The last book on the Summer 2009 reading list was Fearless by Max Lucado. This book was very timely for me and was a nice break from technical and fiction books. Fearless is a book by author and pastor Max Lucado out of San Antonio which attempts (and succeeds in my opinion) to counter all the negativity and spirit of fear in seemingly all the headlines today.

What’s to be afraid of? This week kids are going back to school (scary to start with), and they’ll have to face H1N1 swine flu. There is political controversy on the first day with a live speech being presented by the president. Michigan has 15% unemployment so one or two kids at the bus stop has a parent that is looking for a job. A look at the headlines just for today will show issues on Health Care, Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Recession, Bankruptcy, Climate Change, Car Accidents, Nuclear Power, Infidelity, Death, Fallen Leaders, Vaccine Issues, Truck Bomb, Texas Execution, Plane Hijacked in Mexico, and more – but there is a cool new iPod nano (sigh).

I started reading Fearless with high expectations, having really enjoyed past books by Lucado, and was really surprised – in a good way. This is one of the rare books that I read, and then want to read again with someone else or with a group of people and discuss over coffee and maybe a donut. It may be one of the best books he has written, and I already know a few people who I want to get a copy of the book.

Fearless is really a book about overcoming fear. Fear is not the spirit that we are supposed to have, but instead one of power, love and self-control. Lucado explains that fear comes about as we perceive a loss of control in our lives. It is faith, not fear, that should be our reaction when these challenges come.

Lucado uses an amazing variety of styles in the book to illustrate very common fears among us – fears like not mattering to people, protecting your kids, challenges, violence, death, and others. In one chapter he uses a "Dr. Seussian" style poem to tell the story of the people of "Stiltsville". In another chapter he will tell the true story, with detail and insight that few authors can accomplish, of his experience flying in an F-16 on maneuvers. Some of the ideas are common sense such as focusing on today, not worrying about yesterday or tomorrow – do the next thing. He takes an amusing tour through "Worst Case Scenarios" (i.e. surviving an Octopus attack) but brings the reader back to focusing on faith, peace and hope instead of falling into fear and doubt.

Overall I was very pleased by reading Fearless and recommend checking it out or picking up a copy for a friend who needs a lift.