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Review: Fred 2.0 gives business tools built on Christian principles


Twelve years ago, Mark Sanborn, a motivational speaker on leadership development, introduced us to Fred Shea, a postal worker who passionately loves his job and genuinely cares about the people he serves.

Sanborn’s real-life account of Shea, “The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary,” became a best-seller — and inspired a movement of giving extraordinary service and seeing value in relationships by “Freds” across America.

Mark Sanborn. Fred 2.0: New Ideas on How To Keep Delivering Extraordinary Results. Carol Stream, Ill. Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. 182 pages.Seeking to follow up on the success of “The Fred Factor,” Sanborn released “Fred 2.0: New Ideas on How to Keep Delivering Extraordinary Results.” In his latest work, Sanborn continues to promote the “Fred” principles of making a difference, focusing on relationships, and adding value in your job. Both books are invaluable tools for businesses built on a Christian foundation.

“Fred 2.0” assumes the reader is acquainted with “The Fred Factor” and its principles, though Sanborn does provide some summary information. He updates the reader on the real-life Fred and shares typical core principles you would expect in a self-help book — passion, discipline, commitment and creativity.

Though Sanborn doesn’t expressly connect them to Christ, the Fred principles are rooted in Jesus’ teachings of living by the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12) and going the extra mile (Matthew 5:41).

The book delivers on its subtitle by providing new ideas on how to inspire Fred-like behavior. In some ways, it serves as a manual for business leaders, school administrators and community leaders on how to impart and incorporate the Fred principles. Sanborn dedicates individual chapters to being a Fred leader, building a team of Freds, raising a Fred Jr. and creating a community of Freds.

Sanborn’s style involves sharing inspirational stories of Freds in the workplace who are making an extraordinary difference and then sharing lists of how the reader can put into practice the core principles at work in these Freds.

Some parts of the book read like a series of blog posts, which at times are a little dry and overwhelming. Also, readers who are familiar with inspirational books on business may not find much new information here but will find refreshers on tried-and-true principles.

For me, the book was an easy read that served as a reminder of the usefulness and simple approach of the Fred philosophy. This volume adds to that philosophy and helped spark a renewed interest in using the “Fred” approach to teach others about extraordinary living.

Josh Ketchum | In PrintReaders who aren’t interested in the Fred paradigm of teaching and living — and those who haven’t read “The Fred Factor” — likely won’t find this volume interesting. There isn’t enough unique content here for this volume to stand alone, but it has lots of reminders and good suggestions.

Josh Ketchum preaches for the Seven Oaks Church of Christ in Mayfield, Ky. Read more reviews and commentaries on faith at his blog, “Life in the Kingdom: Seeking the Reign of Jesus in our Lives.”

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