn't you like to have some help to keep you on the good path? Well this is what Andy Stanley has given us with this book.

    We are all on a path to somewhere. Andy helps us to be aware of how decisions and choices that we make effect the path we are on and where we are headed.

    I found this book to be a great read with lots of things that I could take away from it and think about. This book actually is helping me to determine where I am currently so that I can get out my "GPS" and find the best course of action to get to my destination. This is a book that should be read multiple times and used to help guide you as you travel this path of Life. I've heard it said that a wise man will learn from other people's mistakes. This is certainly true, but if you could learn from successes AND mistakes, wouldn't you get there faster or at least have a broader base to help you make the best decisions? That is what I feel that you get from this book.

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  • Posted April 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The premise of the path is direction-not intention-determines our destination.

    My latest review for Thomas Nelson (BookSneeze) is The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley. It's a book based on where you are in life and where you want to be. The premise of the path is direction-not intention-determines our destination.

    King Solomon's story is used to teach people how to use the principle of the path to their benefit. In essence, it teaches people how to make good decisions by using a highway as life. It answers how do I get from A to D, and what are the consequences of taking shortcuts, or what destinations to B and C lead to?

    The book includes a life-application study guide. Each chapter is broken down into key ideas, truths, questions and wisdom. There are corresponding Bible verses for each chapter too.

    I enjoyed the book. The Principle of the Path makes sense and is easy to apply to life using the study guide. It's a great explanation on how to avoid regret by looking at the big picture of life and not just the short-term decision.

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  • Posted March 29, 2011

    A Must Read

    Andy Stalnley's "The Principal of the Path" has been an amazing read for my own spiritual growth. The entire theme of "The Principal of the Path" is based on the principle: "direction-not intention-determines our destination." Stanley does an amazing job of taking this point and dissecting it for the growth of the reader. This is the second book I've read of Stanley's and I've always been a student of his teaching, but now I am tremendous fan of his writing. This is not just a book on purpose, but a book that shares Godly insight into how we reach the life we dream of as well as a view into how we have arrived at the different stages of life good or bad. Stanley's point is clear, every decision we make is a direction in the right or wrong path to our ultimate destination. How we live now is a picture into our future. We are future product of our current decisions. With God on our side we can make the right decision and in doing so we can save ourselves of tremendous regret. So, throughout the book he explains the importance of looking for wisdom from those who have came before us regardless of their right or wrong decisions; as well as the importance of submitting ourselves to the one who knows what's ultimately best for us: God. Stanley does a great job of bringing spiritual truth from Biblical heroes like King Solomon , who even though is known as the wisest man to ever live, he himself knew what it was like to forget the truth of this principle.

    If you want to grow in your ability to choose the right paths for your life no matter your position or title this book is a must read. Engulf yourself in the power that is available to us from God to choose the right paths for our life young or old.

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  • Posted March 26, 2011

    Highly recommended - this book has the potential to be life changing

    There are very few books I've read which I would consider live changing. Outside of the Bible, there are only two or three books which I can say have had such an impact on my life I can recall the specific title of the book, the author, and how it's impacted me. Granted, there are dozens of books which have influenced my thought processes and beliefs, but books that I can say impacted the direction of my life? Those are few and far between.

    The Principle of the Path is a book which certainly has the potential be added to my short list. I say "potential" because its impact can only be measured over time, so I won't add it to the list just yet - but give me a a year or so and I think it has a very good chance of being on it. This is the first book I've ever read by Andy Stanley, but hopefully it will not be the last. His writing style and humor remind me of John Ortberg's - one of my favorite authors (in fact, at times I found myself thinking I was reading the latest Ortberg book instead of some other author!) I found the book so captivating I actually read it in one 24 hour period (don't get too impressed by that, it's less than 180 pages long, and it took me less than 3 hours to read the whole thing).

    Here's the basic thesis of the book: it is our direction not our intentions, that determines our destination. And it is our attention that determines our direction. Simple enough, really, and something I've thought about plenty of times. Stanley argues that many (actually, most) people are in situations in their lives that they never intended to be in not because of bad luck but because of bad planning (at times I felt like was writing advice written by my father!) He spends the first few chapters of the book setting out his argument for why this is the case, and then the rest of the book detailing how to apply it to our lives.

    Here are two quotes that sum everything up pretty well: "We don't drift in good directions. We discipline and prioritize ourselves there." (p150) and "Attention determines direction, and directions determines destination." (p153) His position, in the end, is sound, and I find myself relating to and understanding it fully. Too often we blame our situation(s) in life on our circumstances, forgetting that our choices led to our circumstances in the first place! Stanley encourages us to set down a course to guide our choices so we can better control our destinations. Stanley does a great job establishing that the Principle of the Path is not a law which can be violated/broken but is something that is at work whether we acknowledge it or not - and we can harness it for our good or bad.

    This is a book I highly recommend reading, and one that, if you read in partnership with Search for Significance by Robert McGee, would help you understand to a greater degree yourself (including your thought process, beliefs, struggles, failures, triumphs, and even fears). A solid 5/5 stars.

    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

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  • Posted March 9, 2011

    Adapted from A Teaching Series.

    Andy Stanley has written some great books. So when he puts out a somewhat average one, it is hard to be excited about it. His best books are those which are not based on a teaching series - like Communicating for a Change, and 7 Practices of Effective Ministry. Usually when a book is based on one of his teachings series, it lacks the kind of insight and practical guidance that his 'straight to text' books do.

    This is true of The Principle of the Path, and unfortunately, it was pretty much what I expected when I received my review copy.

    It is not that this is a bad book or in anyway contains falsehood or bad doctrine. For what it is, The Principle of the Path is adequate and even excels in its category. I guess that it just isn't the kind of book I would pick up and after reading a page or two say, "I need this book!"

    Stanley's thesis is a good one: you get where you are heading. In other words, we don't make mistakes because they fall out of the sky. We don't get where we are heading or think we are heading because we're not going toward it. So, if you can discover the right path and follow it, you will succeed.

    This is a well known fact - the part about getting where you're heading anyway. I'm not sure that we could necessarily say that the journey always takes us to success, but then again it depends how we define success.

    I'm going to be honest. I'm not expecting Andy Stanley to be the world's greatest exegete or to blow me away with some kind of revolutionary paradigm shift (I've already blogged on why I think those are manufactured anyway). I do expect a little more than a self-help principle with some Scripture attached.

    Is this book essentially correct? Yes. Could it have been a whole lot better? Yes. Was it necessarily written for people like me? I don't think so, and therein is probably the issue. This is a book for people who are looking for advice and direction, and Andy does his best to point them toward Scriptural principles. Kudos. It's just that this kind of book is not my cup of tea.

    I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, without any requirement for the nature of the review.

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  • Posted March 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Change your path!

    Have you ever wondered why everyone else seems to be getting where they want in life and you are left struggling to achieve dreams? In Andy Stanley's book, he speaks out about how to change that. With examples taken from real life, Stanley shows us how all of the choices that we make are not simply one-time decisions that are soon lost in yesterday. Each choice we make is another step on the path we are taking.

    The simplicity of his message would make it seem unremarkable, but many of us often overlook the answers that are right in front of us! By outlining some basic life principles and showing the steps we can take, tasks in front of us don't appear quite as daunting.

    Stanley gives us his message in an easy read, minus other's sometimes off-putting, clinical language. Most people could benefit from reading this book and taking part in the study guide located in the back.

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