Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

The Carpenter: A Story About the Greatest Success Principles of All by Jon Gordon

The Carpenter: A Story About the Greatest Success Principles of All by Jon Gordon. Wiley. 150 pages. 2014

This book is written as a leadership fable, much like books by Patrick Lencioni, Mark Miller or Ken Blanchard, the latter of whom writes the “Foreword” for the book. The book tells the story of Michael, who with his wife, have started up a business. With the business and two children, they are quite busy and stressed. The business – Social Connect – has grown a good deal in the past year. As a result, Michael is feeling the stress of being a husband, father, and business owner. The stress eventually impacts his health.
The book opens with Michael in the hospital. He had been running through the city streets, thinking about ways to build his company, when he collapsed as a result of the stress he was under. A carpenter happened to be close by and saved his life. The carpenter had left his simple business card, so after Michael got out of the hospital, he decided to reach out to him to thank him.
The carpenter’s name was J. Emmanuel. After thanking him, Michael asked him to build an entertainment center for their home. As they worked together, Michael realized that J is much more than a carpenter. J tells him that over the years he has built more than furniture and cabinets. He has helped people build their lives, careers, and teams. He never planned it that way. It just happened. It was his purpose and he received it. Throughout the book, J shares principles about the greatest success strategies, what he calls “The Way”, and his Heart of Success Model. He tells Michael that “The Way” begins with love and love is the antidote to the fear, busyness, and stress that Michael has been feeling. Michael acknowledges that his life was based on fear, not love, and that he needed to change starting immediately.
Michael had to be away from both work and coaching his daughter’s basketball team as he recovers. During that time, Social Connect loses their largest client. They have just two months to find new clients to replace the revenue loss, or they will need to shut the business down.
J shares three main points of “The Way”, his Heart of Success Model – Love, Serve and Care. He tells Michael that you love, you serve, and you show people you care. It’s the simplest, most powerful and greatest success model of all time.
Michael is committed to implementing the principles of “The Way” at Social Connect. But will this be enough to save Social Connect before their largest client departs?
I enjoyed this story of J mentoring Michael on the principles of love, serve and care, in both his business and his personal life, as J teaches Michael how to be a servant leader.
Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

  1. Once you design your masterpiece, you must be a craftsman in your approach to your life and work.
  2. All success starts with being a craftsman.
  3. Everyone can be a craftsman or craftswoman but not everyone is willing to become one. They don’t want to spend the thousands of hours it takes to master their craft.
  4. Life and success are about what you choose to believe. It’s easy to believe things will be great when everything is going well, but the true test of your faith is what you believe when you are facing seemingly insurmountable challenges.
  5. Your optimism today will determine your level of success tomorrow.
  6. The more you focus on love in each moment and each day, the more fear fades away.
  7. You cannot be a craftsman unless you are putting your love into the work that you do.
  8. Only through love will you create a masterpiece.
  9. True success isn’t about money or possessions. It’s about people, commitment, loyalty, and relationships.
  10. In the end we won’t be measured by our bank accounts, sales numbers, wins and losses, or the size of the company we built, but by the difference we made in people’s lives—and we make a difference through relationships.
  11. If we make time to invest in our relationships and spend quality time with our family, friends, and colleagues, we will dramatically improve the quality of our lives and careers.
  12. Real leaders, great leaders, become powerful by serving others and giving their power away with love. Only by serving can you become truly great!
  13. Your greatness as a leader will not be determined by how much power you accumulate. It will be determined by how much you serve and sacrifice for others to help them become great.
  14. Great leaders don’t succeed because they are great. They succeed because they bring out the greatness in others.
  15. When you care about the work you do and show people you care about them, you stand out in a world where most don’t care.
  16. If you want to be successful you must show you care about the work that you do.
  17. When you care, you will inspire others to care.
  18. Caring is the ultimate success building strategy.
  19. Failure can be a gift if you don’t give up and are willing to learn, improve, and grow because of it.
  20. No challenge can stop you if you have the courage to keep moving forward in the face of your greatest fears and biggest challenges. Be courageous.
  21. The key to becoming a powerful success builder is to make a difference to one person, one moment at a time. You do it each day, with each person, in each moment, as part of each interaction, and over time you powerfully impact a lot of people.
  22. Don’t focus on building your business. Focus on using your business to Love, Serve, Care, and build others up. If you do this, your business will build and multiply exponentially.”
  23. Two thousand years ago there was no separation between someone’s work life and spiritual life. Now we separate them and wonder why people are so miserable. Work is meant to be a spiritual experience, not a daily chore and a grind. All work is sacred.
  24. You aren’t a true success unless you are helping others be successful. Success is meant to be shared.
  25. The success you create now is temporary, but the legacy you leave is eternal.