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 received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com