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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Non-fiction Review: Character Makes a Difference

Photo courtesy of: Serge Bertasius Photography,

Character Makes a Difference by Mike Huckabee is one of those books I picked up out of curiosity. I had no idea what Mr. Huckabee would say. What a happy surprise! I’ll tell you right off, this is one of my top two books of the year so far. It is well written and one of the most gracious, godly books I’ve ever read.

In his introduction, Mr. Huckabee says, “This is a book for everyone . . . (who) thinks, Our country is falling apart and there’s nothing I can do about it. There is something you can do about it: you can live a God-centered life of high moral character, and you can run for public office or support candidates who share your Christian standards.”

As you probably know, Mike Huckabee was governor of Arkansas and later ran for president of the United States. What you probably didn’t know is that Mike Huckabee and President Bill Clinton are from the same hometown, had the same kindergarten teacher, and went to the same grade school. They have a warm relationship, today.

Character Makes a Difference begins with the day Mr. Huckabee was supposed to be sworn in as Arkansas governor. He gets a phone call from Governor Jim Guy Tucker, who was convicted of fraud in the Whitewater case. The Governor said he would not leave office as he had promised. In detail, Huckabee tells about that day. It is fascinating, because I believe very few people knew what really went on. Huckabee ends up giving a speech to the Arkansan people. “I felt no sense of discomfort of apprehension. I would say what I knew was right for the state, what God had put in my heart.”

Part of that speech said, “A word to those who would perhaps, with good intentions, tell me not to reference God or the Bible. The fact is that since my childhood, that Book and its Author have been the guiding forces in my life. And it would be much easier for me to give up being governor than it would be to give up taking the counsel that I have had from God and His Word.”

He shares later, “That day proved to me that when everybody shares the view that right and truth are not relative conditions, but absolutes, you don’t have to spend a lot of time explaining what to do and why. A few clear, immovable milestones made the day’s decisions easy.”

I loved this: “In order to help improve the spirit of the office, I immediately banned smoking and swearing in the governor’s office . . . . Everyone, from the most senior staff member to entry-level clerks, deserves courtesy and respect on the job.”

This, too: “A leader who is really in charge never has to mention the fact.”

Huckabee says the people of Arkansas are the boss. He had a framed picture behind his secretary’s desk. The picture was changed often. It was titled “Our Boss.” “One week it might be a Girl Scout Troop from Arkadelphia; the next week it might be a teacher in Mount Ida; the next week, a retired farmer in West Memphis. These were the people we had pledged to serve.” He says further, “Servant leadership is the highest form of leadership.”

These quotes will give you a taste of what you’ll see, but there’s much, much more. I was fascinated by the historical context and Huckabee’s godly philosophy. I was personally challenged by some of the stories shared.

Regardless of your political affiliation, I think you’ll find this book a wonderful read. Huckabee reaches across the aisle in many ways and on many occasions. I enjoyed his illustrations and his candidness. I loved some of the things he said about his wife, for example. (You’ll be surprised!) The theme of the book, of course, is the need for character in every aspect of life.

I loved this one! Five stars, for sure!

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