The Joy Model: A Step-By-Step Guide To Peace, Purpose, And Balance, by Jeff Spadafora
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.]
It is somewhat common in our contemporary world for business coaches or life coaches of one stripe or another to write books promoting their own techniques for developing personal growth . In some cases the experience and insight of the author is distilled into works that inform, entertain, and inspire the reader to undertake efforts of worthwhile personal change. At other times the books are less than the sum of their parts, where the author offers some insight and has something worthwhile to say but ends up seeking to demonstrate his (or her) own originality or creativity rather than genuinely seek to serve the best interests of the reader. When one has read enough of these books one gets the intuition to figure out which of the types of books one is reading, and this book falls into the latter category of books that come with a great deal of hype and promise but end up feeling a bit empty, like an intellectual meal full of empty calories that just lacks a certain something that would make it truly savory and filling. That is not to say that something cannot or should not be learned from this book, only that I was somewhat disappointed upon reading it.
The contents of this book proceed as one would expect with a book that first seeks to prompt discontent with the way things are in one’s life and then purports to solve that discontent with a clever mnemonic device that contains several steps with some sort of acrostic title. This book falls clearly into that cliche, starting with four chapters that discuss how we got to where we are, what sort of smoldering discontent we have, reveal our frustration, and point out what is wrong. After this, the author spends the next six chapters giving his “master” plan on how to deal with these frustrations and dissatisfaction and live in joy through living with margins that make room for change, encouraging the reader to abide with the Holy Spirit, have a sense of self-awareness and a knowledge of one’s identity, treasure what is worthwhile and not be consumed with envy, engage with the outside world, and develop our greatest God-given gifts of relationships. The last chapter of the book gives a plug for the reader to find a life coach like the author, making this book a bit unseemly in having a salesy touch about it.
Perhaps my dissatisfaction and discontent about the book springs from the fact that it talks about areas of obvious importance and legitimate difficulty of life in a way that makes it appear as if the author is looking to profit from it himself more than actually help the reader of the book. The combination of accurate diagnosis of societal problems that afflict many people, including myself, very deeply, such as struggles with having enough time for rest and reflection, with having deep and productive relationships full of honest and kind communication, and engaging properly with the outside world with a self-serving approach that appears to have been written with the self-interest of the author in mind makes this book seem manipulative and even a bit predatory. Again, if one wishes to read this book, the six chapters of the master plan are in fact quite worthy of reading and applying to oneself, but this book fails in the author’s ultimate purpose of providing legitimacy to his work as a life coach because the book was written too much for the author and not nearly enough for the reader.
 See, for example: