A review by Eric Oldenburg
I liked this book equally as much as In Search of Balance and actually recommend that you read them together. The idea of Margin is that we need to have buffer or space in our lives so that when unexpected opportunities arise or unwanted challenges face us, we are able to adequately deal with them. If my schedule is completely booked, all the time, then I won't have time to help a friend with an emergency move when he's kicked out of his apartment. If I spend all of my money every month and have no savings, then I won't have funds available to buy a new refrigerator when my current one breaks. If I'm so distracted or disconnected or spent emotionally and spiritually, for whatever reason, then I won't have the reserves necessary to deal with emotional or spiritual crises in close relationships that spring up from time to time. The answer to being prepared for such things is margin. We need to intentionally build margin into our lives so that we are able to respond to opportunities and challenges in ways that are healthy and helpful and in line with what God has for us. Swenson has a good number of suggestions, each with good rationale, for how we can achieve margin. And he paints a very good picture both of what life with healthy margin looks like, as well as how disastrous the consequences are of marginless, overloaded living can be. If you're struggling with a lack of margin, balance or both, please read both of Swenson's books. Even if you aren't struggling in either of these areas, his insights will inspire you to continue on your current path, protecting the margin and balance that you are currently blessed with.