March Recommended Reads

Chip and Joanna Gaines, known for their hit show Fixer Upper on HGTV, are now starting their own Magnolia Network.  Likewise, Chip Gaines is sharing wisdom and life lessons for people who want to create or build their own network of supportive people who can help to challenge them and encourage them to grow.


No Pain No Gaines isn’t just your usual leadership book about how to build or refine a support network. It’s a collection of stories and life lessons that sometimes aren’t all just about networking. If you enjoy watching Chip and Joanna work on Fixer Upper and you want to know more about Chip and the events that shaped his life, then you will love the stories at the start of each chapter. There are even a couple of chapters where both his family members, and his in-laws share stories about Chip, first impressions, and what makes him unique, giving you even more insight into who he is. For those who are looking for a compelling book with great instructions on building a network of friends and colleagues, this book may be more of a secondary read. You may find several great books on networking and using who you know to accomplish what you can do, while this book more or less helps you to implement some of those ideas and season your wisdom in how you network.

The two chapters that really stood out to me were chapters 6 and 10. Chapter 6 focuses on working past the obstacles that divide us, and uniting around common humanity. The lessons and stories in that chapter stand out as the highlight of the book. Chapter 10 is a valuable lesson in a book about networking, where he cautions readers against flattening others, which is where you see someone only for the purpose for which they can serve you. We should always see the humanity in others, and not just try to extract one thing we like, or use them as props to achieve a goal. Naturally, the lessons that stood out to me most could be summarized as love thy neighbor. In a time when we are bombarded with stories about how difficult it is to love our neighbor, or see through the divisions, these lessons are encouraging reminders that we can still find common ground and love others right where they are.

Yet, there are still some valuable lessons that will serve those who are looking for advice on building or refining their network. There’s lessons about learning when to let go, making quick connections, being fully present, living fearlessly, and knowing when to trust your instincts over your experience. Parts of the book are about self-improvement, and other sections have to do with community involvement and improving the way we understand other people in our world. He writes from a place of faith and passion, but he doesn’t draw on lessons directly from the Bible. His life lessons and wisdom speak mainly from his own experience.

If you have friends who are non-believers who want to read and share books with you about business principles, this may be the sort of book you could use to open up conversations about what you believe, and how that impacts interpersonal interactions. Since it is light on spirituality and theology, you can use this as a springboard to prompt more spiritual discussions about topics that relate to business ethics and building a network.

Are you planning on picking up No Pain No Gaines? Have you read it, or other Chip Gaines books? What parts stood out to you most, and what do you admire most about the way he writes?


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