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In recent months, Dinesh D'Souza, Christopher Hitchens, Alan Dershowitz, and several others have all put out short volumes in an "Art of Mentoring" series. Those I've read have been as much about the author, or more, as about teaching anyone else their trade. So another slim mentoring manual, this one by a talk show host no less, and explicitly Christian to boot, hardly seemed promising. In fact, had he not recently begun publishing a very fine column in the Weekly Standard, I'd not have been tempted at all. But what a revelation the book is, far and way the best and most selfless attempt to prepare young people for life that I've come across. Mr. Hewitt bids fair to become the unofficial mentor to young America.

First the bad news, but there's not much of it. Because Mr. Hewitt's book is geared towards Christians, others may find it off-putting. Overall, though there's much here that everyone would benefit from.

The pluses meanwhile are many. For one thing, Mr. Hewitt makes a real effort to provide concrete advice, rather than just anecdotes about how he personally got to where he is--a place few of us are likely to arrive at. This ranges from avoiding credit cards to learning about a subject that will interest powerful people to learning to play golf to starting your own weblog to not getting tattoos. If some of those seem mundane--after all, staying out of debt and being able to chat up the boss is perfectly good advice for getting ahead in life, but not necessarily morally edifying--consider this one: "Know Everyone Between Your Door and Your Desk":
Every day that you leave your home you begin a fairly regular commute. There are small variations, but within a couple of months of settling into a job, you will follow a pretty set path.

Along that path will be faces that will become your acquaintances or remain simply faces.

Recall what C. S. Lewis wrote: "There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal." Each of these faces you pass--the parking garage attendant, the security guard, the cleaning lady, the receptionist--figures in Christ's eternal architecture.
And when we get to know them we put in place the mortar that will hold the structure together. It's a simple idea, but no less profound for that.

We see in this example another aspect that makes the book worthwhile--notice that the advice doesn't serve just the reader, but society in general. As the subtitle suggests, the point isn't just to be a better you, but to "influence the world." Much of the advice, if taken, is of the sort that will serve to build social capital, to connect us to each other, to buff the rough edges off our over-coarse culture and to get us to see one another as subjects, not objects. Mr. Hewitt is cultivating a Christianized world--not so much in the sense that everyone must believe in Christianity, though as a Christian that would be one of his goals too, but in the sense that we put Christ's teachings into effect in our daily lives. We can all agree to disagree on one heck of a lot of issues, but who will argue with the desire to craft a world in which we treat each other as Christ commanded: "Love one another"?

This book will be most useful to college age folk, and most appealing to Christians, but is worthwhile reading for everyone. It offers numerous guideposts against which we can judge our own behavior and how we're living our lives and solid recommendations on how to be better citizens. It is a summons to fulfill our obligation to not just ourselves, but to the world around us. At a moment in our history when Christians have begun to worry that our society is becoming so indecent that we might be better off withdrawing from it or at least withdrawing our support from the republic as currently constituted, Hugh Hewitt reminds us that instead we need to plunge back into the battle and "influence the world." It's a timely lesson.


Grade: (A)


See also:

Hugh Hewitt Links:

    -Hugh (Radio Show)
    -ARCHIVES: Hugh Hewitt: The Voice of Reason (WorldNetDaily)
    -Hugh Hewitt (Chapman University School of Law)
    -ARCHIVES: Hugh Hewitt (Tech Central Station)
    -ESSAY: Lost in Translation: Democrats think the recall revolution was about incumbents and the economy. Their reaction last night suggests they're in for a surprise in 2004. (Hugh Hewitt, 10/08/2003, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY: "Yes" on Recall, "No" on the L.A. Times: The Los Angeles Times is no longer just part of the story on recall, they're now part of the election. (Hugh Hewitt, 10/06/2003, Weekly Standard)
    -DEBATE: Should McClintock Drop Out? (Hugh Hewitt and Peter Robinson, Sept. 15, 2003, National Review)
    -ESSAY: The Catholic Test, Part 2: Big media has been avoiding the new Democratic religion test, but the blogosphere has answered the bell. (Hugh Hewitt, 08/07/2003, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY: The Catholic Test: Two hundred years after the Framers renounced them, Senate Democrats have reinvented the Test Act. (Hugh Hewitt, 08/05/2003, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY: King of the Ring: Big-time strategists, a jungle recall/election, and Democrats scheming over a live microphone. You won't believe what's happening in California. (Hugh Hewitt, 07/24/2003, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY: The Bleat Goes On: Why James Lileks (a) rules; (b) toils in relative obscurity; and (c) should be on every op-ed page in America. (Hugh Hewitt, 07/17/2003, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY: We've Seen This Before: Despite what the quagmire chorus would have you believe, this isn't the first time America has tried to rebuild a war-torn, formerly fascist state. (Hugh Hewitt, 07/10/2003, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY: Monday Morning Spooks: Why are some people second-guessing President Bush's intelligence work and reasons for going to war? (Hugh Hewitt, 06/26/2003, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY: The Orange County Baron Flies Again: Marty Baron would be a fine choice to replace Howell Raines at the New York Times. He learned long ago that sometimes conservatives can be trusted. (Hugh Hewitt, 06/19/2003, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY: Big Man on Campus: Larry Summers is bucking the faculty and trying to remake undergraduate education at Harvard. (Hugh Hewitt, 06/12/2003, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY: The Big Four: How a small quartet of blogs is poised to remake the political landscape as the '04 election cycle begins. (Hugh Hewitt, 06/04/2003, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY: Gray Davis Rolls the Dice: In desperate need of cash and political capital, California's governor prepares to give Native American tribes some extra-Constitutional powers. (Hugh Hewitt, 05/29/2003, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY: Labor Crosses Over: A conversation between John Sweeney and George Meany. (Hugh Hewitt, 05/08/2003, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY: Decline of the Times, Part 2: The Los Angeles Times rails against its defenders and shows how bad its editorial page is, too. (Hugh Hewitt, 05/23/2003, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY: Bad Times at the Other Times: The spotlight is on the New York Times today, but things aren't going so well at the Los Angeles Times, either. (Hugh Hewitt, 05/16/2003, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY: Hear No Victory, See No Victory, Report No Victory: The Los Angeles Times goes to war. (Hugh Hewitt, 03/31/2003, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY: , Weekly Standard)
-ESSAY: Solzhenitsyn, Again: The great Russian thinker foresaw the situation which now faces George W. Bush. (Hugh Hewitt, 03/12/2003, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY: Too Much Information: When it comes to homeland security, some questions are better left unanswered and some scenarios left unexplored. (Hugh Hewitt, 2/26/03, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY: Disney remembers a different 'Alamo' (Hugh Hewitt, February 26, 2003,√ä
    -ESSAY: The Boxer Rebellion--A Preview: For George W. Bush, all is not yet lost in California. (Hugh Hewitt, 02/12/2003, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY: The Force Multiplier: Rick Warren is preaching, selling millions of books, and changing American culture. And you've probably never even heard of him. (Hugh Hewitt, 01/29/2003, Weekly Standard)
    -INTERVIEW: with Hugh Hewitt (John Hawkins, Right Wing News)
    -Hugh Hewitt Inspired Blogs: Blogs inspired by Hewitt's In, But Not Of: A Guide To Christian Ambition
    -REVIEW: of In, But Not Of by Hugh Hewitt (Cindy Crosby, Christianity Today)
    -REVIEW: of In, But Not Of by Hugh Hewitt (Gina R. Dalfonzo,

Book-related and General Links:

    -ESSAY: A Year With a Mentor. Now Comes the Test (JULIE SALAMON, 9/30/03, NY Times)