by Richard Simmons; Evergreen Press, 2010; 132 pages; $21.95
Sometimes men need help. The book True Measure of a Man, by Birmingham men’s-group leader Richard Simmons, is as practical as a key ring for helping men keep their values intact. Its overall message is that many men, to their detriment, have wrongly prioritized faith, family and work. Nowadays, too many men focus only on their jobs. Case in point: The recent downturn in the economy left many men without a secure identity. Simmons writes that he does not know a man who is not “wondering what is going to happen next” and that too many are “living alone in their private worlds of self-doubt and fear.”
The book’s extended title, How Perceptions of Success, Achievement & Recognition Fail Men in Difficult Times, further describes the author’s goal in helping men find contentment aside from circumstances.
Simmons is a former salesman and CEO. He has spent the past decade advising youths and executives not to “arrange their lives around future expectations of happiness,” as, he also writes, “before we know it, life is over.” Enjoying the present should be the goal. Men need satisfaction with “where we are, or what we have in this life.” Their confidence level often “moves with the market and flows with the opinion of others.”
Simmons teaches similar messages at the Center for Executive Leadership, a nonprofit, faith-based ministry he founded in 2000.
The book is a tool for his ministry. In it, he weaves together wise words from personal stories and multiple sources, including the Bible. Simmons writes that men should face reality and rely on God’s strength. He encourages men to live without a mask and to build their inner character.
“The ballfield, the bedroom, and the wallet are merely outward experiences that fail to translate into permanent inner fulfillment and contentment,” he writes.
Men who enjoyed Wild at Heart by John Eldredge and A Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren will enjoy the Simmons’ book. Women, too, who read to better understand the inner workings of men will enjoy True Measure of a Man, as most women realize that sometimes, in the areas of faith, family and work, men need help.
Sherry Kughn is a freelance writer and the author of the Heart Tree Book Series.