Book Review – How To Be Here, by Rob Bell

So let me be really honest before we start.

I am no fan of self-help books. As I’ve written elsewhere, they can have a tendency to tap into fear more than hope; feeding our anxiety about being a nobody. They’re usually full of cheap clichés and impotent anecdotes and twelve steps that lead nowhere. And often, they result in leaving people more exhausted, burdened and disillusioned as they try and exhibit the book’s mantras.

Take for example those relationship books that promise a better, more enriching relationship. So people buy them, and end up missing and sabotaging the uniqueness and beauty of what they already have through grasping for the faux assembly-line product that someone else tells them that they should have.

As I said, I’m no fan of self-help. It’d be better called self-destruct. And it irritates me that it sells as well as it does. So I avoid it — with an extremely wide radius.

But along comes Rob, with his clear and well-honed communication skills and does, what I feel, is very subversive to the whole genre!

This isn’t really a “self-help” book — though it appears to be one. This isn’t a book that seeks to encourage us to let go of now in order to grab at more transcendental expectations and experiences. Rob’s few words here evoke the immanency of life, seeking to ground us more in the here and now; helping us to see the wonder that this present moment holds.

How To Be Here does exactly what it says on the cover, without leaving the reader with a large headache, an unrealistic to-do list or a side order of depression. And as someone who is prone to the latter, it’s nice to read a book that didn’t nuance that.

This didn’t leave me feeling terrible about my place or progress in life, but actually more thankful, grateful and hopeful about it.

I got a lot from this. If I’m honest, I’m wrestling with a huge sense of displacement at the moment — thinking that life will happen if I locate myself elsewhere but here — so I needed this. It resonated in some deep levels as I read through the chapters. It’s helped me to reconnect with the present and to explore and rejoice in what I find here.

How To Be Here is a book that actually helps.

Another excellent, well written, and never long, book from Rob!

Tristan Sherwin is the Author of Love: Expressed – Available Now!

Love Expressed Book Board2

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