Book Review: Trip Lee – The Good Life
I was grateful to recieve an advanced copy of Trip Lee’s book The Good Life. I’d heard for sometime that he was working on a book and had even considered putting the mic down to pastor full-time (he briefly addresses this in the book). I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical initially. What did Trip really have to say to us that he hasn’t on his four albums?
Little did I know, that I was in for a pleasant surprise. Once I cracked open the book, I couldn’t put it down. I finished the 170-page book in less than 24 hours. It’s not only a good read, but it’s also a quick read.
Quick Summary: The world and even many church leaders have fed us lies about what the good life is. Many assume that it is the pursuit of the American Dream, living a life that feels pleasurable or simply doing what seems right. Trip Lee unpacks the truth of the Gospel by examining what it means to “live by faith in a good God.” That is the good life.
Trip Lee is a Stellar and Dove Award Nominated recording artist signed to Reach Records. Since his first album release, Trip has traveled the world performing for thousands of listeners. The Christ-centered hip-hop message he brings has also built a platform for him among churches and other Christian organizations, which has led to numerous opportunities to preach and teach at conferences and other events. His most recent album The Good Life peaked at #2 on the iTunes Overall charts. This is his first book.
Trip’s Writing Style Sets This Book Apart
Reading The Good Life was like reading an urbanized version of a John Piper, Tim Keller or Francis Chan book. Trip delved to a thought level that he hasn’t previously achieved via his music. Yet, he still utilized anologies, stories and anecdotes that young urban america can relate to. He compared and contrasted God’s Truth with the faulty assertions made in songs by artists like Jay-Z (Money Ain’t a Thing) and Drake (The Motto aka Y.O.L.O). He also used cultural references that folks who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s will readily understand and relate to (Super Mario Brothers, 2Pac, Barbie, etc).
Trip’s music fans will trully appreciate the project as well. He ends each chapter with a verse from a song from The Good Life Album. Each song then coorelates to the content he just discussed and unpacked in the preceding chapter.
The book was also well organized. Each chapter was broken into smaller sections that were typically 3-5 paragraphs in length. I never felt like I was reading long sections of text at once. The Good Life was truly a quick read.
The Good Life in Four Sections
Section I – What is the Good Life?
The ground work for the book was layed out in this section. Trip exposed the lies (Hedonism, All-You-Can-Be-ism, It’s-All-About-me-ism) told by the world and various pastors about the good life. He also very practically explained who God is, what the Good life is and why God desires that we should live this way.
Section II – Keys to the Good Life
The Gospel, the bible and fellowship amongst believers is examined and validated as essential components of the good life. He spent a chapter on each of the aforementioned describing what they are, why every believer should embrace and cherish them as well as the benefits of each.
Section III – How Do I Live the Good Life?
In perhaps the best section of the four, Trip spends 4 chapters discussing the roles that concepts like wealth, stewardship, success, dreams and joy play in the Good Life. Instead of providing a list of rules for those who desire the good life to follow, he explains concepts that are often misunderstood, yet are important elements of our walk with the Lord.
Section IV – What Kind of Good Will God Give Me
This two chapter section began with a discussion of the role faith plays in the good life: what we should expect, how we should respond and the role that suffering will play in the life of a believer. He concludes by considering what the Bible says Heaven will be like and contrasts this with many pop culture references and ideologies of heaven.
Three Chapters That Spoke to Me
Chapter 6 – Good People
Trip opened this chapter with a personal look into his own life. He was struggling to grow past a certain point spiritually, until he embraced true biblical community. (p. 79). Later on, he established why the church was important biblically (p. 81-82) as well as how and why we all must die to the portion of ourselves that wants to hide and not open up to others within the context of community. (p. 84-87)
Chapter 9 – Good Dreams
Early in the chapter, Trip defined how we should measure success (p. 116) which is also a personal battle of mine. He also discussed why we should dream dreams that glorify God with our good works (p. 119). He even touched on his own dream of one day “stepping away” from his artistic career to fulfill God’s call on his life to Pastor (p. 121)
Appendix – Sharing the Good Life with Others
I actually thought this should have been a full-fledged chapter as it provided an excellent way to close the book. As the title suggests, the reader is empowered to share The Good News of Jesus as part of living the good life. Trip also challenges us to view the people we work with, go to school with and interact with as persons with eternal souls who need to hear about our savior. (p. 161)
One Caution as You Read This Book
This book is not a 10-step plan to live the good life. If you approach the book looking for that, you will be disappointed. Instead, The Good Life is a foundational book that will anchor you in your faith and paint a broad picture of what the good life really is and why we should desire to live it.
Two Things I Didn’t Like
As previously mentioned, I thought the appendix should have been a full-fledged chapter. While it does technically end the book, the tendency with many people is to ignore an appendix, unless it is directly tied to another chapter. The Good Life’s appendix definitely stood on its own as a separate thought process. In it, Trip did a superb job of challenging the reader to take action upon completing the book.
While a 10 step plan would have been cliche, I do believe more practical advice on how to actually live the good life would have added additional value. Short anecdotes on prayer, bible study or even practical examples of community would have been great additions. While I’m very sensitive to the importance of defining the good life to this generation, practical application would have moved this book from good to great or maybe even classic.
I’d recommend this book to pretty much everybody, Christian or Non-Christian, that I know. This book will serve as a wake-up call for most. Even in many “solid churches” most people think of the good life as a synoynm for the American Dream or to be all you can be. Trip does an excellent job of debunking that myth by clarifying the Biblical model for his readers.
For fans of Trip Lee the rapper, this may be the beginning of the end for you. Trip has the chance to become a better author than he is a rapper. His passion for making that transition is evident throughout this work and I anticipate the Lord using The Good Life to open new doors for him. Its rare that a 24 year-old can write something this truthful and culturally relevant. Shout out to Moody Publishers for responding to the need to bring biblical truth from an urban perspective to the marketplace.
The Good Life hits stores October 1.
To Download a Free Chapter of The Good Life, visit the book’s website.
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