Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World by Nish Weiseth had me hooked with the introduction. That was not surprising since the introduction was written by Shauna Niequist, and I like her writing. I devoured this book, which should tell you something about how good it is. In the introduction, Niequist defines story as “the vulnerable sharing of your life experiences with others.”
The back cover has the question:”How would your life be different if you shared your stories rather than your opinions?” That is a powerful question. This is a book about the importance of our stories.
The message is more than just “your story is important,” although that is definitely found in this book. The message is focused on the impact of our stories. “Story” has become somewhat of a buzzword, especially for millennial Evangelical Christians (who are really Weiseth’s audience). Weiseth is offering “sharing our stories” as the millennial’s evangelism. Sharing our stories is a good place to start because it helps us find common ground and leads to deeper understanding.
Her main point is that our stories–and learning the stories of others–can help us understand other people and other situations. I have long believed you cannot dislike someone once you know his or her story. “Shared stories and [the] retelling of ourselves are the things that build relationships,” she writes. This book comes from a heart that cares about people. She is vulnerable in sharing her own experiences. It is a book that tries to answer the question: what does ministry look like? She writes:
“Believing that the kingdom of God is already present and breaking through on the earth presents us with an invitation, a calling as believers to partner with God in what He is accomplishing in our cities and towns around the world. We’re invited to be a reflection of God’s unending love for His people.”
The book is arranged in three sections: The Problem: We’re Divided; The Solution: Story Changes Hearts; The Outcome: Story Effects Change. At the end of each chapter, she includes stories from others to serve as an example of the power of sharing one’s story. The stories are blog posts from a Deeper Story. That was my biggest issue with the book. The blog posts can be easily accessible from a Deeper Story. When bloggers write books, it is natural for stories to repeat. However, I would have appreciated this short book (it is only 208 pages) to include more original content. The stories sometimes support the chapter’s focus, but there are certain stories where the connections are not as strong.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. If you have ever been afraid to tell your story or felt like your story does not matter, you should read this book. It is an encouraging and important book.
Watch the book trailer:
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.