Andy Stanley writes books for two audiences: one is the audience that he speaks to when he preaches at North Point Community Church. The other is the audience that he speaks to when he goes onstage at leadership conferences like Catalyst. This book is for the first audience, not the second. If you enjoy his sermons, you’ll enjoy this book. If you prefer to hear him talk about leadership, you would do better to spend time with some of his other books.
With that caveat out of the way, I’ll now review The Best Question Ever. Stanley keeps his readers on the hook until page 28 before he tells them what the title question is. The best question ever is, “What is the wise thing to do?” This is a revolutionary question, Stanley writes, because in our culture we are accustomed to ask different questions. These questions often take forms like “What can I get away with?” or “How close can I get to the line between right and wrong without going over?” The problem with asking these questions is that by the time we begin to ask them, it is often already too late to avoid the kinds of consequences we want to avoid. It is simply not possible to run at top speed toward the line between right and wrong and come to a full, instantaneous stop. Momentum carries us over, even if we might want to stop.
After stating the question, and elaborating on how readers can apply the question to their unique makeup and life situation, Stanley goes on to apply the question to areas in which many people struggle to make good decisions: time, finances, and morality. Toward the end of the book he answers the question “What do I do when I don’t know the wise thing to do?” and encourages his readers to seek out wise counsel from other people.
The concept of this book seems so simple and obvious that I felt silly just now writing a description of it, and I imagine perhaps Stanley felt a little silly sometimes writing it. But clearly there are a lot of people in the world who are making unwise decisions. We all know some of these people, and sometimes we see them when we look in the mirror. This book is so engagingly written that many readers will be able to blow through it quickly, but it will bear the most fruit if you internalize its message and truly begin to seek the way of wisdom.
Note: Thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah for a review copy of this book. I was not asked to give a positive review.