The next book in my book review venture with Waterbrook Multnomah is Start Here by Alex & Brett Harris. Start Here is the second book by these young twin brothers, following up their successful literary debut entitled Do Hard Things.
Start Here is, in all honesty, not a phenomenal, ground-breaking book. There are no great new ideas or ground-breaking techniques. The book is not complex and deep – no challenge to read at all. It says nothing that other books and teachings have not already said. What sets the book apart is that it is written by young people to young people – something that is just not commonly done these days.
Our society, in all honesty, does not expect much from young people. The authors quote a young lady who expressed this truth exceedingly well as she shared her discomfort with the amount of praise she was receiving for actually doing things that matter. “It must grieve the Lord that so little is expected of His children,” she states.
Young people are capable of great accomplishments if they are given the freedom, the support, and the guidance needed. They are also hungry to accomplish great and hard tasks, both big and small. Alex and Brett Harris’ goal through their books and the Rebelution conferences and events has been to give young people the encouragement and motivation they need to try hard things.
Before reading Start Here, I had a couple of concerns. First of all, I was concerned that the authors would only mention the big and grandiose hard tasks that, to be honest, most people just do not accomplish regardless of age. I was pleased with the balance of the grand and the small, as well as the acknowledgement that the “little” things can be just as hard – and just as powerful as the “big”. The Harrises point out that sometimes simply choosing to be excellent instead of mediocre in what you’re already doing is just as powerful as raising thousands of dollars for a good cause. They also emphasized that being “a thriving and contributing member of your local church is vitally important,” which I find to be a critical message to communicate to young people.
Secondly, I was concerned that their stories and recommendations would not be very universal. I currently live in a rural area where many opportunities just are not available. As I skimmed through the “100 Hard Things” suggestion list in the Appendix, however, I was pleased to see that a vast majority of the recommendations on the list were incredibly practical and feasible for young people in just about any social environment. Many of the stories within the book were also widely applicable.
I would and intend to recommend this book. However, one thing that I would strongly encourage is that both young people and the adults in their lives read the book. Why? Because we as adults need to be reminded that young people are capable of more than we ask or even frequently allow them to do. If I challenge one of my Acteens with this level of activity but do not encourage her parents to support her, then the obstacles they face as they seek to do hard things will be that much greater – and possibly insurmountable in some instances.
I have a copy of Start Here to give away! To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment between now and Wednesday, March 24, at midnight. For more information about the book or where to buy a copy, head on over to the Random House website.