The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews

In the Butterfly Effect, Andy Andrews aims to show his readers how their individual lives matter, and the effect they can have on the world. Each action can ripple out and have incredible consequences. He uses examples to show how one person’s actions can cause an entire chain reaction of events. This is written in gift book style and is a very quick read.

Firstly I should note that this is an American book and is obviously written for an American audience, in a very American style, with American examples. Naturally this means I cannot as easily identify with it, as I am not American. This is an observation rather than a criticism, although it does give the book an exclusive feel – I was outside, looking in.

The idea behind the book is a positive one: an affirming message about how one life matters. However, I felt the book lacked something. Although showing how one action can effect so many other events, there was no sense of what kind of action – good or bad.  There was no sense that we needed to make an effort to change the world, or impact the lives of others.  ‘Your life…and what you do with it today….MATTERS FOREVER’ says Andrews.  I was caught  between ‘Yikes!  Really?!’  and ‘What, even hanging out the washing?’  which I confess was very irreverent of me (and possibly very British, what with the ‘hanging out the washing’ thing).

The book is beautifully presented with high quality images.  However, the way the book uses capitals and large fonts to make its point feels overdone, rather a lot of hyperbole,  when sometimes a ‘gentle whisper’ can be more effective.  When there are lots of capital letters, you get the impression the book is shouting at you. It also uses frequent ellipses (dot dot dot)…which I prefer to use sparingly…otherwise you lose the impact.

Not all our actions are good, and sometimes to change the world we need to make pro-active decisions in how we live our lives, how we work on things like forming our character.  The danger is that we assume that we can just sit back and have an impact – without doing much.  It seems it’s trying to be motivational,but doesn’t do much motivating.

I understand the point of the book, but I’m afraid it didn’t do much for me.  This may simply be a matter of taste, and I appreciate that others may find it very valuable.   (This was my first impression from my first read-through, and perhaps I’ll try it reading it again at a later date.)  It felt like it was trying to boost my self-image but didn’t really give me any kind of challenge.  It just didn’t inspire me enough.

I review for BookSneeze

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

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5 thoughts on “The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews

  1. A really interesting review – thanks. I agree with you about SHOUTY CAPITALS and…over frequent use of…ellipsis. But I know my own writing style suffers from excessive exclamations!!!Yes – being Brits we do react differently to stuff written for the US culture [have you read YaYa Sisterhood? I am afraid I really upset the author, quite unintentionally – by suggesting that I found her books written from a church situation I didn't follow at all]re;world events & washing lines YES – I suppose even NOT 'hanging out the washing' could have important consequences [husband doesn't have clean shirt ready for emergency/so has slight row/runs late/drives badly/dents car/goes to garage/extra job saves garageman from unemployment/his family do not starve] There – by not hanging out washing, you have saved three lives.I am now trying to work out the equivalent opposite scenario [possibly relating to the family situation of the woman who works in the clothes peg factory and needs you to buy HER product!]thanks for brightening my day. I must go and load washing machine now, or who knows WHAT might happen!blessings x

  2. I have put the washing out today, then the rain came, I brought the washing back in, then I had a bible study with the Jehovah's Witnesses, then the sun came out and now I am about to go and put the washing back out. Goodness knows what effect I've had today!!(Seriously though, the conversations I'm having with the JWs are VERY interesting. Am praying for effectiveness there.)Oops I used my own shouty capital! 🙂

  3. I use a few shouties in some situations, but try to limit them.Thanks for the review. Is it at all like The Secret? I didn't read the book, but saw the movie. Not very realistic, i think. We DO have the ability to change a lot in our lives with our attitudes & thoughts, but taking it too far moves into wishcraft, i think. I like the idea that every action has a reaction & effect & that this is good to keep in mind. Thanks for the review, Lucy.

  4. Further discussion with other half about this whole butterfly effect/washing line saga. He says my scenarios are fallacious because I end up making you responsible for world starvation whatever you do. Sorry about that. In the midlands, I managed to get my washing done, dried and folded before the rains came. But I was not interrupted by JWs.Blessings!ps what's The Secret about??

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