Official Review: The Periodic Table of Character Traits

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MsH2k
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Latest Review: The Periodic Table of Character Traits by Michael Lawson

Official Review: The Periodic Table of Character Traits

Post by MsH2k »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Periodic Table of Character Traits" by Michael Lawson.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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The Periodic Table of Character Traits is an engaging book based on the concept that we are “elementally human.” This means we are made up of a collection of traits (elements) used to express ourselves in different ways.

There are two groups of traits: core and destructive. Core traits are the life-giving elements we nurture to help us fulfill our purpose. The destructive traits are elements that will destroy us if we do not remove them from our lives—this book compares them to cancer. Using a Christian approach to the discussions, author Michael Lawson addresses twelve core and six destructive traits in this book. The core traits are honesty, compassion, loyalty, fairness, respectfulness, humility, responsibility, kindness, integrity, love, peace, and faithfulness. The destructive traits are pride, anger, greed, jealousy, envy, and hate.

For over ten years, Lawson has worked with teens and young adults as an assistant youth pastor and coach, and the book reflects his experience with this age group. The writing style and examples are well suited for middle and high school students.

Using the periodic table is a clever approach. In fact, this design is what I like most about the book. Each trait is presented as an element on a periodic table. The “atomic number” is its relative importance: honesty is number one. Each chapter is devoted to one character trait and includes an introduction followed by a story giving practical application. The practical application is where the author’s experience in working with youth is most evident. He uses a variety of ways to challenge the reader to understand and apply each core trait in their lives. The stories range from his own personal experiences to accounts from the Bible.

While the application part of each chapter is excellent, what I dislike most about this book is the inconsistent communication style. For example, in the chapter on fairness, this sentence is part of the introduction: “Perhaps the reason our society cannot stomach pure justice is because justice brazenly and unapologetically pronounces judgment upon actions.” The tone abruptly shifts from a light and casual conversation to a scholarly discussion.

In the introduction to kindness, the author lists seven Greek and five Hebrew words for kindness but does not differentiate them or discuss them further. The next page goes back to the simple, engaging tone characteristic of most of the book. I recommend another round of editing to simplify the language in the introduction sections, particularly in the chapters on fairness, love, peace, and faithfulness.

Given the target audience, I would recommend reading this book as part of a group. The format is perfect for a six- or eight-week book club or Bible study, and a group setting with a facilitator would be ideal for this age group to discuss the stories and reflective questions for these character traits.

I rate The Periodic Table of Character Traits 3 out of 4 stars. There are very few grammatical errors, but a round of editing is recommended to address the inconsistency in the introductions, as mentioned previously. Although the importance of developing (or removing) these traits is universal, this book is written from a Christian viewpoint and would be most effective for those of the Christian faith.

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Post by AvidBibliophile »

A fascinating premise, focusing on the core traits and destructive traits that make us all so elementally human. A truly interesting combination of “elements” seems to be presented to the target reading group, so thank you kindly for sharing your helpful impressions!

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Post by xoxoAnushka »

It's such a different concept of combining traits with elements, and it looks like refreshing too. Nice review!

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Post by MsH2k »

AvidBibliophile wrote: ↑
11 Feb 2020, 21:48
A fascinating premise, focusing on the core traits and destructive traits that make us all so elementally human. A truly interesting combination of “elements” seems to be presented to the target reading group, so thank you kindly for sharing your helpful impressions!
I like the term elementally human. It captures that we are multifaceted beings. Thank you for visiting and for your comment!

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Post by MsH2k »

xoxoAnushka wrote: ↑
11 Feb 2020, 23:59
It's such a different concept of combining traits with elements, and it looks like refreshing too. Nice review!
It is a clever concept—a different way of looking at our human components. Thanks for stopping by!

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Post by Amy747 »

I love books like this one, that use a clever memorable element like the periodic table, to teach about morals.

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Post by espo »

MsH2k wrote: ↑
11 Feb 2020, 01:25
The Periodic Table of Character Traits is an engaging book based on the concept that we are “elementally human.” This means we are made up of a collection of traits (elements) used to express ourselves in different ways.
This is an incredibly interesting concept that I've never come across. It makes a lot of sense to look at human nature through this lens - although maybe we run the risk of over-simplifying it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this book.
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Post by Kelyn »

Using a periodic table approach to identifying character traits. I have to admit; I haven't seen that one before. I avoid religion-based books as a rule, so I will pass on this one, but kudos to the author for coming up with something so unique! Thanks for the great review!

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Post by MsH2k »

Amy747 wrote: ↑
12 Feb 2020, 10:03
I love books like this one, that use a clever memorable element like the periodic table, to teach about morals.
I do too! It is especially clever when it engages students who are studying the periodic table in school, and they can apply the format to something different. Thanks for your comment!

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Post by MsH2k »

espo wrote: ↑
12 Feb 2020, 12:39

This is an incredibly interesting concept that I've never come across. It makes a lot of sense to look at human nature through this lens - although maybe we run the risk of over-simplifying it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this book.
It is an interesting concept. I like that the number one element is honesty. The way it is presented, it makes sense that everything else depends on that trait. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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Post by Julius_ »

A book that views humans as elements of character traits. That's a new concept I don't want to miss. Thanks for the review.
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Post by Shabram22 »

I think this is a great book. I really like the idea of character traits as elements of the periodic table. Great job on your review!

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Post by MsH2k »

Kelyn wrote: ↑
13 Feb 2020, 00:32
Using a periodic table approach to identifying character traits. I have to admit; I haven't seen that one before. I avoid religion-based books as a rule, so I will pass on this one, but kudos to the author for coming up with something so unique! Thanks for the great review!
I loved studying the periodic table when I was in school (a few years ago :D). The organization and the colors appealed to me, so I was drawn to this book. This model works well with spiritual traits, and I think it would also be interesting to apply it to other areas like personality traits. Thanks for your comment!

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Post by MsH2k »

Julius_ wrote: ↑
14 Feb 2020, 01:10
A book that views humans as elements of character traits. That's a new concept I don't want to miss. Thanks for the review.
It is a very clever concept. I wish the author had provided a diagram. I kept referring to the book cover while reading the book. Thanks for stopping by!

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Post by MsH2k »

Shabram22 wrote: ↑
14 Feb 2020, 01:47
I think this is a great book. I really like the idea of character traits as elements of the periodic table. Great job on your review!
This really was a clever idea. I’ve always admired the design of the periodic table. Thanks for your comment!

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