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The popular pastor and New York Times bestselling author of Love Wins and What We Talk About When We Talk About God shows us how to pursue and realize our dreams, live in the moment, and joyfully do the things that make us come alive. Each of us was created for something great—we just need to figure out what it is and find the courage to do it. Whether it’s writing the next The popular pastor and New York Times bestselling author of Love Wins and What We Talk About When We Talk About God shows us how to pursue and realize our dreams, live in the moment, and joyfully do the things that make us come alive. Each of us was created for something great—we just need to figure out what it is and find the courage to do it. Whether it’s writing the next great American novel, starting a business, or joining a band, Rob Bell wants to help us make those dreams become reality. Our path is ours and ours alone to pursue, he reminds us, and in doing so, we derive great joy because we are living our passions. How to Be Here lays out concrete steps we can use to define and follow our dreams, interweaving engaging stories, lessons from biblical figures, insights gleaned from Rob’s personal experience, and practical advice. Rob gives you the support and insight you need to silence your critics, move from idea to action, take the first step, find joy in the work, persevere through hard times, and surrender to the outcome. Like Stephen Pressfield’s classic The War of Art, How to Be Here will inspire readers to seek the lives they were created to lead.


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The popular pastor and New York Times bestselling author of Love Wins and What We Talk About When We Talk About God shows us how to pursue and realize our dreams, live in the moment, and joyfully do the things that make us come alive. Each of us was created for something great—we just need to figure out what it is and find the courage to do it. Whether it’s writing the next The popular pastor and New York Times bestselling author of Love Wins and What We Talk About When We Talk About God shows us how to pursue and realize our dreams, live in the moment, and joyfully do the things that make us come alive. Each of us was created for something great—we just need to figure out what it is and find the courage to do it. Whether it’s writing the next great American novel, starting a business, or joining a band, Rob Bell wants to help us make those dreams become reality. Our path is ours and ours alone to pursue, he reminds us, and in doing so, we derive great joy because we are living our passions. How to Be Here lays out concrete steps we can use to define and follow our dreams, interweaving engaging stories, lessons from biblical figures, insights gleaned from Rob’s personal experience, and practical advice. Rob gives you the support and insight you need to silence your critics, move from idea to action, take the first step, find joy in the work, persevere through hard times, and surrender to the outcome. Like Stephen Pressfield’s classic The War of Art, How to Be Here will inspire readers to seek the lives they were created to lead.

30 review for How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    (3.5) Bell left his pastoral role to become a motivational speaker so, unsurprisingly, this book is closer to self-help than theology, though it’s still from a Christian perspective. He’s good pals with Elizabeth Gilbert, in fact, and this book would make a great companion piece to her Big Magic and/or Life’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious by David Dark. It’s about how to find what gets you out of bed in the morning, what the Japanese call your ikigai, and how to live mindfull (3.5) Bell left his pastoral role to become a motivational speaker so, unsurprisingly, this book is closer to self-help than theology, though it’s still from a Christian perspective. He’s good pals with Elizabeth Gilbert, in fact, and this book would make a great companion piece to her Big Magic and/or Life’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious by David Dark. It’s about how to find what gets you out of bed in the morning, what the Japanese call your ikigai, and how to live mindfully so that you’re really experiencing everything that happens to you. He found fresh appreciation for the minutiae of life when he hit his head while waterskiing, but he wants readers to learn to cultivate that kind of awareness without the head injury part. I’ve read all of Bell’s full-length books apart from the one on marriage; this is one of the better ones, though Velvet Elvis is still the best. As always, his formatting – bite-size paragraphs, stretching out phrases with lots of line breaks – is ever so slightly annoying, and I didn’t learn a whole lot. It was more a case of being reminded of things I knew deep down but had let myself forget during the everyday grind (emphasis his): Success says, What more can I get? Craft says, Can you believe I get to do this? Better to have a stomach full of butterflies than to be bored. If your work feels beneath you, or monotonous and meaningless, try giving it everything you have like it’s the only thing you have. He prefaces most chapters with an anecdote about his creative ventures, some of which were utter failures. He’s also good at one-line mantras: “This is where I start” (borrowed from a car rental lady in San Francisco), “Just this” (borrowed from Richard Rohr) and “What is the next right thing?” (which reminds me of Hemingway’s “one true sentence”).

  2. 5 out of 5

    Liz Knowles

    I mean... I finished this book in a day. I've always been a Rob Bell fan and each book challenges me in another way. So much good truth in this book. Well worth reading and it even causes you to look at your life differently.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Patty

    “Do you see your life as something you create? Or do you see your life as something that is happening to you? The blinking line raises a compelling question: What are we here for?” p. 8 Rob Bell came to my attention when he published Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived . Although Bell comes from a different strain of Christianity, I liked Love Wins. It fits my theology. I believe that Jesus of Nazareth came to tell us about God’s love and that any Christ “Do you see your life as something you create? Or do you see your life as something that is happening to you? The blinking line raises a compelling question: What are we here for?” p. 8 Rob Bell came to my attention when he published Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived . Although Bell comes from a different strain of Christianity, I liked Love Wins. It fits my theology. I believe that Jesus of Nazareth came to tell us about God’s love and that any Christian message that does not include love for all is not Christian. So I also had no problems with Bell’s message in the second book I read by him, What We Talk About When We Talk About God . He has moved in his theology to what I interpret is a more loving view of God’s relationship with humans. However, after that I lost track of Bell. His latest book came to my attention thanks to his publisher and Edelweiss. I was browsing the list of books that will be published this spring and this title jumped out at me. I am so glad I got to encounter Bell again. If you are willing to include doubt in your faith life, Bell is a good writer to visit with. He is willing to admit that he doesn't have the final word. This book would be especially helpful if you are considering your life path and what God might have in store for you. I am guessing this may become a popular graduation gift. Thanks for Edelweiss and Harper for letting me read this pre-publication edition. Other books that helped me see my faith in new ways: Disquiet Time: Rants and Reflections on the Good Book by the Skeptical, the Faithful, and a Few Scoundrels Holy Stuff of Life: Stories, Poems, and Prayers about Human Things House of Prayer No 2: A Writer’s Journey Home Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women

  4. 5 out of 5

    Brook

    1) Someone should advise Rob that Elizabeth Gilbert already wrote this book and did it much better. 2) 2 page chapters featuring 2 words per line is not "style", it's laziness 3) this is the literary equivalent of Nickelback. I couldn't be more disappointed.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Camden

    Perfectly average. Short and easy to read like all his books. A collection of stories, metaphors, and examples about living in the present and following your purpose. No practical or concrete advice about how to do this.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    This would have been an excellent essay, but there is not enough here to call it a book. It is repetitive and overly simplistic. I like the ideas, but there are much better ways to get to them. 2.5 stars.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

    I read this book in a day - couldn't put it down. Rob Bell always writes in such an engaging way. His gift of communicating complicated ideas to the masses is unparalleled. This book takes common life themes (such as failure, success, life purpose, etc.) and deconstructs them, carefully shedding light on the real truths of our expectations concerning these matters. Bell writes from an incredibly authentic place, being honest with his own successes and "failures" and makes his own life relatable I read this book in a day - couldn't put it down. Rob Bell always writes in such an engaging way. His gift of communicating complicated ideas to the masses is unparalleled. This book takes common life themes (such as failure, success, life purpose, etc.) and deconstructs them, carefully shedding light on the real truths of our expectations concerning these matters. Bell writes from an incredibly authentic place, being honest with his own successes and "failures" and makes his own life relatable to the reader. Highly recommend!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I listened to the audio-book (read by Rob Bell himself) and I enjoyed it very much. It is uplifting and encouraging, and not just for people who think of themselves as "creatives". Bell wants everyone to recognize their uniqueness and the call on their lives to create a life worth living. Instead of asking "Who am I to do this?" Ask, "Who am I NOT to do this?"

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Read in preparation for a talk that will supposedly be mostly about this book. This book contained exactly one idea new to me: the Japanese word "ikigai".

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elf Asura

    Rob Bell just gets better and better. Try his latest book out and you'll see the Light, expounded in simple and clear language that can communicate to layman and priest-pastor-Pope in a manner bereft of complicated theological speculations, hardened doctrinal coercion or intolerant dogmatic assertions. Reading 'How to be Here', I was reminded of how in 2011, the Evangelical Fundamentalist preacher-teacher John Piper wrote off Rob Bell with his famous "Farewell, Rob Bell" tweet when Bell's promo v Rob Bell just gets better and better. Try his latest book out and you'll see the Light, expounded in simple and clear language that can communicate to layman and priest-pastor-Pope in a manner bereft of complicated theological speculations, hardened doctrinal coercion or intolerant dogmatic assertions. Reading 'How to be Here', I was reminded of how in 2011, the Evangelical Fundamentalist preacher-teacher John Piper wrote off Rob Bell with his famous "Farewell, Rob Bell" tweet when Bell's promo video for his book 'Love Wins' went viral. Piper was only demonstrating the standard position of hatred towards those who do not toe the fundamentalist, right wing line espoused by most Evangelicals and, instead, seek to discover more deeply the Lord of Love who animates the universe. Piper was just asserting, like most fundamentalists do, that 'love does not win, hatred does' and the most powerful demonstration to date of that kind of faith has been the political victories in India and the USA of bigoted hate-mongers like Narendra Modi and Donald Trump, respectively. People like Piper are directly responsible, as much as insane terror groups like the IS and the RSS and the swamis and mullahs behind them, for the rise of such demonic forces in society. But Rob Bell's book tells us how to be creative and fruitful and become whole in precisely the kind of context generated by the hate-mongers. He goes back non-intrusively to the 'beginning' in the book of Genesis, to the notion of ex nihilo, of how something emerges from nothing and how everyone of us has emerged from this 'nothing' so that we can become someone or something unique and be partners in creating and enlarging the scope of LIFE and its wonders on earth. In other words, creation was accomplished ex nihilo and continues and is as yet unfinished and we all have unique roles to play in the ongoing 'play' as partners with G-d. As usual, Rob Bell's book (and I have read most of his books, the first one that grabbed me was Velvet Elvis) is superbly designed. Each chapter begins with an excellent, well considered quote. And then a single, focused idea is enunciated and chapter flows into chapter unraveling the process of being and becoming. To begin with, Bell says every one of us is confronted by 'the blinking line' where the cursor waits for us to dare bring forth something that needs to be brought into existence. The blinking line asks us: What are you here for? Will you dare create something out of nothing? What will your work on or out because 'all work is creative work because all work is participating in the ongoing creation of the world". What about suffering? Death? Disease? Disaster? These too are blinking lines from which you can bring forth something of worth, of value. Breath itself is a gift every moment and so long as you live you can use your breath to affirm that it's still worth it. Suffering and loss can alert and awaken us to the gift that life is, he notes. Boredom. Cynicism. Despair. Beware of these. They can get in the way when the blinking line asks: Who are you to do what you propose to do? That's a brutal but enlightening question, Bell affirms. To do what you dare take a risk to do, you need to 'get out of your head' wherein lie excuses, fears, comparisons, memories of past failures and humiliations and so on. And you have to shed your fear of what 'they' might think or do. Bell cites the example of Peter asking Jesus about John - "And what about him?" Jesus responds: "What is that to you?" Everybody starts again and again with the blinking line or the blank page that asks: Who are you to do this? Can you counter it with "Who am I not to do this?" Bell then introduces us to the Japanese concept of 'ikigai', your reason and purpose for being. Your ikigai is a work in progress involving all the networks of being and becoming that you are involved in. Your ikigai empowers you to try all sorts of things, whether they fail or succeed, whether they bring you fame and money or nobody takes note of you. Are you angry about something and want to do something about it? It's your ikigai egging you on. Some things you do for yourself and that's fine and other things you do help others. How do you get to be 'here'? How do you trust your ikigai which also changes over time? You do it step by step. More often than not, you do not know what step 5 or 10 might be and yet you got to take step 1. Do it and the other steps will follow. This book is not just for those who want to spiritually 'be here now'. It's also for those who embrace creativity. Here one must distinguish between 'success' and 'craft'. Success can suddenly turn sour. Craft leads to love for what you are doing. Beware of 'new fuel', it might run out and then what will you do? Find the craft in all you do. Rob Bell does not mention it, but he is treading very close to the Indian concept of 'sadhana'. To quote the foxy Sadhguru, sadhana is "about using every aspect of life – both internal and external – so that it is a continuous nurturing for your life." Of course, a fundamentalist like John Piper would have never come across terms like ikigai or sadhana even, being ever a frog in his 'gospel pond'. Bell has some cautionary tales too that warn us not to be 'overthinking', to learn how to 'suspend judgement', to be glad that you have butterflies in your stomach (nerves) for they tell you that you are alive, to accept that more often than not we do not know what we have on our hands. In the end, being a creative person, one who lives in the here and now, entails RISK. There's the risk of trying something new and the risk of not trying it. Which path is less risky, he asks koan-like. Risk leads to diving deep and also embracing failure. "Failure is over-rated." It is yet another opportunity to learn. Surrender to what you seek to do. Surrender the outcomes. Reject rejection. The joy is in the work. Does this sound like pop psychology to you? Perhaps. And yet, having followed Rob Bell a long whiles, it becomes increasingly clear to me that he is becoming a master of simplicity and clarity. He is no longer a religious. He is no longer a preacher-teacher. He is not a guru. He is just a seeker of the Light and the Truth, coming from the depths of wisdom demonstrated in aspects of the Bible, th life of Jesus and the Wisdom Books. "Seek and keep on seeking and you will find and keep on finding," urged Jesus. Bell has the gift to communicate both what he is seeking and what he is finding. And what more does he tell us about? Rhythm. Sabbath or rest. The power that in the details. The power of the Now. Presence. Seeing. 'How to be Here' is ultimately the layman's guide to the numinous Presence and to becoming both a Seer and Doer. Buy a copy right now and read it at least twice. Shalom.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Eww. And I mean EWW. I read this book at the request of a friend. I actually read two-thirds, couldn't stomach any more, and skimmed the rest. HOW TO BE HERE contains a great deal of false information, interspersed with barely useful, tired (but true) platitudes. Oh, and Bell gratuitously includes countless lengthy illustrations from his own random life experiences. Where to begin? Or, I should say, where is my number 1? For starters, we don't create our own lives out of nothing from within oursel Eww. And I mean EWW. I read this book at the request of a friend. I actually read two-thirds, couldn't stomach any more, and skimmed the rest. HOW TO BE HERE contains a great deal of false information, interspersed with barely useful, tired (but true) platitudes. Oh, and Bell gratuitously includes countless lengthy illustrations from his own random life experiences. Where to begin? Or, I should say, where is my number 1? For starters, we don't create our own lives out of nothing from within ourselves, Rob. God creates us. We were not by chance "almost not here." God planned us and knew us from eternity. We have power, including creative power, only as it's given us by God. Our life itself is a gift from God, not from "the universe/ultimate reality/being itself." Christian, Biblical sermons do not come from exploring a person's own ideas, followed by reading a bit of Scripture. I've only scratched the surface, but refuse to spend any more time on this extremely poor book. At first glance, HOW TO BE HERE may seem like an innocuous, slightly helpful, encouraging little book. But under the guise of Christian pastor and preacher, Rob Bell espouses some very dangerous heretical beliefs. My rating has been rounded up from 0.1 stars. Not recommended!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Cook

    I read about 50 pages of this 200-page book in roughly 30 minutes. I couldn't even bring myself to finish it at that pace. This is one of the most vapid, useless, unhelpful self-help books I've ever encountered. It felt like Bell wrote the book just to namedrop some LA friends he's met, yet he somehow marketed this book as a motivational text. There are about 4 sentences per page, and each chapter is about 3 pages long. I've literally read tweetstorms longer than this book, and most of them were I read about 50 pages of this 200-page book in roughly 30 minutes. I couldn't even bring myself to finish it at that pace. This is one of the most vapid, useless, unhelpful self-help books I've ever encountered. It felt like Bell wrote the book just to namedrop some LA friends he's met, yet he somehow marketed this book as a motivational text. There are about 4 sentences per page, and each chapter is about 3 pages long. I've literally read tweetstorms longer than this book, and most of them were more insightful. The man quotes Kanye West AND Coldplay. In the first chapter. I hesitate to remark on the content of the book because if I quote more than 60% of a work I'm likely to be sued for plagiarism, and Goodreads' 20,000 character count would allow me to include the entire book within my review. I'll only say that if you stumble upon this book in an airport or library, read the first chapter. If your life is in such disrepair that you find it motivating, by all means buy the book. You need it. Also, you'll be 10% of the way finished already.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brian Adams

    How to Be Here by Rob Bell is timed perfectly with my place right now. I'm at a juncture, a turning point in my vocation/avocation. I have chosen to shift my gears once again in my education career - taking on a job in my local town as a teacher/advocate of the performing arts. This book is a comfortable overlay of principles and ideas surrounding one's life meaning and purpose. It is an encouragement to consider the value of one's work (professional or amateur) and instill values that will lead How to Be Here by Rob Bell is timed perfectly with my place right now. I'm at a juncture, a turning point in my vocation/avocation. I have chosen to shift my gears once again in my education career - taking on a job in my local town as a teacher/advocate of the performing arts. This book is a comfortable overlay of principles and ideas surrounding one's life meaning and purpose. It is an encouragement to consider the value of one's work (professional or amateur) and instill values that will lead to satisfaction in that work. Failure. Shame. Joy. Success. They are all part of fulfillment. I love Rob Bell's style. It is more suitable for my style of reading. To the point. Short. Peppered with stories. Conversational and lyric. Clean and contemporary. Quotable. I look forward to reviewing the salient points of this work as I reposition my career focus during the next months and years.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    I heard Rob speak recently and he was fantastic. Most of his talk was based on chapters from this book. His writing is tough to get through. Stream of conscious. Better off hearing Rob teach and than read Rob's books...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tricia Culp

    This is a helpful God-centered summary of attitudes and steps to take in your life to move toward meaning and and joy. And it’s short- you could read in in a couple quick settings- worth a read!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Erika B. (SOS BOOKS)

    “For thousands of years humans have been aware that our lives intimately and ultimately depend on our breath, which is a physical reflection of a deeper, unseen reality. It isn’t just breath we’re each given-it’s life itself. Before anything else can be said about you, you have received a gift. God/the universe/ultimate reality/being itself—whatever word you want to use for source—has given you life. Are you breathing? Are you here? Did you just take a breath? Are you about to take another? Do y “For thousands of years humans have been aware that our lives intimately and ultimately depend on our breath, which is a physical reflection of a deeper, unseen reality. It isn’t just breath we’re each given-it’s life itself. Before anything else can be said about you, you have received a gift. God/the universe/ultimate reality/being itself—whatever word you want to use for source—has given you life. Are you breathing? Are you here? Did you just take a breath? Are you about to take another? Do you have a habit of regularly doing this? Gift. Gift. Gift. Whatever else has happened in your life—failure, pain, heartache, abuse, loss—the first thing that can be said about you is that you have received a gift. Often you’ll meet people who have long lists of ways they’ve been slighted, reasons the universe has been unfair to them, times they got the short end of the stick or were dealt a bad hand of cards. While we grieve and feel and lament and express whatever it is that is brewing within us, a truth courses through the veins of all our bumps and bruises, and it is this: We have received. You’re here, you’re breathing, and you have received a gift, a generous, extraordinary, mysterious, inexplicable gift” (25-27). Have you ever stumbled upon a book that just seemed made for you? What is that? I would like to think that it is some higher power of communication. Well, that is what this book was for me. I admit that I picked up this book because I was intrigued by the topic of being “here.” As a semi-Luddite, I am constantly wondering if I am missing out on beautiful things happening around me, while I scroll through endless data that I will forget within the hour. The reason that this book really spoke to my heart though, is because I am coming off of my first year of teaching. I was left with all of these questions rambling around inside of me. Did my students learn enough from me to create on their own? Did what I taught matter? Did they like me? Did they know that I think they matter and that I love them? (Yeah-I’m that teacher. Tell me how to disconnect the caring part of myself-so far they are inseparably connected.) This book reminded me that in the end it doesn’t matter, because I do know that I put my whole heart and soul into what I was creating. I did my very best and I am still as passionate about the English language as ever. Some will notice that, some won’t, but in the end it doesn’t matter what they think, because they are not me. I’m the one shaping my life—and I can’t be anyone else. So why not enjoy every moment of it? Rob Bell reminded me that in Genesis we discover that the universe is constantly creating and making itself better. It’s a pretty sweet deal that we can be co-creators in that process, shaping our own lives into what we want. So be you, because you are great. I plan to be the best Goodreads Erika B. ever. Remember— “No one has ever done this before. No one has ever been you before. This exact interrelated web of people and events and places and memories and desire and love that is your life hasn’t ever existed in the history of the universe. Welcome to a truly unique phenomenon. Welcome to the most thrilling thing you will ever do. Welcome to your life. Welcome to here” (200). Mushy book review out- Mic drop. Erika's Amazon Link

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tristan Sherwin

    So let me be really honest before we start. I am no fan of self-help books. As I've written elsewhere, they can have a tendency to tap into fear more than hope; feeding our anxiety about being a nobody. They're usually full of cheap clichés and impotent anecdotes and twelve steps that lead nowhere. And often, they result in leaving people more exhausted, burdened and disillusioned as they try and exhibit the book's mantras. Take for example those relationship books that promise a better, more enri So let me be really honest before we start. I am no fan of self-help books. As I've written elsewhere, they can have a tendency to tap into fear more than hope; feeding our anxiety about being a nobody. They're usually full of cheap clichés and impotent anecdotes and twelve steps that lead nowhere. And often, they result in leaving people more exhausted, burdened and disillusioned as they try and exhibit the book's mantras. Take for example those relationship books that promise a better, more enriching relationship. So people buy them, and end up missing and sabotaging the uniqueness and beauty of what they already have through grasping for the faux assembly-line product that someone else tells them that they should have. As I said, I'm no fan of self-help. It'd be better called self-destruct. And it irritates me that it sells as well as it does. So I avoid it -- with an extremely wide radius. But along comes Rob, with his clear and well-honed communication skills and does, what I feel, is very subversive to the whole genre! This isn’t really a “self-help” book -- though it appears to be one. This isn’t a book that seeks to encourage us to let go of now in order to grab at more transcendental expectations and experiences. Rob’s few words here evoke the immanency of life, seeking to ground us more in the here and now; helping us to see the wonder that this present moment holds. *How To Be Here* does exactly what it says on the cover, without leaving the reader with a large headache, an unrealistic to-do list or a side order of depression. And as someone who is prone to the latter, it's nice to read a book that didn't nuance that. This didn't leave me feeling terrible about my place or progress in life, but actually more thankful, grateful and hopeful about it. I got a lot from this. If I'm honest, I'm wrestling with a huge sense of displacement at the moment -- thinking that life will happen if I locate myself elsewhere but here -- so I needed this. It resonated in some deep levels as I read through the chapters. It's helped me to reconnect with the present and to explore and rejoice in what I find here. *How To Be Here* is a book that actually helps. Another excellent, well written, and never long, book from Rob!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jim Thompson

    I've read most of Rob Bell's books, I've watched his Nooma videos, I've watched his "Everything Is Spiritual" YouTube film, I've seen him give a live talk. Fair enough to say I'm a fan. I haven't disliked anything I've come across, but some work is better than others. This one doesn't rank among my favorites. Strange thing is that though I'm not a Christian myself, what I find best in Bell are his explorations of Christian faith, his more "theological" works. "Jesus Wants to Save Christians," "L I've read most of Rob Bell's books, I've watched his Nooma videos, I've watched his "Everything Is Spiritual" YouTube film, I've seen him give a live talk. Fair enough to say I'm a fan. I haven't disliked anything I've come across, but some work is better than others. This one doesn't rank among my favorites. Strange thing is that though I'm not a Christian myself, what I find best in Bell are his explorations of Christian faith, his more "theological" works. "Jesus Wants to Save Christians," "Love Wins," Sex God." Those top the list for me. His presentation of the faith makes it something appealing to me, even though I rejected that faith (or a similar faith, a faith going by the same name) decades ago. This book wanders away from his usual Christian focus. There are bits and pieces in here, quotes from or allusions to Biblical stories. But he uses that almost as "seasoning," certainly not as the main course. In this book, Rob Bell is less a theologian and more a motivational speaker. It's a book that is true to the title-- it's all about how to be here. How to be fully, truly present, how to completely live the life we've been given. It's a good book. Not his best. Still good. Rob Bell's writing style is simple, the kind of simple that I love. And he comes across as genuine, enthusiastic, makes me want to say "yes, I want that" in every chapter. When he talks about "success" ("what more can I get?) versus "craft" (can you believe I get to do this?") it's inspiring. When he talks about the joy of having butterflies in your stomach (so that you know life isn't passing you by) it clicks. And of course everything he says about "ikigai" ("that sense you have when you wake up that this day matters, that there are new experiences to be had, that you have work to do, a contribution to make") had me wanting to find my own "ikigai," to know it and embrace it and be driven by it daily. It's not my favorite. And I was expecting some theology, didn't get theology, and so maybe was a little bit disappointed. But this is a good book. Self-help-y, yes. Stuff you already know, yes (but we already know a lot of things, and it's sometimes good to hear them again and again). But still good.

  19. 5 out of 5

    B.J. Richardson

    In one of the early chapters of this book Rob Bell talks about how he got an idea for a book and put it on an index card. As time went by over the course of the next year or two he would get another "idea", or "insight", or "inspiration", and he would add it to his growing collection of index cards. Finally, the time came where he felt he was ready to write his book. Rob Bell then sat down, spread all those cards out, and started putting words to paper. When he had finished his book his publishe In one of the early chapters of this book Rob Bell talks about how he got an idea for a book and put it on an index card. As time went by over the course of the next year or two he would get another "idea", or "insight", or "inspiration", and he would add it to his growing collection of index cards. Finally, the time came where he felt he was ready to write his book. Rob Bell then sat down, spread all those cards out, and started putting words to paper. When he had finished his book his publisher told him, "I can't publish this. It is just a random collection of thoughts without any purpose or flow." At the point I was reading this, I was only perhaps a third of the way through. I remember immediately thinking, "Well, you managed to get it published anyways." Over and over as I dragged my way through future chapters I kept thinking back to that illustration. This book is nothing more than a random collection of thoughts without any coherent flow. Some of those thoughts were moderately insightful, others were things that did not make me go "hmmmm" but rather "so what?" Rob Bell is brilliant for embedding those diamonds in the rough. He has a great ability to take a familiar scripture and force us to look at it from a fresh, unique perspective. He is a master at taking a random everyday life occurrence and using it to illuminate some profound theological truth (or half-truth). None of that was present in this book. Honestly, the title is ironic. How To Be Here. As I was reading, I kept wanting to be anywhere but here. I kept hoping for one of those gems but they never came. I think a much better title for this collection of mediocre musings would have been, "Small Ideas by a Big Name"

  20. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Roberts

    If you know me, you know I'm a huge Rob Bell fan. This book may have been one of my favorites. It helps you find realistic day to day ways to be present in your life. Ways to help you stay grateful, ways to be full of grace, especially when interacting with yourself! A wonderfully hopeful and encouraging book!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. This was a pleasant read. Quick and easy book to read and there were a few smiles along the way.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jonathon Hagger

    Light on content, big on inspiration. Enjoyable but not deep.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    This has been a tough summer. I took on some extra work, and I didn't take the time to rest and restore my mind before starting that work. There wasn't time. It got to be June, and I was nervous, couldn't focus on grading, people, or books. And so I pulled out How to Be Here by Rob Bell, a book I started a long time ago and which I put back on the shelf, a book shared with my by my daughter Kirsten. Not that the book wasn't good. I just didn't have time. Or maybe it wasn't time. Mid-June 2018 wa This has been a tough summer. I took on some extra work, and I didn't take the time to rest and restore my mind before starting that work. There wasn't time. It got to be June, and I was nervous, couldn't focus on grading, people, or books. And so I pulled out How to Be Here by Rob Bell, a book I started a long time ago and which I put back on the shelf, a book shared with my by my daughter Kirsten. Not that the book wasn't good. I just didn't have time. Or maybe it wasn't time. Mid-June 2018 was the time. The time to talk about being out of focus, not centering my mind, my heart, my attention. The time to talk about really being present, to my family, to my students, to my own needs. The time to talk about noticing and appreciating the world around me. It's a short book, and I read a little bit every day, including the parts that I had already read. (I didn't actually remember any of it.) Bell is an adventurer and a risk taker. I assumed that meant he didn't have "freak out" moments when he questions his actions. That was a false assumption, and that's probably why I kept going. He kept reminding me of things I needed to think about. This is not a profound, ground breaking book, but it is a good book, a good reminder of how to live, mindful of what is going on around me. I forget that from time to time, and I may come back to this book again.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Patrik Hallberg

    Rob Bell used to be a pastor before he started writing books and this gives the book a fresh perspective to the genre self-help books. It's an easy read and you get sucked in and almost wants to finish the book in one read like many of the reviewers here on Goodreads also quoted. Rob talks a lot about finding your one thing which reminds me of another book I'm reading called "The one thing" by Gary Keller. It's also a key concept of "Getting things done" by David Allen. Always start with Nr 1 an Rob Bell used to be a pastor before he started writing books and this gives the book a fresh perspective to the genre self-help books. It's an easy read and you get sucked in and almost wants to finish the book in one read like many of the reviewers here on Goodreads also quoted. Rob talks a lot about finding your one thing which reminds me of another book I'm reading called "The one thing" by Gary Keller. It's also a key concept of "Getting things done" by David Allen. Always start with Nr 1 and not Nr 2 or Nr 4. Break it down into small steps and take them one by one, Always start with Nr 1 and give it all you got. Being a former pastor there is also spiritual stuff here and Bible quotes. Realize that you are unique and you only have one life. No one has ever done this before. No one has ever been you before. Welcome to your life. Welcome to here.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melana

    Reading this book was sort of like having The Ghosts of Christmases Past and Present walk beside me through a few days of my life, like having a trusted advisor point out the obvious I wasn't always seeing. Thanks, Rob Bell, for making my makeup run on the way to work, for sharing morning coffee with me —albeit not out of my fine china cups—, and for helping me to see the oceans outstretched before me.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    I listened to this on audio book and will probably read it properly at some point, and then will no doubt get more from it - but I can confirm it's full of wisdom and humour and all in easily digestible chunks. And Rob Bell narrates his own book very well.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I like Rob Bell. He's the only contemporary Christian thinker I've read, and I really like his blend of religion and spirituality and science. I found this book inspiring and bits of it stick with me and ground me. I wish it had more specific tools for implementing some changes, but it's full of great phrases to serve as reminders and mantras.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Katy L.

    This book wasn’t earth-shattering, but it was an easy read and great reminder to focus on “the next right thing” rather than getting overwhelmed by the details. Although Rob Bell was a pastor and uses examples from the Bible, the tone is not specifically religious.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kelli Houts

    Hit home for me. Gave excellent advice and examples on the discussion of living presently and focusing on what makes you happy versus what you can do well. We only get one life and this helps you see that you have a choice on how you live it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Fraser

    Key takeaways: be present, focus on one thing at a time, throw yourself into whatever you're doing.

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