It’s a potentially lethal decision to write a book on humility. The endeavor seems doomed from the start, conjuring images of book titles like, Humility and How I Achieved It. How does one write a book on humility without claiming to possess the trait itself? And does that claim then disqualify the writer from writing such a book?
Austin recognizes this danger. On page 223 he notes, “Those who study and reflect on this virtue have additional reasons for seeking to cultivate humility, even as the study of humility itself can foster pride.” And he succeeds in providing a refreshing and rewarding journey into the realm of humility in general and a vision of Christian humility in particular.
The book is in the Oxford series on “analytic moral theology.” As such, it is tempting to assume it will require arduous intellectual effort to make sense of what Austin is saying. Fortunately, that assumption is almost entirely fallacious. Austin’s great strength lies in his unique ability to not only think deeply but communicate his thoughts succinctly and clearly in simple, straightforward language.
The book is simultaneously clear, rigorous, challenging, and practical—a rare achievement in contemporary works of this sort. But what makes it even more valuable is the fact that as you read, you find yourself wanting humility to become increasingly true of your own life.
In this regard, Austin succeeds in not only explaining and defending the Christian concept of humility, but actually motivating the reader to embrace and apply it in everyday life. Especially helpful are the sections at the end of the book where Austin’s vision of humility is creatively applied to the endeavors parenting and sports. A summative appendix helpfully that lays out his claims in a way that is accessible to all.
One word of caution: because Austin’s writing is so clear and concise, it’s tempting to read the book quickly and fall into the trap of thinking that straightforward expression means a lack of depth and meaning. This would be a mistake. Instead, I recommend reading it slowly, carefully, and reflectively, seeking to digest and apply what he is saying. In doing so, I think you will find yourself increasingly desirous to grow in humility, a virtue of which our world is in desperate need.
- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press UK (8 November 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 019883022X
- ISBN-13: 978-0198830221
- Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.2 x 2.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 390 g
- Customer Reviews: 1 customer rating