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The Juggling Act: Bringing Balance to Your Faith, Family, and Work
by Pat Gelsinger
David C. Cook
Most of see famous Christians as super heroes capable of balancing their success, family, church, and other pursuits without breaking a sweat. This perception that we have is false; it has been created by the lack of authenticity that these individuals tend to show the rest of us. Pat Gelsinger, former CTO at Intel and current CEO of VMware, is refreshingly human about his struggles as a person who is driven towards success, but yet also aware of his need for God, his family and friends, and time to relax and be human. There are moments in our lives when it seems, like the book cover, that we have way too many plates we are trying to juggle, especially if we are pursuing anything that matters. It is good to know that success and responsibility do not have to become idols, but can come hand-in-hand with a Christ-centered life.
I was surprised at how the down-to-earth this book really is. Gelsinger is a “nerd” and somewhat of a genius, but it never seems like he is talking down to the readers. His language is clear, though at times he does speak the jargon of both his industry and his particular place as an executive. People with ordinary lives will find this less useful or relatable than those who have important, high-power jobs. The book is organized fairly well; even though the chapter titles tend to be the subject of the chapter, Gelsinger has the habit of anachronistically bringing pieces of his story into the mix. This could prove confusing because the first two or three chapters is almost chronological its organization. (+1 Star)
Gelsinger’s purpose is to help the reader be productive but not busy. Productivity comes from a good balance of all the different areas of life, but busyness, “can lead to an ineffective witness, career struggles, family strife, divorce, and ultimate failure in one’s personal and professional life.” [pg. 23] While the danger of the ordinary man is to explode from his quiet desperation, the danger of the extraordinary man is implosion. Sadly, such implosions can be publicly witnessed in businesses, government, and even the church. Gelsinger wants the reader to be successful but not implode, so throughout the work he focuses on the necessity of balance in one’s spiritual, personal, and professional life.(+1 Star)
For the most part, I thought the book brought some good advice for those who are in the professional, especially business, world. Gelsinger begins with his personal story of hard work ethic in both life on the farm and eventually at school while working for Intel. It is during this time that he meets his future wife and becomes a believer.He then goes on to talk about developing something called a “personal mission statement,” the combination of both your values and goals. He moves into making sure the reader’s relationships are prioritized and given the right perspective: starting with God and ending with workplace relationships. He discusses a chart he and his wife, Linda, made to keep up with whether or not he is spending enough time at home; it was a breakthrough in helping him to make sure that he was spending enough time with his family. He discusses the boundaries and nuances about being a Christian in the upper levels of a company and why mentor relationships are incredibly important to success. He remarks about the necessity of being authentic in your witness, being yourself in both the Christ-like moments and the not-so-Christ-like moments. He sums up with tips on how to balance and integrate faith, family, and work before handing it off to his wife for her perspective. Overall, it is solid content for the audience it is trying to address.(+1 Star)
Gelsinger is not a very emotional author; it is the curse of most technical people. While he is very authentic and shares his own personal struggle; it is more like the sharing at an AA meeting than a heart-to heart chat. A little more emotional energy would have pushed The Juggling Act over the top, but instead you struggle at times to see if Gelsinger has feelings rather than just processes and ideas.(-1 Star)
There are many books out there for people who are trying to balance their work, family, and spiritual life. These books would give a lot of the same advice as Gelsinger, so I do not see a lot of uniqueness or something that makes this book stand out on the subject from other books.(-1 Star)
The Juggling Act is another book that will help you, especially if you work a high-powered job, to succeed in balancing all of the spheres of your life. It is not a very emotional or unique work, that is why it is merely “good” instead of “great.” I got it for free during a promotional, it would be a good $5-$10 pick up if you are really struggling with this issue.
1 Star – Don’t waste your money.
2 Star- Only get it if it is on sale.
3 Star – Think about buying it.
4 Star – Save up and purchase it.
5 Star – You MUST have it, TODAY.