Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential

Joel Osteen, Author Warner Faith $21.99 (310p) ISBN 978-0-446-53275-4
Houston megachurch pastor and inspirational TV host Osteen offers an overblown and redundant self-help debut. Many Christian readers will undoubtedly be put off by the book's shallow name-it-and-claim-it theology; although the first chapter claims that ""we serve the God that created the universe,"" the book as a rule suggests the reverse: it's a treatise on how to get God to serve the demands of self-centered individuals. Osteen tells readers that God wants them to prosper, offering examples of obtaining an elegant mansion or a larger salary (""don't ever get satisfied with where you are,"" he cautions). In seven parts, he details how readers should enlarge their vision, develop self-esteem, discover the power of thought, let go of the past, find strength through adversity, give back to others and choose to be happy. The section on giving comes as too little, too late--Osteen's message to remember others and ""get your mind off yourself"" flies in the face of the previous 200 pages. There are some good pockets of advice, such as letting go of past hurts and avoiding bitterness. Editorially, the book would have packed more of a punch if a third of its repetitive slogans and stories had been pruned. Theologically, its materialism and superficial portrayal of God as the granter of earthly wishes will alienate many Christian readers who can imagine a much bigger God.
Reviewed on: 10/11/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
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