Book Review: The Wisdom Pyramid

The Wisdom Pyramid (cover)With the rise of the internet and the instantaneous communication and continuous stream of information that is now available to us through our computers and smart phones, there is a real danger that we may be consuming too much of what is harmful, frivolous, inaccurate, and inferior, and not enough of what can provide us with the wisdom that comes from above. As we learn how to manage our use of such technology, we need to make sure we keep it in its proper place so that (1) it does not hinder our pursuit of God and His wisdom and (2) we can actually derive some benefit from this technology. (Yes, both are possible.)

After seeing a recommendation for this book – The Wisdom Pyramid by Brett McCracken – I immediately put it on my reading list because it seemed like an essential topic. I finished reading it about six weeks ago and would definitely recommend it.

The description on the back cover explains the purpose of the book:

WE’RE FACING AN INFORMATION OVERLOAD.

With the quick tap of a finger we can access an endless stream of addictive information―sports scores, breaking news, political opinions, streaming TV, the latest Instagram posts, and much more. Accessing information has never been easier―but acquiring wisdom is increasingly difficult.

In an effort to help us consume a more balanced, healthy diet of information, Brett McCracken has created the “Wisdom Pyramid.” Inspired by the food pyramid model, the Wisdom Pyramid challenges us to increase our intake of enduring, trustworthy sources (like the Bible) while moderating our consumption of less reliable sources (like the Internet and social media). At a time when so much of our daily media diet is toxic and making us spiritually sick, The Wisdom Pyramid suggests that we become healthy and wise when we reorient our lives around God―the foundation of truth and the eternal source of wisdom.

As the author described in the introduction, “Everyone has a megaphone, but no one has a filter” (p. 12). We have become so accustomed to sharing anything and everything and, at the same time, taking in what anyone and everyone says with the result that the truth is drowned out. In order to combat this, the author described six sources of wisdom that, when kept in their proper place, will help us understand the wisdom that comes from above.

At the bottom of the pyramid – the foundational layer and most important of all – is the Bible. Moving up the pyramid, he discussed the church, nature, books, and beauty. At the top was the internet and social media. This was included because we can gain wisdom from what we find there, but it will only be a small part of it. We have to focus heavily on the foundation – the word of God – if we hope to gain wisdom.

Overall, I thought the book was very good. One criticism I had was in the author’s concept of the work of the Holy Spirit in our understanding the Bible. He quoted another author who claimed that the Bible “is a closed book till our God-given Teacher [the Holy Spirit, as] opens it to us.” The Bible certainly teaches that the Holy Spirit revealed the word of God; therefore, we understand that it is inspired. However, the Bible does not teach that we cannot understand what has been revealed without some additional work of the Spirit that He performs for some and not for others, leaving the others hopelessly in the dark because God did not choose to enlighten them. The apostle Paul said that God revealed His word in such a way that when we “read,” we “can understand” (Ephesians 3:4).

However, despite this criticism, I believe this is a very helpful book for Christians looking to manage their attention and their use of the internet and social media. In the last chapter, the author described three marks of wisdom:

  1. Discernment in a “too much” world
  2. Patience in a “too fast” world
  3. Humility in a “too focused on me” world

In our modern world, we desperately need discernment, patience, and humility. Focusing more on the Scriptures and less on social media will help us gain these things.

This book is very practical, easy to read, and filled with helpful instruction overall, despite the criticism I mentioned above. I would recommend this book.

This book is available on Amazon – The Wisdom Pyramid (affiliate link)


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