Over the past year I have, as the opportunities have allowed, have worked my way through Eric Metaxas’ book 7 Men and The Secret of Their Greatness. I took this book slow and when I was in the mood for a brief biography this was a great go to book, especially via the audiobook version. Each biography is about 50-60 minutes on the audio book, basically the length of my commute to and from work.
The book includes 7 biographies of men of faith that have had a significant impact on others and society. The list includes George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, Pope John Paul II, and Chuck Colson.
Many of thus are well-known figures, some with movies documenting parts of their stories or journeys. Amazing Grace came out on William Wilberforce, Chariots of Fire on Eric Liddell, and most recently 42 on Jackie Robinson. I recommend all of them.
I personally learned new and significant things about each man that I didn’t know before even though I have been quite familiar with many of these men. I enjoyed all of the brief biographies, but I was particularly encouraged from my learning on the lives of Pope John Paul II and Chuck Colson, who I did not know as much about. These men are quite different in their personalities, gifts, and historical and social contexts. But the faith and integrity demonstrated that showed up tangibly in service to others is quite the powerful common thread to their impact.
I am not typically a “biography” guy, but this was a great way to expose myself further to the lives and examples of these men and leaders, each in contexts that carried such great challenges. I recommend the audiobook, which is my preferred mode to do biographies. It was a great antidote for traffic and long commutes.