Book Review: The Noticer by Andy Andrews

Andy Andrews is a master story-teller, a modern blend of Will Rogers, Paul Harvey, and Garrison Keillor. He is one of the few people I have ever met who is both a compelling writer and an incredible speaker.

3d cover of the noticer by andy andrews

Andy is also a “noticer.” He sees things that others miss and extracts from those observations simple but profound wisdom. This was the secret behind his first book, The Traveler’s Gift, which is the only book I have published in my career that hit all four major New York Times bestseller lists: fiction, non-fiction, advice, and business. The editors at the Times just couldn’t seem to figure out how to categorize Andy’s work.He went on to write several other wonderful books, including The Lost Choice, Island of Saints, and Mastering the Seven Decisions. All of them were excellent, but none of them attained the success of the first book. I am not sure why—I guess this is just part of the mystery of publishing.

His newest book is called The Noticer. The official publication date is tomorrow, April 28. After finishing it, I had the same feeling I had when I read The Traveler’s Gift—this one is going to be a bestseller! Judging by the comments we have already received from our book review bloggers, I am not alone in my assessment. In fact, as of yesterday, all of the readers on Amazon have given the book a five-star rating.

The Noticer is part auto-biographical, part fiction, and all inspiring. It is the story of “Jones,” a mysterious old man who has a knack for showing up at just the right time in people’s lives. He notices stuff—stuff that they miss. And he gives them the one thing we all so often need: perspective.

Among Jones’ observations:

  • “Remember, what you focus on increases.” (p. 13)
  • “It’s time to stop letting your history control your destiny.” (p. 13)
  • “People are either in a crisis, coming out of one, or headed for one.” (p. 31)
  • “Worry is just imagination used in an unproductive way.” (p. 51)
  • “Wisdom is the ability to see the future consequences of our choices.” (p. 65)
  • “It takes wisdom to discern that oh-so-thin line between good and best.” (p. 65)
  • “Many of life’s treasures remain hidden because we never search for them.” (p. 83)
  • “If you are still here, then you have not completed your life’s purpose.” (p. 83)
  • “Big stuff is made up of small stuff, so you better sweat the small stuff!” (p. 103)
  • “We often judge ourselves by our intentions but others by their actions.” (p. 111)
  • “If you want folks to believe in you, then it really helps if they like you.” (p. 136)
  • “Life is a little like dessert. Keep your fork; the best is yet to come!” (p. 149)
  • “In desperate times, much more than anything else, folks need perspective.” (p. 154)

This is just a sample of the distilled wisdom from some fascinating stories. Honestly, I couldn’t put the book down.

Moreover, this is the perfect book for our times. Given the current economic challenges, we could all use a big dose of perspective. The Noticer provides it. I highly recommend it.

Update: Here are all the book reviews we have compiled for The Noticer from bloggers who participate in our Book Review Blogger program.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/JimMartin JimMartin

    I am half-way through THE NOTICER. Today, I will be ordering a copy for each of my children. The book is full of practical, street level wisdom. The book is well written and compelling.

    Sometimes, I will read a book and later wonder why I read it. Or, I will read a book and give it a mixed review. I am glad to be reading THE NOTICER. The book is a good investment of my time. I am better off for having read it.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I had a similar response. I kept thinking of all the people that I wanted to read the book.

  • http://lynnrush.wordpress.com/ LynnRush

    Okay, I'm so going to get The Noticer. It sounds like a fantastic book.

    I Love this quote: “If you are still here, then you have not completed your life’s purpose.”

    Wow.

    ;-)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      That whole section, from which the quote is pulled, is really fantastic. I am heard Andy speak on this topic. It is incredibly inspirational.

  • Teri D. Smith

    Wow, those tidbits of wisdom make me want to read the book!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/mvivas mvivas

    I'm reading it on my Kindle2 and I am flying through it. I have highlighted lots of great quotes. I do agree that many times we blow things out of proportion and we just need a little perspective. For example, today all the news we are getting is fear of the swine flu. I live in Queens and though it's alarming about the 8 cases not to far from my home, I think the media is making people scared. I refuse to live in fear. I am aware and will keep my radars up, but I will not live in fear.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I TOTALLY agree. The media are all about getting eyeballs. The more sensationalistic the better.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Beaconhillnw Jim

    i'll check it out

  • http://billycoffey.blogspot.com Billy Coffey

    I've been reading quite a few blogs that have highlighted this book, so I decided to come over here to see what all the fuss is about. Glad I did. Loved those quotes, and I'll be in line at the bookstore tomorrow.

    Yes, we could all use a little perspective in these times. And quite a bit of hope, too.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

    I think you hit the nail on the head—perspective and hope. This book offers a big dose of both!

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/ServingHim ServingHim

    Mr. Hyatt,__I'm curious after receiving MORE of the reviews today…how would you respond to the MANY reviewers who have pointed out plagerism by Mr. Andrews. (i.e. using the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman) And the fact that there are SERIOUS theological problems from a Christian/Biblical perspective? If you read the negative reviews…they are truly the only grounded reviews that base their opinions not on "fluff"…but on real world Christian theology. You can tell people what they WANT to hear all you want…you do them no good. Jesus told people what they NEED to hear…NOT what they want to hear…but I guess that's why people turned away from Him…I guess He wouldn't have been picked up by a publisher because He wouldn't have sold many books. It's a good thing we have the Bible…it is used often by authors like Andy Andrews…except that it's twisted and used for profit. Incredibly saddening. I would assume it would disturb any Christian following after Christ.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      First of all, Andy credits Gary Chapman in the front of the book. Second, it would be inappropriate to cite this in the actual text, because this is fiction. Third, I learned a long time ago that you can't satisfy the Pharisees. People find what they are looking for.

  • Dan

    I haven't read the book yet, so i cant comment on its greatness or otherwise. I did read the reviews though and was a bit disturbed by the negative reviews. They all seem to say the same thing. These reviews are worth Noticing (no pun intended). And your comment Mr Serving Him is spot-on. There is a great danger of falling into the trap of telling people what they want to hear. As a budding writer myself, i often start my writing projects by asking "what do people want to read?". As logical as it sounds to the budding writer who wants to selling gazillions of books, its a dangerous route to take when writing spiritual books. But then, maybe The Noticer, is not a spiritual book but a self-help book. When viewed in this regard, then it may be a great book.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      It is a great book. Not every book can present the Gospel in all it's fullness. Jesus told lots of parables that made the Pharisees upset. This is also a parable. From a certain perspective, you can see Jones as a metaphor for the Holy Spirit.

  • http://amysorrells.wordpress.com/2009/04/15/you-rock/ Amy Sorrells

    I was beginning to give up on the over-sensitive, easily overwhelmed parts of myself that come across as neurosis. After reading several reviews of The Noticer, as well as the quotes you list here, I think the only thing that's "wrong" with me is that I am a "noticer," too. Perhaps someday life will become easier for Noicers. Until then, I'll try to be more satisfied with the way God made me, and with the prospect & potential for helping folks around me do just that: notice.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/acetuk acetuk

    The book sounds interesting to me and I would like to investigate it further. I am however also interested in the negative comments that are mentioned above. I haven't had the time to research this further so if anyone can point me at a 'good' negative review (if that makes sense) then I would appreciate it.

    Also as a UK resident I have no access to a Kindle device. I would like to know if there are any options to buy this book as an ebook other than for the Kindle? A quick search on the internet produced no obvious hits although the book is new so I may be looking too soon.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Please see my responses above to some of the criticism. If you look at Amazon, it has most of the reviews, good and bad. I should point out that regardless of the criticism it is minor. It has an average rating of 4 stars out of five. The overwhelming number of review are positive.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

    By the way, this same controversy happened on my wife Gail's blog when she blogged on it earlier this week. She is much more gracious that I. It is worth a read.

  • http://www.iamnotasoccermom.wordpress.com shellee Coley

    I am only two chapters into this book and already my soul has been stirred and my perspective has been shifted. My son is listening to this on audio with me and he said after the first chapter, “Mom, my perspective already feels like it is changing.” HE IS TEN! He struggles with negativity and anger (hereditary) despite our best efforts to point him to the Lord and/or scripture. I think this is putting arms and legs to things he has heard for years… admittedly, it is doing the same for me.

    Just last week before starting this book, we were having some behavioral problems with him and I refrenced the love language concept, asking him how it is that he feels loved the most. He said time spent with us and that he was feeling ignored because I had been sick all week. WOW! I tried to explain the Love Languages to him, but he couldn’t quite grasp it! So the timing of this book is perfect in that I can use it as a beautiful object lesson for something he is having a hard time wrapping his mind around.

    Also, my husband and I read the Love Language book during our first year of marriage and it was very valuable to us at the time, but I fear we have lost some of the purpose behind the intent of that concept. I am glad to have a reminder of it’s values in story form and from a life perspective. Most people learn best from other people’s experiences anyway. (wait– I think I stole that from this book)

    Anyway, just wanted to share my experience on the “unofficial” review site for the Noticer. Thanks for opening your blog up to this discussion…and Andy, if you are reading. Once again, you have inspired my family to the action of NOT NORMAL!

    xoxo
    Shellee

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

    This is a great story, Shellee. Thanks for dropping by to share it.

  • Judi

    I have almost every one of Andy Andrew's books and can't wait to get this one also. He is my favorite author and I was privileged to hear him speak at two seminars I attended – he's an incredible speaker also. With humor, wit, intelligence, enthusiasm and common-sense, he captivated the audience from his very first words.

    There will always be negative people (maybe they need his books the most!), but he writes fictional parables, which can definitely change a reader's thinking and perspective (just like those of Jesus). Just as with any parable in the Bible or other book, you need to think about it and what it means to you, act on it and make it a part of your life in order to gain the most benefit.

    Thank you Andy. I can't wait to get a copy, which I'm sure will be another of my favorites!
    Judi

  • Pastor John

    I haven't read any reviews except the one above. Based solely on it, I will neither get the book nor encourage my congregation to read it. Here's why: in a review by a Christian publisher comprising almost 550 words, and citing 12 quotations from the book, there is not a single reference to God, the Gospel, or Holy Scripture. That's very disturbing to me. If a book is Christ-centered and biblically-driven, one might think that fact would be noted by the publisher. The fact that it is not so noted says to me that it must not be Christ-centered and biblically-driven.
    Moreover, the review makes it sound as if the book could have been written by Oprah or Dr. Phil.

    I find it increasingly sad that so many Christian publishing houses are putting out so many books that are distinctively biblical. Apparently this is just one more example. If saying these things earns me the derogation of "Pharisee," then I guess I'll just have to consider the source.

    Hope this doesn't offend you, Mr. Hyatt. It's not my intention.

    • http://www.paulallendesign.com Paul

      NOTICE when people only state what their intentions are not. So interesting.

      And now perhaps one of the most telling quotes that I have ever read: "I find it increasingly sad that so many Christian publishing houses are putting out so many books that are distinctively biblical." Yikes.

      WHO could possibly find increasing sadness over Christian publishing houses putting out books that are distinctively biblical? Gracious.

      • Pastor John

        Paul,

        Yep, that's what I wrote, but I left out the word "NOT." I couldn't find any place to edit my comment, so I posted a reply to it, with the correction. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

  • Pastor John

    I meant "so many books that are NOT distinctively biblical."

  • http://chazdesimone.com Chaz DeSimone

    SURF – how appropriate! That's the code (well, something similar) I was given to get the downloads after purchasing The Noticer today. I am a beach lover most of all, and was thrilled to get that as my password.
    I have been a fan of Andy Andrews since I was asked to design one of his book covers. (I am also a fan the THE Robert D. Smith! In fact, a mutual friend, Jared Kessler, won my Twitter logo giveaway; I will design his next logo.)
    I am also a fan of Jared McDaniel – the other Jared – the book designer for Andy's works. His talent is incredible, especially since he's so young. He "feels" the art typographic excellence. (I actually lived it – spilling galleys of handset type!) He has done a stellar job with The Noticer.
    I am happy to follow you on Twitter. (@chazgfxdesigner)

  • Courtney

    i loved the book. i believe that it is beautifully written and very inspiring. i live at the place this book is based and thought it to be wonderful. i met andy and did an interview with him at the local high school. he is absolutely great! i read the noticer in one day and loved it! it really makes you think and i believe that i have changed since reading it. every time something bad happens i just think to myself 'what is your perspective?' and i look at the bright side of things.
    i believe that everyone should read this book. even if it is not the type of thing you read on a day to day basis. and i find it funny that you can not really find negative comments, because there is really nothing negative to say about it!
    and for all of you who say that it's not religiously based, half of this book is his life story! this really did happen to him! he did meet a man named jones and he influenced him to set his life better. now look at him, he has multiple books out and has a wife and family :]

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1581314923 Deanna Patz

      I agree this book was GREAT!!! It really makes you look at life in a different light!

  • http://www.increase-pr.com/blog Woodrow Wilson

    Thanks for your review.I will check it out.

  • http://www.tpservice.org/blog mathew

    I love this book very much.Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1581314923 Deanna Patz

    I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! I think everyone should stop with all the negativity with the biblical aspect of "The Noticer"……my though is read the book get what you get from it BECAUSE not all people can read the same paragraph and get the same message from it . I think people can get encourgment for everyday life living experiances!! ENJOY!

  • Monica

    I absolutely loved this book! My aunt gave it to me and told me it was a must read! I put it off for a while, but then late one night I decided to pick it up. I didn't put it down until I was finished. I has changed the way I've looked at small everyday occurrences. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who isn't exactly 100% happy with how their lives are or even if you think you're life's perfect. This book will definitely change your "perspective"

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