Book Review: “7 Men And The Secret of their Greatness”

Stan Crader
B Magazine

The foundational ingredient of an inspirational business leader is an energetic drive with an altruistic nature; a rare combination. In “7 Men,” Eric Metaxas packs the story of seven extraordinarily driven, exponentially altruistic, and historically significant people who had worldwide impact, into one book.

The following is a snippet.

Nobody has had a more positive impact on the world than the surveyor from Virginia. His providential protection during battle when his clothing would be riddled with bullet holes and numerous horses shot out from under him is proof that God had him in mind to set the tone of America’s government and define the presidency. “Reason and experience forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principal.” George Washington.

William Wilberforce, a contemporary of George Washington, John Newton (Amazing Grace), Marque de Lafayette, and Benjamin Franklin. He’s known for tackling two worldwide issues of his day: slavery and manners. William Wilberforce, known as the George Washington of humanity, recognized that what is illegal remains possible. The problem lies with the heart. He changed the heart of Great Britain and then the world.

Eric Liddell is more famous for an Olympic race he didn’t run than his Gold medal performance the following week, or the evangelical race that guided his decision to forgo Sunday competition. He lived by four principles: absolute honesty, purity, unselfishness and love. Known as the Flying Scotsman, Liddell was born where he died, in China, in a camp that was overrun by the Chinese on Dec. 7, 1941. There’s much more to know about him.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born into a family of intellectuals; his father arguably the most well-known scientist in early 20th century Germany. His brother, Karl, was part of Einstein’s atom splitting team. His family creed was the imperative to use intellect to its fullest extent. His grandparents had been missionaries; evangelism was his providential call. While living in America he attended what was the largest church in America, the magnificent Abyssinian Baptist, a mostly Black congregation in Harlem, where he was tutored by the renown Adam Clayton Power, Sr. His return to Germany coincided with the rise in power of the Nazi party. Dietrich was outspoken and his efforts to bring to light the racial prism with which Nazi leaders viewed the world cost him his life. His book, “The Cost of Discipleship” was profoundly prescient.

The next legendary person’s impact on society begins on the fourth floor of a Brooklyn office building under a portrait of President Lincoln when the Bible-thumping Branch Ricky signed a college educated, WWII veteran, world caliber Christian athlete to the Dodger organization; #45, Jackrabbit Jackie. Jackie Robinson’s story is one of grace under pressure. With the support of legends such as Pee Wee Reese and Eddy Stankey, Robinson pioneered racial integration of baseball and made the game better.

Few events garner the world’s attention more than the selection of a Pope; it’s rare and occurs with great fanfare. In 1978 it happened twice. On average, a Pope serves for nearly 30 years, but in 1978, John Paul I served less than 30 days before dying, mysteriously. So, the College of Cardinals had a do over. Scrambling to make their second choice for Pope in little more than a month they settled on a relatively unknown. Even though Karol Wojtyla was nicknamed “Apprentice Saint” by his classmates in Wadowice, Poland, he showed zero interest in seminary. He was happy working as a delivery boy and quarry worker until a miraculous life-saving event involving German Nazis changed his heart. This unorthodox, obscure, humble servant would play a crucial role in the fall of communism, referred to as the conscience of the Christian world by Bill Graham, he earned the moniker, John Paul The Great.

Charles Colson became a household name when he participated in an event that still stands as one of the greatest political scandals in the history of America: Watergate. After serving at the right hand of the most powerful person on planet earth, the story of his fall is one of unfathomable grace. His transition from world class scoundrel to world renown evangelist is nothing short of providential. His impact on social moral order has earned him the tag of “Wilberforce of our day.”

Want to be a great business leader? First be a great person. Want to be a great person? Metaxas succinctly profiles what that looks like. “7 Men” will inspire the reader to be better.

Stan Crader is the past-president of Crader Distributing Company-Blue Mountain Equipment, headquartered in Marble Hill, Missouri.