My Review of Jolt! by Phil Cooke – The Better of the Self Help Stuff

I was given a copy to review Phil Cooke’s new book Jolt! a few weeks ago by Book Sneeze. You should know that I am not required to give a positive review and that these words are as honest as they can be.

Here’s a bit of context first:
Who is Phil Cooke?
According to his bio:  Phil Cooke, a writer, speaker, and filmmaker, is changing the way business, church, and nonprofit leaders influence and engage the culture. Christianity Today calls him a “media guru.” His media company, Cooke Pictures, advises many of the largest and most effective churches and nonprofit organizations in the world. A founding partner in the commercial production company TWC Films, he also produces national advertising for some of the largest companies in the country. His books and online blog at are changing the way religious and nonprofit organizations tell their story. He’s lectured at universities, such as Yale, University of California at Berkeley, and UCLA and is an adjunct professor at the King’s College and Seminary and Biola University in Los Angeles. His new book is Jolt!: The Power of Intentional Change in a World that’s Constantly Changing.

I like Phil Cooke. I saw him make a presentation on social media at the Collyde Summit and bought a few of his other books like Branding Faith: Why Some Churches and Nonprofits Impact Culture and Others Don’t . When I first heard about Jolt!, I was underwhelmed because I didn’t like the title (it reminded me of the Wham! Sock! Jolt!i in the old Batman tv series). Then I read that it was a self-help type of book and I’m not really into those. I already have enough help making me wish I had someone else’s life. In fact, I think there should be more books about how my life is so good and why you should want me to keep it the way it is. :)  By the way, if this is your first time on my blog, sarcasm and self-deprecation are consistent themes here.

But since I agreed to review it, I thought I’d give a good and fair skim. However, as I was skimming, I liked what I saw so then I started reading it. Further what drew me in at the Collyde Summit kept me interested here and that’s Phil’s personality. It occurred to me that most of the self-help stuff I read and resented could be based on the fact that I thought the writer was pretentious. In all honesty, I never really wanted their lives because I am more interested in a better version of my own. And that’s what Jolt! is about.

It’s called Jolt! because Phil describes that everyone needs a shake-up to get them out the holding pattern they feel stuck in. You need to get jolted out of it … Admittedly, it’s better than Wham! and Sock and Your Better Life Now :)

Who Should Read It:
Those who already like self-help/personal improvement/leadership/organizational management books. If this is your thing, I believe this is up your ally.
Those who never read these aforementioned books. Let’s face it, part of the reason we probably don’t like these books because it reminds us of failed resolutions and bring up guilt. I’ll be the first to say there are a lot of bad books in this field, I feel this is an excellent one.
I could see a church staff or a non-profit read this together.
I could also see a small group of young professional types reading it. (Though more ideal for those working together).

What  I Liked:
It’s Christian without speaking Christianese. I’ve seen other self-help types written by Christians to be very shallow and almost divorced from the faith they claim to espouse. Phil has a good balance of wisdom without the preachy sermon. I assume this balance is informed by being a pastor’s kid and working in the television/film industry. In any case, the last third is definitely more Christian and is a part of the section “Jolt Your Future”.

The quotes like:
“None but a coward dares to boast that he has never known fear.” – Ferdiand Foch, WWI French Military General
“Everything communicates” – Brad Abare, branding and organizational consultant.
“Attention is one of the most valuable modern resources. If we waste it on frivolous communication, we will have nothing left when we really need it.” – John Freeman, The Tyranny of E-mail.

I liked who inspired Phil like Thomas Edison, CS Lewis, Winston Churchill, Seth Godin, Jim Collins, etc.

I can’t say enough about Phil’s tone. He’s urgent without being annoying. He’s not motivational in the sense that he’s dangling a carrot in front of you, it’s more inspiring. And I believe that’s why I don’t classify this as a typical self-help book.

Lastly, I liked its relevance for today’s reader. He talks a lot about social media, our fast-paced world, and the entertainment industry. As mentioned, I don’t read a ton of these types of books, but I know this seems unique to what’s out there (and what I’ve alread read).

What I Would Have Liked to Have Seen:
More quotes.
Perhaps an appendix of resources, suggested periodicals, sites, tools, management systems, etc.

So if you need a change but are suspicious of these types of books, I do think Jolt! will be a good thing for you.
Order it here through Amazon ($15)

For more check out his site and watch his promo video


  1. Sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for the review.

    Regarding the use of sarcasm, I think we need to create some kind of “Sarcastic Blog” warning badge for people like us. Literal is lame. ;)

  2. LOL – that sounds like a great idea.

    In fact the badge should read.

    “Uhh, no, I’m not being sarcastic.”


    “Sarcasm-free ;-)”

    or my other life verse,

    “But the fruits of the cynics are rhetorical questions, sacrilege and sarcasm. But the greatest of these is sarcasm.” 3 Corinthians 13:14

    Maybe the picture can be a grumpy person rolling their eyes while holding a coffee mug?

    Any other thoughts?

    Been a pleasure, I need to go repent now. (Only half-saracastic here :)

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