The Most Helpful Book I’ve Read

I have now lived enough years to have read a fair amount of books, and my work as a preacher and pastor also demands that I read. For that reason, I am often asked, “Which books have helped you the most?” I usually don’t have a ready answer for what turns out to be a life-long question.

I was asked this again recently and I think I can give you one of the books that has really helped me in life.

While the book is a business book, it really has to do with relationships. Almost everything in life is about relationships.

When I first read the book, I think I was attracted to the length of the book (about 100 pages), the way it was written (in story form as a parable), and because it was about business. My dad was in business and that was my upbringing. I have always been interested in business.

The book gave me so much more than a good and easy read about business: it taught me about life.

The book is “The One Minute Manager” by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson.

If I remember correctly, the book gave three things a one minute manager does.

The only one I remember is this: the one minute manager tries to catch his people doing something right. The authors meant that the good manager or parent does his best to find and encourage the things that people get right.

This is so different from all that we have been taught or experienced. We almost always try to catch people doing something wrong and correcting them. The principle of this book is to look for the right things people do and reinforce their behavior.

That statement resonated with me because that’s the way I want to be treated. Show me what I’ve gotten right and help me to do better. I want–and crave–encouragement. You probably do as well. I want respect and appreciation. Those things are probably at the top of your list too.

The book really helped me as a parent. My girls responded much better to reinforcing the right things than to correcting the wrong things, especially in an angry tone. Children want to be told what to do and how to do it.

No parent gets it right. John Eldridge says that we all wound our children, but we can do our best to help them through our love and devotion. I still remember times early in my teen years when my dad treated me like a man and gave me work to do bigger than my age. His respect and encouragement carries me to this do.

See what you can do with your employees and children as you seek to catch them doing something right.

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About Waylon

I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ — Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV)