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Notable Books

Books | Four recent nonfiction books

Issue: "Coat of many dollars," May 3, 2014

The Measure of Success

By Carolyn McCulley with Nora Shank 

One basic message of this wise book for women: You don’t know what direction your life will take, so you should prepare yourself for work, both at home and in the marketplace. Another basic message: Since women’s lives have different seasons, they require wisdom in making priorities. The authors apply Scripture to issues of work and productivity, especially as they relate to women. They also provide a good basic history of work, family, and the feminist movement, showing how a woman’s work fundamentally changed as the country shifted from an agricultural to industrial economy. This book will help women at all stages of life think through their roles and avoid common temptations.

Adoniram Judson: Devoted for Life 

By Vance Christie

Vance Christie ably tells the story of 19th-century missionary to Burma Adoniram Judson. He begins with Judson’s father, a pastor with great ambitions for his gifted son. That ambition almost shipwrecked the son, who developed an intellectual pride that squelched his faith. When Judson committed himself to the Lord, though, he gave everything he had. Christie’s account incorporates letters and journals that help tell the story of Judson’s perseverance through trouble of every kind, including the death of his first wife and the loss of many children both before and after birth. He preached, established churches, translated Scripture, and developed a Burmese dictionary still in use. 

The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success 

By Megan McArdle

In the United States, a failed startup can be a positive thing to have on a resumé. In Europe, it would be the worst thing. The reason for the difference has to do with the way the two cultures look at failure. In this well-written book, economics journalist McArdle weaves illustrations from her own life with social science research to argue that we learn a great deal from failure and should value policies that make failure painful, but not so painful that we avoid it at all costs. When we make the cost of failure too high—in education or bankruptcy, for instance—we stifle creativity and risk-taking. Whether analyzing medical failures, the housing bubble, or unemployment, McArdle brings clear writing and a contrarian attitude to the table.

50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple’s Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany 

By Steven Pressman

In 1939 an affluent Philadelphia lawyer and his wife upended their lives to rescue 50 Jewish children from the Nazis. Although established Jewish organizations were working to save Jews, their efforts often got bogged down in bureaucracy. An upstart group led by Gil Kraus overcame obstacles—infighting between organizations, cautious diplomats, and anti-Semitism. Working from Eleanor Kraus’ journal, Pressman recounts how the Krauses found American sponsors for the children and bulldogged their way through opposition. They traveled to Germany and occupied Austria to persuade the Nazis to let the children go. Although some children were later reunited with parents who successfully escaped, they left loved ones with no certainty they’d ever see them again.


Elisa Morgan
Luke Edmondson
Elisa Morgan

Parents of prodigals often isolate themselves, believing they are the only ones to have failed so miserably at raising their children. Elisa Morgan, former CEO of MOPS International, tells her story in The Beauty of Broken (W Publishing Group, 2013), sharing how she learned to trust God during her family’s troubled times. In Prayers and Promises for Worried Parents (Howard, 2013), Robert J. Morgan (no relation) shares prayers drawn from the Bible and hopeful stories. He encourages parents to be faithful in praying for their children, and offers a wide variety of quotes, Bible passages, and prayers to guide them.

The brightest American college students often go into law, finance, or consulting. Andrew Yang, founder of Venture for America, a fellowship program that places students in startups for two years, thinks that’s a problem. In Smart People Should Build Things (HarperBusiness, 2014), Yang explains why students often choose the well-trodden path to riches rather than starting their own companies. He includes his own story and many others to show the rewards of entrepreneurship. —S.O.

Susan Olasky
Susan Olasky

Susan pens book reviews and other articles for WORLD as a senior writer and has authored eight historical novels for children. Susan and her husband Marvin live in Asheville, N.C. Follow Susan on Twitter @susanolasky.


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