The Vertical Self: Book Review

Here it is – my first review for Take a peek, then leave a comment for your chance to win this copy of the book! A winner will be selected on 3.14.10. Good luck!

In The Vertical Self, Mark Sayers wants readers to break out of their empty, self-centered ‘horizontal’ lives and step into more fulfilling, God-centered ‘vertical’ lives. By analyzing society and its trends, he shows the uncertainty and instability of ‘finding’ ourselves according to the world. He then points to the Bible to show how it can help us find ourselves and live a life that reflects and points to God.

I expected the book to be about dying to self; however, it addresses man’s search for identity in a self-absorbed world.

The majority of the book explains how mankind slipped into a state of ‘horizontal’ self – a life defined by society and circumstances. He presents a lot of historical support, as well as some great examples to help the reader identify a horizontal lifestyle. A little less than half of the book shows how man can move into a vertical lifestyle.

The book definitely whet my appetite, but I wanted to know more about how to live the ‘radically holy’ life. It’s relatively easy to read, but still required some thought. It may require a second read through to glean the rest of the good stuff.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. Karin says

    Thanks for the encouragement – it's my first 'official' review, so I'm glad it makes sense :)

    Nope, didn't write the disclaimer. They have it on the Book Sneeze site so we can post it with our reviews.

  2. Darla Foreman says

    Thanks for the book review, Karin. It sounds like a very sound, foundational perspective. Just curious, does it approach from more of a philosophical (intellectual)or theological (spiritual)standpoint? What is the depth level on a "spiritual maturity" meter? Just wondering if it would be worth considering for the additional recomended reading list for our discipleship manual? Thanks again! Would love to peruse the book!

  3. Karin says

    Good questions, Darla!

    The book is written from a theological standpoint, though I wish he had used more scriptural references. I think it does a great job of pointing out the ways in which people have stopped looking to God for their identity and have tried to find it in the world.

    The last part of the book focuses on how to re-establish that vertical connection.

    My only real beef with the book is that about 2/3 of it is spent giving history and describing the "horizontal" life and only the last 1/3 goes into how to reclaim the vertical. I wish there was more of the latter.

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