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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Book Review: The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews

I’m not someone who likes to read books where the average page has fewer words than a typical greeting card. Those types of overworked, “non-books” tend to have massive graphical treatments, reduced content space, wide borders and large block lettering to take up space.

The Butterfly Effect: How Your Life MattersSuch “visual presentation” elements remind me of a student who’s relying on spatial maneuvers and boundless borders to extend three-pages of actual writing into a research paper that has a 15-page minimum.

Bottom line – such books tend to be a stretch, both figuratively and literally.

That’s exactly what I was expecting when I read Andy Andrews' most recent book titled The Butterfly Effect – How Your Life Matters.

However, I was pleasantly disappointed that my unfair, preconceived bias came to nothing and was completely unfounded!

The “Butterfly Effect” is a scientific concept, which basically states that small nearly imperceptible events occur and are linked together causing massive observable events in the future. The romanticized example is that the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world.

While the idea was initially received with skepticism in the early 1960’s, it has been scientifically proven in certain circumstances and is a key component of current chaos theory. Even so, Andrews re-jiggers the principle and extends its application beyond observable natural phenomena to human actions and his belief that every person matters.

The author uses two separate examples from history, plus a third garnered from his own life as a homeless 20-something, to convey his ultimate point that profundity dwells within the thoughts, actions and existence of each of us.

The book can be read in 30 minutes, yet despite its brevity you get a sense while reading that each word was weighed and carefully chosen for maximum impact. And I found that every page turn added to the next page turn – almost like a butterfly’s wings – unconsciously building and mirroring within me the very Butterfly Effect the author describes.

After reading Andrews’ exceptional piece, I’ve learned several things including the fact that I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, its brevity or by the flourishing visual aesthetic on every page. Additionally, the true value of a book is its impact on the reader, and The Butterfly Effect – How Your Life Matters has had a profound lingering impact on this reader.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their [...] book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. I must say, this does sound interesting. Makes me want to go hunt it down just so I can see what in the world you are talking about. haha Interesting concepts for sure. You have definitely gotten me both curious, as well as interested in what words lie between the front and back covers of that book. Sounds like a good, but also important read. Thanks for sharing your review.

  2. @Laura, I greatly appreciate your comments and perspective. This book was a FAST read - but worth every minute. It builds to profound points that linger.