Thursday, December 5, 2013

Book: The In-Between by @JeffGoins

Today’s Review is sponsored by Cross-Focused Reviews. Through CFR, a copy of the book and audiobook were provided. I would note this: I had already purchased a copy of The In-Between, so I’ll be giving away CFR’s contribution.

We go through life, dashing from moment to moment, all the while missing little glories in the middle. Jeff Goins refers to those parts of life as The In-Between, which is the title of his latest book. Subtitled Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing, it’s a personal look at an important truth.

For the sake of the review, I was asked to both read and listen to the audiobook of The In-Between. First, I’ll deal with the content overall, then with pros and cons of different. I’ll finish off with looking at how it went to read and listen together.

The In-Between starts off with author Goins recounting his personal experiences on a study abroad trip to Spain. It is, hopefully, forgivable to read with a tinge of envy that one hasn’t been to Spain to learn the lessons here, because I did. Moving on, though, the best teacher is other people’s experience, and that’s what you get here.

Goins does not really write a book, though. Just as with his other works Wrecked and his blog, Goins tells stories. He tells great stories and draws wisdom from them. Fortunately, The In-Between is not only based in Spain. Goins has done well by drawing his stories from Europe right back to Tennessee.

This is the strongest aspect of his work in The In-Between. While he leaves the reader to determine application of the work to their own life, he has shown not only how to be aware of the “now” in big moments like Spain but how to be aware of the “now” during dull days in traffic.

Now, I like what I read from Jeff Goins, but he’s as human as you and I. The In-Between is a great read, but an imperfect one. First of all, Goins has been blessed to hold jobs that enable some of the lifestyle choices he highlights, that allow the time to reflect. That’s not always the case, and reading The In-Between while scrimping from this week to next while working at a McJob could be more frustrating than encouraging. I think it’s worth the read, and I’m not too far removed from my McJobs. Some days it would have been encouraging, others frustrating.

The other quibble I would take with The In-Between relates to religious content. I can tell from multiple sources that Goins and I both embrace Christianity as best we understand it, and some of his faith trickles through The In-Between. I think that aspect could have been stronger in his writing, though. There’s just enough Christian and Bible content to make a non-Christian antsy, but not enough for me to feel comfortable putting a box of these on the front pew of the church and saying “take one!”

These concerns are ameliorated by this statement, though: don’t let The In-Between be your only guide for life. I think Goins would agree with that statement. Let his story here inspire you to progress forward, and to trust that what you are becoming even when there are no “great moments” is worth the time.

In addressing the audiobook format, I have one major issue. The entire book is in one file. Now, that may be a factor of download choice—I don’t do a lot of audiobooks. But that was annoying.

Overall, though, the dual-mode of listening and reading together was a good experience. It helped with focus, and I also liked that I could just snag my iPod and move around without the book in hand at some moments. Overall, I wouldn’t do this for every book, but Goins is a good story teller, so The In-Between works well from his voice.

Disclaimer: Free audiobook provided in exchange for the review.

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