The People Factor: How Building Great Relationships And Ending Bad Ones Unlocks Your God-Given Purpose, by Van Moody
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Booksneeze/Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.]
At the beginning of this book the author wisely comments that few people read relationship books if their relationships are going well or easily. Certainly no one who reads my blog or knows me in person would presume that relationships are an easy matter for me. On the contrary, one of the constant factors of my life have been difficulties with relationships, particularly in my own judgment of others and my own ability to handle and manage situations, or decide which ones are worth getting involved with in the first place. For those who are conscientious and decent people but perhaps not very skilled in relationships, this book is a mostly excellent guide to assessing and managing relationships of all kinds, whether friendships, business partnerships, or romantic relationships, told from a perspective that combines the business perspective of a John Maxwell  as well as mostly sound biblical insights .
The first section of this book, which takes up almost 2/3 of the material, is a series of laws about relationships that are sensible and reasonable principles to address in relationships. These principles include: the law of being real (authenticity), the law of mutual benefit (good relationships must be good for all parties), the law of agreement (there must be likemindness about issues of character and integrity), the law of letting go (the past must be released for the future to be reached), the law of selectivity (you can’t be close friends with everyone), the law of sacrifice (everyone has to give), the law against secrets (honesty and openness and transparency is essential), the law of true value (people cannot be judged on mere surface appearance or visibility), the law of loyalty (people must be on your side), and the law of constructive transition (people have to deal with a change in the relationship). I would like to think that I am at least somewhat decent in this regard, in following these ten laws of relationships.
Where I struggle is in the principles in the second and third parts of the book. The second part of the book is made of three chapters that deal with knowing how and when to end an unhealthy relationship, how to recognize who is in one’s life for the long haul and who is a temporary friend, and how to have healthy relationships with unhealthy people (through preserving a sense of distance). One warning the book makes is one I know very well from painful personal experience, and that is that a relationship based on common interests as well as common life experiences is not necessarily a good foundation for a solid relationship. The third part of the book closes with two chapters on understanding the process and development of great relationships through time and good communication that builds up trust by showing character and integrity as well as the issue of lovesickness, which the author views as being due to expecting from other people (particularly romantic partners) that which can only be provided by God.
This book is, aside from some minor flaws, an excellent book in terms of its combination of personal stories (including the very relatable fear of following in the mistakes of one’s family history), mostly sound biblical commentary (including a lot of very thoughtful examination of why the sin of David against Uriah was worse than of David against Bathsheba), as well as a wide degree of relevance for a wide variety of relationships. There are a lot of us who have pretty tough history when it comes to relationships, but becoming better people and developing better judgment can be learned, and anything that can help reduce the amount of painful experience that it takes to succeed at relationships is worth at least some time and reflection. This book certainly provides that task for a Christian audience that is likely to be appreciative of what this book has to offer.
 See, for example:
 I say mostly sound because the author does engage in some speculation as to the motives of John Mark leaving Paul and Barnabas’ party, is far too allegorical in his approach to the Song of Solomon in the book’s most dissatisfying part, the last chapter on lovesickness, and makes a common mistake of assuming that Elisha’s request for a double portion of the Holy Spirit that was in Elijah was requesting double the amount of Holy Spirit rather than the double portion that went to the firstborn son (see also: https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/book-review-greater/). Naturally, those who lack an understanding of biblical law often find it hard to come up with the right conclusions.