Survival Guide for the Soul

Reviewed by: Julia Frontz, a Professional Writing major at Taylor University



Title: Survival Guide for the Soul

Author: Ken Shigematsu

Publisher: Zondervan

Publication Date: 2018

Format: Print book

Length: 210 pages


Ken Shigematsu begins his book Survival Guide for the Soul by explaining we are carrying the burden of achievement, constantly focused on our work and accomplishments. He states that many people feel that they are only loved and valuable if they accomplish big things. However, Shigematsu gently communicates that this is false. Throughout his book, he emphasizes that accomplishment alone will not satisfy us, that our identity is found in Christ, and that we can come to a deeper understanding of the truth that our identity is in Christ. Shigematsu implores his readers to put down the heavy burden of achievement and to take up the love of Christ.

Survival Guide for the Soul is divided into two sections. The first section explains that we have both a Striving Adam and a Soulful Adam. Our Striving Adam is our desire to work and accomplish, and our Soulful Adam is our desire to form a relationship with God and other people. The second part details practical ways to step into our identity as children of God. Shigematsu’s second section focuses on eight spiritual practices that can lead us to focus more fully on Christ. These practices are intended to calm our fear of failure and our tendency to prioritize achievement over everything else. The spiritual practices Shigematsu proposes are meditating, honoring the Sabbath, practicing gratitude, practicing minimalism, serving, encouraging others, finding our vocation, and redefining greatness.

In this book, Shigematsu, who admits to spending years finding his worth in his accomplishments, communicates that our worth and identity are found in our relationship with Christ; in this relationship, we find freedom.  After establishing that we find our freedom in placing our identity in our relationship with God, he gives his readers practical steps they can take in order to actively find their identity in God instead of their accomplishments or failures. Survival Guide for the Soul is a book that inspires a sense of peacefulness; it is a reminder to rest in God instead of resting in what we can accomplish.


Rating (1 to 5)


Suggested Audience

This book would be suitable for young adults and adults. It would be fitting for anyone who is immersed in school or in their work and who often feel that it is difficult to make time for God in the midst of a busy life.

Christian Impact

This book is a reminder to Christians that their worth is not found in their accomplishments and that they are not devalued by their failures.


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Survival Guide for the Soul: How to Flourish Spiritually in a World that Pressures Us to Achieve

About Ceil Carey

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals.

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