Item description for Telling Secrets by Frederick Buechner...
Overview The author describes the devastating impact of his father's alcoholism and suicide on his personal life as husband, father, writer, and minister
Publishers Description Filled with hundreds of specific examples and organized into a coherent framework of practical concepts that can be applied by managers and entrepreneurs at all levels, Built to Last provides a master blueprint for building organizations that will prosper in the 21st century and beyond. In Good to Great, the most widely anticipated management book of the year, Jim Collins presents nothing less than a recipe book on how to make a good company great. Following the success of his international blockbuster Built to Last, where he and co-author Jerry Porras discovered the secrets of companies that were outstanding at their founding and then sustained greatness, Collins wondered what could be done for the company that is good or mediocre at best? He questioned whether there have been companies that started weak and finished strong, and if so, what can be said about these companies that might help managers turn a mediocre organization into a great one? So Collins and his research team undertook a massive five year study of every company that has made the Fortune 500 since the advent of that listing in 1965, and has crafted a book as practical and insightful as BUILT TO LAST. This exclusive deluxe box set brings together the two most important business books of the last decade from Jim Collins, the leader in modern business theory.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Telling Secrets?
Telling stories for inner healing Jun 3, 2008
Frederick Buechner has a wonderful way of showing how the stories of our individual lives evoke and elucidate our common story of human experience. As for the darkest "secrets" of our individual and family histories - in Buechner's case, the suicide of his father - he holds out the hope of God's healing. In perhaps the most poignant passage of the book, Buechner is able to write down an imaginary conversation with his father (decades after the fact) that exemplifies the redemptive possibilities available for even our deepest wounds.
While fully cognizant of the challenges involved in making meaningful connection with fellow humans, Buechner provides instances in his life that encourage us to continue the difficult, upward path of love. He is astonished to find, for example, in the midst of a meeting of Adult Children of Alcoholics, people "speaking something extraordinarily like truth in something extraordinarily like love."
Spending time with some authors feels like making a friend. Along with Henri Nouwen, C. S. Lewis, and many others, I now count Frederick Buechner among my author-friends.
great book, good condition Jan 13, 2008
This book was shipped to me very quickly, and was in very good condition, with a small amount of highlighting.
Insightful and Vulnerable Jul 3, 2007
In this book, Buechner places great stress on the influential nature of the secrets we tend to keep. He also places great importance on the power of memory to recall and grapple with the events in our past that impact our lives. I found much of what Buechner had to say to be searching, honest and incisive, if not altogether theologically tight.
Buechner describes 3 sore spots in his past that have greatly shaped his present outlook - his father's suicide, his mother's narcissism, and his daughter's battle with anorexia. He suggests that his over-controlling and over-fretting response to his daughter's illness was shaped by the loss of his father and even the potential loss of the memory of his father. This, he believes, fed a great fear of losing things close to him. He further intimates that his mother's tendency to wall off certain topics and events from discussion left a relational hole that he tried to fill by over-pursuing and over-analyzing his daughter both before and during her illness. He suggests that this suffocation actually contributed to his daughter's crisis.
The best portion of the book is the final chapter in which Buechner delves into spiritual realities. Here, Buechner tells a poignant story of his time at Wheaton, where he discovers that evangelicals are not the close-minded apocalyptics that the culture describes. Instead, Buechner found a principled tolerance that is anchored in a faith that sets a principled direction for all other endeavors. He contrasts this with his time at Harvard, where he observed how brute pluralism often degenerates into all-out factionalism. Buechner is very insightful here. Few are willing to flush out this 'dark side' of pluralism, but of course, the factionalism that Buechner laments is increasingly the norm in American culture today. Tolerance, pluralism, and acceptance tend to be popular buzzwords that in the end, rarely endure the trials and complexities of life unscathed by those who exalt them in theory. Buechner's honest grappling with this dilemma is very refreshing.
Buechner has other insightful points to make as well. He provides helpful balance in analyzing the great love commandment, believing that in addition to loving our neighbors, we need to reclaim some love for ourselves as images of God. Self-loathing defames the image of God as much as loathing others, and loving ourselves biblically doesn't mean being self-absorbed or wanting to bring glory to ourselves. There is a balance that needs to be struck, and Buechner is helpful on this. In addition, Buechner also applies his 'secrets' hypothesis to the church. He notes that the church often bears the marks of a dysfunctional family, where outward community abounds but inner connectedness is in short supply. Like people, the church tends to prefer keeping things unsaid (keeping secrets, of a sort) and unvoiced by chossing to put on a good show rather than acknowledge individual and shared struggle and dealing honestly with it. While Buechner perhaps goes too far in seeing the church more as therapy and group catharsis instead of a place of worship and union with Christ, it is hard to argue with his basic point that both the church and us are often defined by the secrets we keep.
I'm giving the book 4 stars because in the midst of penetrating observation, Buechner seems to not penetrate far enough in some ways. In particular, it appeared to me that the death of his father helped shape some of his views about God that he does not really flush out or hold up to examination. It's not enough to say that experiencing a loss in life makes me afraid of going through that experience again, so that I try to fight it through over-protection and over-meddling. This might be true for as far as it goes, but it also involves something deeper. It involves, at root, a distrust in the goodness of God, and a fear of pain and loneliness; even when we may know intellectually that there is a redemptive character to such pain. In some ways, Buechner seems to see God in everything, but struggles with trusting him in everything. He hints at this toward the end of the book, where 'letting go' is very difficult for him. So ironically, in a book that purports to tell secrets as a result of believing that people are their secrets, I'm not sure Buechner goes far enough in contemplating just how comprehensively his secrets have shaped his view of God.
In the end, Buechner offers us a very penetrating, vulnerable, and often insightful glimpse into his life. The reader will likely be impressed not only by the vulnerability they find, but also in how Buechner's core struggles and secrets might be ours as well. His rather strong statement that we have a right to be happy, as if such a right is owed to us, is no doubt a popular sentiment, though one will struggle mightily to build a biblical case for it. However, robbing ourselves of happiness by obsessing about our fears isn't right either, and this is where Buechner is helpful. Recommended for the discerning reader.
Telling Secrets Mar 17, 2006
Frederick Buechner is one of my favorite autbors. I have almost all of his books. His latest, Telling Secrets, arrived last week and I have not opened it yet. I was almost through reading another book and didn't want to peek until I could sit down and read and read. I am so glad to have this site.com to remind me of books by him and other favorites.
An Act of Love Sep 20, 2003
"I not only have my secrets, I am my secrets. And you are your secrets. Our secrets are human secrets, and our trusting each other enough to share them with each other has much to do with the secret of what it is to be human."
In Telling Secrets, Buechner does just that. He tells the details of his most intimate life. He tells of his struggles and his tortuous search for answers to life. And Buechner finds some answers. He finds that so much of the secret of live is to love and to love means being able to lay bare that core of our being, that soul with the "print of God's thumb still intact." And this book is just that. In an tremendous act of love, Buechner is baring his most essential soul and allowing the reader to connect and learn.
It's difficult for me to express how much I love this book. It is short, but each page holds enough wisdom to fill volumes. Telling Secrets is a book that has earned a prestigious spot on my bedstand where I can reach it easily the times I need it most.