Book 13: Be Real


I’m returning from a short hiatus in the #EmptyShelf Challenge. I’m back to review an excellent book (my 13th this year) about being real and living authentically.

Title: Be Real: Because Fake Is Exhausting
Author: Rick Bezet
Publisher: Baker Books (2014)

What the book is about

For me, the subtitle of this book says it all: “Because fake is exhausting.” We all know how hard it is to pretend to be someone you’re not. Trying to put up an image to your coworkers, your neighbors, your spouse, your kids, … and others is exhausting. We can be fake in so many different ways: what we say to others (and ourselves) about others (and ourselves), how we act, even how we think. I’m convinced that most of us spend more time and energy being fake to ourselves than we do to others!

In Be Real: Because Fake Is Exhausting, Bezet issues a challenge to each of us to shed the fakery and be real. The foundation of his message is that God calls us to be real because authenticity with Him, and with others, results in healthy relationships that open up channels of communication, grace, and life-effectiveness.

Why I read this book

One reason I picked up this book is that the message of authenticity fits in with my current focus on emotional intelligence. Emotionally intelligent leaders are transparent and authentic with followers and other leaders. Another reason this book was important to read is that most of the literature on emotional intelligence is from a secular-humanist worldview. Bezet’s approach is clearly Biblical, and well-supported from Scripture.

It is important to have a Biblical perspective on emotional intelligence and authenticity to offset what we get from most of the other literature.

Favorite idea

Bezet’s chapter on forgiveness had the greatest impact on me. Chapter 5, “Real Forgiveness Never Forgets: But It Always Sets Us Free,” was a very refreshing approach to forgiveness. Like you, I’ve heard many sermons and messages on forgiveness. Frankly, most of them leave more unaddressed issues than they resolve. They never seem to help me deal with the lingering hurt that accompanies situations where forgiveness is needed. Bezet’s approach to these issues is refreshing and helpful.

What has forgiveness got to do with being real?
Being real with others means also forgiving others. If I’m not willing to forgive, I’m putting up barriers between myself and others. (Barriers? Well, that’s not being real.) In contrast, forgiveness and authenticity are bound together in vulnerability. God forgives us (through the blood of Jesus). God is purely authentic; there is nothing fake about Him.

Do I recommend this book?

I’m happy to say, Yes, I do recommend this book. This is also an excellent book for senior high schoolers, college students, and parents. (Now that’s a tough one. Being a real and authentic parent can be a challenge.)

(Click here to learn more about the #EmptyShelf Challenge.)

Dr. Scott Yorkovich is a leadership coach and consultant. He works with individuals, small and medium organizations, and ministries. Contact him at ScottYorkovich[at] with your questions.

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