Book Review: “Create vs. Copy” by Ken Wytsma


A few years ago I was invited to do a review for a book from an author I had never heard of, but the subject was an important one to me, so I read it. The book was called Pursuing Justice by Ken Wytsma and it turned out to be hands down the best book I have ever read on the subject of justice (you can find that review HERE), and it is no question a must read on the subject.

So, when I was recently invited to review Wytsma’s newest book Create vs. Copy, I was more than happy to get involved.

Wytsma who lives in Bend, Oregon wears many hats on top of being an author (his other books include: Pursuing Justice & The Grand Paradox). He is the founder of the Justice Conference, the founding pastor of Antioch Church, and the president of Kilns College.

Create vs. Copy is divided into two parts: the theology of creativity and the practice of creativity. To be clear this book is not just for those who consider themselves to be “creative” or “artistic”, it is for anyone and everyone who wants to live out their God given calling to create and make a redemptive difference in all corners of life from your home, to your neighborhood, to your business, to your church, to your band, the list goes on and on.

I especially appreciated chapter six on imagination & innovation and chapter seven on intentional creativity. Wytsma breaks down imagination into three different categories, including: comprehensive imagination, artistic imagination, and practical imagination; and the role that each of those forms takes in innovating. He then illustrates with his own family how when our values guide the whole creative process (imagination / intentional creativity / innovation) it can create beautiful and life giving environments.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • If we are born to create, innovation isn’t just about harnessing creativity – it’s actually about restoring creativity to its rightful place at the heart of all we do. (p. 18)
  • Creativity is one way we manifest and exercise the image of God…When people say, “I don’t have a creative bone in my body.” not only is it untrue, it’s denying the image of God in us. (p. 26 & 27)
  • We need redemptive creativity – creativity that aims not just for success, but freedom; and not just for ourselves, but for others and for the good of creation as a whole. (p. 61)
  • When God redeems, He breathes life into what was dead – and that is the eternal project to which we are called to lend our own creative efforts. (p. 163)

Create vs. Copy is a great book that can be read individually or with a group or team. Every chapter ends with reflection questions and some really great interactive further study options (ie. videos, recommended books, articles…). I knew this book did its job inspiring creativity and innovation when by the time I was reading the last couple of chapters I was jotting down notes not just for this review, but also notes on new ideas I was coming up with for being a better leader in my home and thoughts on trying new ways of leading and experiencing weekly church worship gatherings. I would definitely recommend this book.

You can watch a trailer for Create vs. Copy HERE.

You can order Create vs. Copy from HERE.

If you would like to follow Ken Wytsma on Twitter, his handle is: @kjwytsma.


Book Review: “Eleven Rings” by Phil Jackson

11 rings

Eleven Rings by Phil Jackson is an outstanding book on Phil’s playing and coaching career in the NBA. As someone who loves the NBA and grew watching Phil win these championship rings as a coach, this book was incredibly interesting to me and very difficult to put down.

No coach in any of the major professional sports has won as many championships as Phil Jackson has. Phil has also had the privilege of coaching a few of the NBA’s all time greatest players in: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal (not to mention the long list of other all star and hall of fame players). With that kind of resume there is no question that Jackson would be a treasure trove of wisdom and leadership insights.

Since I grew up watching the Bulls and Lakers win these rings, it was fascinating to read about everything that was going on behind the scenes. Learning about how each of his teams functioned and how Jackson would need to continually adapt his coaching style and strategy was very interesting. This book is a convincing illustration of how great leaders must continually evolve and grow to remain an effective leader. Even when the group of people you lead remain the same, the outside factors in life are always changing which requires leaders to always be aware of: how they are leading, who they are leading, and what they leading their team through and to.

All the hype about Phil comparing Michael and Kobe in this book was a bit overblown by the media. Jackson definitely compares the two, but it is not as scandalous as the media has made it out to be. And after all, does anyone really question whether or not Michael is the greatest player to ever play the game of basketball?

Eleven Rings is such a great book and I would highly recommend it to leaders of any field and then of course to anyone who is a fan of the NBA.

Here are some of my favorite leadership quotes from the book:

After years of experimenting, I discovered that the more I tried to exert power directly, the less powerful I became. I learned to dial back my ego and distribute power as widely as possible without surrendering final authority. Paradoxically, this approach strengthened my effectiveness because it freed me to focus on my job as keeper of the team’s vision. (p. 12)

The essence of coaching is to get the players to wholeheartedly agree to being coached, then offer them a sense of their destiny as a team. (p. 17)

Oneness is not something you can turn on with a switch. You need to create the right environment for it to grow, then nurture it carefully every day. (p. 84)

(Phil speaking to Kobe) “I guess you’d like to be the captain of this team someday when you’re older – maybe like twenty-five.” He replied that he wanted to be captain tomorrow. To which I said, “You can’t be captain if nobody follows you.” (p. 219)

You’ve got to play to win, not play to avoid losing. (p. 222)

phil jackson