I hope this is obvious from my chosen career path, but I love to read.
I love to learn.
I love to gather little pieces of knowledge, string them together with my experiences and share the result with the world (hence, this blog).
As a tribute to my love of reading and learning and sharing, I’ve created a book review series. Today we are beginning with Phil Vischer’s Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story About God, Dreams, and Talking Vegetables.
If you’ve never heard of Phil Vischer, you’ve probably heard of his creation, VeggieTales.
In his autobiography, Vischer walks the reader through the creation of VeggieTales, the struggles of Big Idea Productions and lessons learned along the way.
If you’re a Christian looking to make a difference in the world or an entrepreneur trying to build a brand, this book is for you.
Vischer begins by walking us through his early life and the creation of VeggieTales.
“I was thrilled about the technical and creative implications of what I was seeing on MTV. But the more I watched and the older I got, the more I became concerned about the moral implications. MTV was the visual embodiment of rock-and-roll culture, and rock-and-roll culture has never been a bastion of Christian values.”
He then takes the reader step-by-step through the rise and fall of Big Idea Productions, highlighting the mistakes made along the way.
“As VeggieTales took off, I became terrified that my business inexperience and lack of people skills would result in Big Idea’s failure. So, in a panic, I brought in others to help, often spending far too little time getting to know them before or after the hire. I then backed down from my own convictions, assuming that an executive with an impressive resume surely knew better than a Bible college dropout.”
Vischer ends his book as he ended every episode of VeggieTales, by singing the “What we have learned” song and analyzing how he would have done things differently.
The 7 lessons learned through VeggieTales:
– Never lose sight of the numbers.
– Ignore the voice that says, “You deserve it.”
– If you successfully identify a need and create a product that meets it in a unique way, you are the expert.
– Know yourself.
– Bigger is no longer better.
– If I had it to do all over again, I would let my business model determine my pay scales.
– Build a team that rows in the same direction.
This is a brilliant take on both traditional business and the unique challenges of running a Christian company. In the end, the biggest lessons were less about how to be a good Christian leader, and more about how to commit every endeavor to Christ.
“The Christian life wasn’t about running like a maniac; it was about walking with God. It wasn’t about impact; it was about obedience. It wasn’t about making stuff up; it was about listening.”
So I truly hope you’ll find Vischer’s story as wise and humbling as I did. As a Christian trying to navigate life for Christ while working in an industry dominated by non-Christians, there is a lot to be learned from Vischer’s journey.
So, I will leave you with a final thought from Phil Vischer, creator of Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber.
“Why do I believe a thousand kids walking with God will have more impact on the world than one kid making a hit movie? Because the world learns about God not by watching Christian movies, but by watching Christians.”
Have you read Phil Vischer’s “Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story About God, Dreams, and Talking Vegetables“? If so, leave a comment letting me know what you thought of it. If not, what books inspired your journey?
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