Have you been to a book club? In my experience, this is what they’re like.
There’s a selected chapter weekly or a book monthly. Then you meet to either analyze it or answer designated questions.
Sound normal to you?
The last one I attended (virtually because of COVID, of course) was for The Abundance Project: 40 Days to More Wealth, Health, Love, and Happiness, by Derek Rydall. I will admit that calling it a book club doesn't do it justice because we did more than just read, analyze, and answer questions.
Turns out, it was a book transformational study.
My friend Sandy Munroe made sure we took Rydall’s challenges to heart with her group. Then we described our experiences, providing support for one another and piggybacking off each other’s observations. In addition, we concluded with a meditation to bring that chapter’s lessons to a close.
It was heartening to watch the growth with my group members by the end, including myself.
Going into it, I expected to have fun, network, and learn. What I didn’t foresee was quoting impactful lines to myself to deal with complications in my life. I didn’t plan on highlighting so often and taking notes. I didn’t predict crying, getting triggered, or calling up my therapist to check-in.
If this sounds a bit much, I agree. Perhaps my experience was positive because of the group I was in, or perhaps the book isn’t so bad.Is this book right for you? Read on and let me know.
Rydall’s book has a standard overall structure of a self-help book by sharing his personal experiences and the lessons he learned from them. The call-to-actions throughout the chapters—“Manifest Abundance Now!”—are specific, which sets The Abundance Project apart to me. Rydall breaks down the whole point of the book: how to manifest abundance in your life.
Rydall also intertwines spirituality. Most self-help books focus on the mental blockage stopping you from your goals. Instead, Rydall focuses on the basic principle that the Source of all abundance—God, the universe, or whatnot—is in you.
You have what you need. And what you want? It has to come from you. That’s where everything lies. So, come up with a plan. Then put it into action. Live your life as if you have everything you need. Afterward, the self-fulfilling prophecy will come true, circulating this energy back to you to restart the cycle.
For example, let’s say you want to eat healthier and exercise with your spouse. Instead of nagging or shaming them, focus on yourself. The Source of all that is healthy? It’s in you. You don’t need your spouse to bring the healthy you out.
So, as if you’ve always done so, you eat healthier and exercise as planned. By extension, your spouse may follow your example. By joining you in your endeavors, they bring the cycle full circle.
The Abundance Project could’ve made undeliverable life changing promises, which many self-help books do. This one isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. Rydall describes what life can be like if you follow the abundance mindset. Yet, he recognizes realistic limitations while encouraging you to try. He helps reframe these larger-than-life changes to be attainable.
Tough tightrope to balance, right?
I like the overall premise of the book because I’d rather take a leap of faith than rely on someone else any day. Connecting to the Source within myself is something I love to do, but never realized I was doing. However, I’ll admit that sometimes Rydall’s existentialism went over my head.
Here’s an illustration.
There was a misunderstanding at my job between myself and a supervisor. Upset, I tried to calm myself by seeing things from his point of view. It worked out, and I apologized for my part of the entire ordeal. What kept me stuck was that I wanted him to apologize.
Then I recalled Rydall’s lesson. Someone doesn’t need to ask for forgiveness to receive it. The Source of all forgiveness is within me. And so, I forgave my supervisor anyway.
Now, here’s where Rydall’s lesson gets “woohoo”—as Sandy says—for me. The highest level of forgiveness? There’s nothing to forgive. Why? Because “we all signed up for a divine play that we cocreated and cast for the evolution of our soul” (Rydall, 2018, p. 116).
Excuse me, what? Maybe I’m not understanding this, but if you ask me, that sounds like a paradoxical predestined free will.
Of course, it may not be fair for me to bring up these Christian concepts of predestination and free will when the book works so hard to prove its spiritual generality. Except that’s the thing. The book exclusively quotes biblical scripture from the Christian tradition, give or take a quote or two.
I commend Rydall for pointing out other spiritual leaders who taught similar lessons. He’s trying, but that was a sore spot for me… and I’m Christian! I’d prefer Rydall to call a spade a spade, but I understand that advertising as a general spiritual book is better for marketing.
Here’s the last part that bothered me. Rydall uses every chance he gets to refer to his Emergence book. I haven’t read that one, so maybe I’m in the wrong here. Both books could complement each other. However, I learned plenty from The Abundance Project, and I don’t think I needed to have subliminal messaging for that.
Then again, I’m a shameless self-promoter, so who am I to judge?
Plan on putting in the work? Then you should get this book. Otherwise, you’ll find the advice cheesy, corny, and/or superficial.
That’s why I kept getting surprised when affected by a lesson, line, or story from the book and related so hard. Seeing what my group members got from the work they put in motivated me to try harder.
In addition, don’t get this book if you can’t get past its heavy leaning Christianity. The same applies if you aren’t comfortable with spiritual concepts beyond your current level of ability. It’s okay to have areas of spiritual growth, even if it makes you feel some type of feeling. That’s another lesson I learned from Rydall.
Here’s my final recommendation. If you don’t take The Abundance Project as a joke and are Christian/spiritually open, then Rydall has lessons for you.
So what do you say? Ready for abundant encouragement?
To join future book transformational studies with Sandy, visit her on Patreon and/or follow her on Instagram @ajoyfullifelived.
Sandy’s starting a new study on January 4th, 2021 using It’s Not Your Money: How to Live Fully from Divine Abundance by Tosha Silver. To purchase that book, go here.
Rydall, D. (2020). The Abundance Project: 40 Days to More Wealth, Health, Love, and Happiness [Kindle version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com.