I’ll admit: I pretty much buy and read any new book from Bill Hybels. He’s a great teacher who has a lot of wisdom and I love learning from him. That being said, I think Simplify is one of his better books.
It’s a warm, personal guide filled with practical info on ‘uncluttering your soul’. It’s aimed at anyone who feels ‘exhausted, overwhelmed, and overscheduled’ (which is almost every youth pastor I know…). His goal is not full-on productivity, but ‘full bucket living’ as he calls it—a principle that appealed to me. It’s about what your life would look like if you were well rested, full of energy and connected with God and others.What I loved about this book, was Hybel’s vulnerability. There are not many pastors that ‘size’ who fully admit their mistakes and weaknesses. He does and it speaks to his character. He admits being too direct for instance and having the tendency to overwork—and expect the same from others.
The advice in this book is not unique, but it’s valid and honest. He tackles topics like forgiveness, friendships, your work, your energy, etc. He talks about pruning your friendships for instance and deciding which friendships are worth investing in and which aren’t.
The only chapter I didn’t like was the one about money and finances. Hybels is a bit too quick to condemn having debts, which is easier said than done if you want to go to college these days and your parents don’t have the money to support you, to name just one example. I’m not saying having debt is fine, but there are grey areas here Hybels doesn’t take into account.
Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul is a great book to read and work though with a spouse, friend, or an adult small group. There’s definitely enough content for solid discussions. There’s also a participants guide available I think, but I haven’t read or used that one.