Dr. James Coyle’s creative analogies, acronyms and anecdotes help readers “get to a better place” in life as they spend a little time each day in this year-long devotional.
In Tools for Life, Coyle covers a plethora of topics, from self-discipline and communication to battling fear and overcoming depression. Using his background as a trauma counselor, he devotes significant space to surviving loss, be it financial, relationships, health, or the death of a loved one.
Coyle expertly incorporates analogies to convey his messages. One repeated theme relates life to driving a car during a storm. He explains that “the rearview mirror reflects where [we] have been, while the windshield shows where [we] are going” and encourages readers to focus on what’s ahead. He also compares making choices to listening to the howling of good or bad wolves, etc. Nearly every entry contains a visually descriptive story to underscore concepts and keep readers interested.
Coyle’s writing style is relaxed, with numerous creative acronyms (e.g. F.E.A.R. = False Expectations Appearing Real) to make concepts easy to remember. Christian readers will appreciate the Bible passages that support claims. For example, in one entry Coyle discusses the condition of one’s heart, likening a sick heart to a deep well full of polluted water. He ends the devotional with Psalm 51:10 asking God to “create a pure heart in me.” Such verses breathe an air of hope and encouragement into the devotions.
While not every entry is earth-shatteringly profound —some are mere trivia or simple poetry— Coyle presents plenty of new ideas. There’s some repetition throughout (“the average adult makes 35,000 choices each day” shows up at least five times), which can be bothersome, but typographical and grammatical errors are minimal, making for an easy read.
Overall, Coyle offers unique insight into effectively handling life’s struggles. He may be just the life coach readers seek to help them climb out of a rut and get moving in a positive direction.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.