I’ve read two outstanding systems-related books recently. What Are You Going to Do with Your Life? is a new collection of the writings of Rabbi Edwin Friedman. This is the third in a series of Friedman’s writings to be published by Seabury. It includes mostly items that have not been published before, including graduation talks, wedding sermons, diary excerpts and his reflections on the challenges of his own mother’s aging. For those of you familiar with Friedman’s work already, you’ll see the germ of the mature thinker in the earlier writings. This is by far the most personal of the Friedman books. In addition to matters of theoretical interest, I found his writings here to be helpful as I think about relating to both my young adult children and my elderly parents. Don’t miss it.
Second, Ron Richardson (author of Creating a Healthier Church and Becoming a Healthier Pastor) now has another book, aimed at a broader audience. Becoming Your Best: A Self-Help Guide for Thinking People is a clear and readable guide to becoming a more mature human being. Richardson, a pastoral counselor, begins by talking about the importance of character and its importance to emotional maturity. His work is clearly grounded in Bowen Family Systems theory. He writes with tremendous clarity and very little jargon. Richardson uses the novels of Jane Austen to illustrate the importance of character and taking responsibility for self. (I’m a big Austen fan so this is a definite plus for me.) Also highly recommended.