That’s why it’s worth sitting up and taking notice when Piper writes what he does about Matt Perman’s new book, What’s Best Next (Zondervan, 2014).
This book is simply extraordinary.
This is largely because of the way God has wired Matt Perman. His mind is saturated with biblical truth, and he is passionate, sometimes to a fault (as you will see in his personal stories), about being effective for the glory of Christ.
Those two traits have combined to produce a God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated book that, without blinking, gets into stuff like Al Mohler’s midnight productivity and Seth Godin’s method for carving out time for work that matters.
I doubt there is a person on the planet who knows both theological issues and time-management literature to the depth and extent Matt Perman does. This combination is at times mindboggling.
Of course I am totally biased—not dishonest, I hope, but biased. I’ve known Matt as his teacher, pastor, colleague, and friend for almost fifteen years. From hundreds of interactions on all kinds of issues, my judgment is this: Here is a theological mind that keeps pace with the best. Almost without fail, a conversation with Matt about any biblical or theological issue proves fruitful.
I’m also biased because I view his book as a colossal effort to push Christian Hedonism—the theology I have trumpeted for 40 years—into all the corners of life. In fact, Matt told me in an email at the last minute, “In a real sense, this book is really about the horizontal dimension of Christian hedonism.” Yes. That’s what I thought.
Which means that the book is really about how to be so satisfied in God that the power of this joy is released “to love people better in the midst of the current, very challenging environment of our modern, technological, constantly interrupted knowledge work era.”
Matt says, “This book is also for those who do not share my faith perspective.” If you doubt that a God-besotted book can be useful to a secular person, consider that Rick Warren’s multi-million-copy-selling Purpose Driven Life begins, “It’s not about you. . . . If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.” Matt’s book takes that truth and gives it flesh for the sake of getting best things done.
So I am happy to entice all kinds of people to this book. There are surprising tastes everywhere. Like: “The only way to be productive is to realize we actually don’t have to be productive.” “This book is also for screw-ups and failures!” “Serving is exciting. It’s like steak, not broccoli.” “Gospel-Driven Productivity is about . . . bringing the gospel to all nations.” “Productivity is the only long-term solution to world poverty.” “Productivity is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.” “The most important principle for being productive is Bible reading and prayer, before the day begins, every day.” “Surfing the internet for fun at work makes you more productive, not less.” “Productive things are things that pass muster at the final judgment—and hence receive the verdict ‘eternally productive.'”
May God give this book wings for the glory of Christ and for the good of the world; and may it bring a blessing back on Matt Perman’s head with wholeness and joy in every corner of his life.
Here is my comment on what Matt has accomplished:
I have been learning from Matt Perman for nearly twenty years, and I am eager for leaders around the world to benefit from his work the way that I have. To my knowledge, there is no one writing today who has thought more deeply about the relationship between the gospel and productivity. You will find in these pages a unique and remarkable combination of theological insight, biblical instruction, and practical counsel that would change the world if put into practice. I could not recommend it more highly.
You can read online for free the other endorsements, the preface, the introduction, the table of contents, and the first chapter (PDF).
Final comment: if you’re still not convinced, check out this review from Matt Heerema, who runs a web design company:
If you read only one book this year, it should be What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman. Yes I mean that.
The aim of the book is “to reshape the way you think about productivity and then present a practical approach to help you become more effective in your life with less stress and frustration, whatever you are doing.” And the book delivers.
Stop everything and read it.
If you read this book, and put into practice the things contained within, you’ll be able to get to other books on your list, and all the other things you put off to make space for reading this book and putting into practice the habits he suggests, and a bunch of other things as well.
You can see his whole review here.