Book Review: Open

By | October 7, 2013

I had previously read one other book by author Craig Gross. While I thought it was good, I was still uncertain what to expect from his new book “Open“. As it turns out, I wasn’t disappointed.

“Open” is about accountability, at least primarily. I have the impression that the word “accountability” has a negative connotation for some people. Craig addresses these concerns in the book. While I haven’t had negative experiences with accountability, I also haven’t really seen it practiced well. Craig does a good job of painting the picture of what healthy accountability looks like.

The reason the book is called “Open” is because the foundational idea here is to live honestly. This doesn’t mean we share our private lives publicly, but it does mean that we have people in our lives with whom we can be completely honest. In this way, “Open” is in part about deep friendship and intimacy.

I am also reminded of one of the themes in a couple of other books I read recently, “Hiding from Love” and “Out of the Shadows“. In both they talk about how many people hide certain parts of themselves from everyone, sometimes even themselves. This isn’t necessarily conscious. But this hiding always creates problems, though the manifestations often seem unrelated, making the root problem difficult to recognize. In any case, a basic need we all have is to be loved and accepted even despite the parts of us which we think are bad and unlovable. But in order to be wholly loved, we have to be open. And this book encourages us to walk in that direction, giving some guidance on figuring out who to share with.

A main goal of being open and accountable is to help us be better people than we can be on our own. It’s not about judging and condemning failures—that’s actually harmful. It is about encouraging one another and pushing each other to reach the goals we set for ourselves. Craig compares it to training for marathons and triathlons for example.

Overall, I think Craig does an excellent job of covering the subject of accountability, painting a picture of what it is and what it isn’t. He also gives good practical advice—as much so as is possible—about how to get accountable.

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