Friday, October 09, 2015

Review: The Entitlement Cure

title: The Entitlement Cure: Finding success in doing hard things the right way
author: John Townsend
publisher: Zondervan
date: 2015

Dr John Townsend is probably best known for his work with Dr Henry Cloud on Boundaries. His latest book (released this week) is The Entitlement Cure

The Entitlement is an easy read in the sense that it is well written, the flow of Dr Townsend's thinking is easy to follow. It's a practical book. At the end of each chapter are 3 skill development questions or reflections to work through.

Townsend writes:
Entitlement is the belief that I am exempt from responsibility and I am owed special treatmentEntitlement is: The man who thinks he is above all the rules. The woman who feels mistreated and needs others to make it up to her.
p.19, italics in the text

Entitlement will have most of these characteristics:
1. An attitude of being special...
2. An attitude of being owed, of deserving something...

3. A refusal to accept responsibility...
4. A denial of one's impact on others...

While I was jotting down notes for this review, i went next door to The Mariposa Market to pick up some cookies for an event at OCC. As I came out, there in the clearly marked no parking zone leading to the door, was a large Cadillac. At the other end of the socio-economic spectrum, I know someone who regularly mishandles their money and is often short at the end of the month and will say to me "You need to do something about it." Both are examples of entitlement. You probably know people, or at least know of people, who fit the definition. Townsend rightly says, "We all have attitudes of entitlement, to some extent... it's an unfortunate part of being human... part of... fall from grace" (p.35).

Much of The Entitlement Cure addresses people in business environments and family contexts.

One of Townsend's key thoughts is the change from "I deserve" to "I am responsible." [chapter 8] He writes "Ultimately, the Hard Way (The habit of doing what is best, rather than what is comfortable, to achieve a worthwhile outcome) is God's way. It is how he runs the world, expresses his own values, and makes choices that affect us. I'm personally glad he does!” 

Townsend calls the choices one must make to be free from an entitlement attitude the Hard Way, which he links to the easy way of the yoke of Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30). "The way of entitlement... begins and ends with narcissism" (p.272). But while Townsend says this, I wished he would have developed a little bit more, those who the very demanding.

The concluding chapter outlines 
"a progression: Entitlement gives way to law, and then law gives way to grace. The self-absorbed person finally comes face-to-face with the reality that he is not God... This truth brings a lot of pain. So then he moves to try another tactic: He tries to be very, very good, and do things very, very well... But ultimately this tactic fails, too, as all our works do.
At that point, he is ready for God's Hard Way - the path that says we are all failures, that we all have to admit those failures and take responsibility for them. And then having faced the intolerable, we come face to face with grace."

p.272-273, italics in the text
In conclusion, a helpful read for anyone who works with people who exhibit entitlement tendencies and want to come alongside and help. 

I received this book free from the publisher.
I was not required to write a positive review.
The opinions I have expressed are my own.

No comments: