DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

I read it all

Written by: on November 8, 2019

I admit it – I read this book cover to cover. While I realize that we don’t generally have time for that (and I don’t usually), I made time for this book this week. I found myself gripped each night and felt like I couldn’t put it down. I can’t tell if it was the audacity of Galloway’s writing, or the allegories of each company (I totally see how Google has replaced God!), I felt equal parts intrigued by these companies and mildly ashamed by my own personal dependence on them.


First and foremost, Galloway pulled no punches in this book, which isn’t surprising when you look at his work. He’s a professor of Marketing in the NYU Stern School of Business, where he’s been since 2002.[1] He also regularly blogs at and you can even join his email list, lovingly entitled “No Mercy/No Malice”[2] No only is he a professor and prolific blogger, he has been involved in the founding of three companies, during one of which he developed the “Digital IQ Index” which assess and ranks over 700 brands across different spheres of influence.[3] Oddly enough, for a man who uses a plethora of (albeit well-played) curse words, one of the things he’s most famous for is his “Algebra of Happiness” video. In this youtube, he goes through his own personal philosophy of what creates happiness. While he is a proclaimed atheist, he recognizes the finite nature of life and he says it focuses him more on the things that matter – relationships.[4]


While there’s plenty of polarizing opinions on Galloway himself, most reviews articulate that this book is a refreshing read. It’s a no-nonsense call to arms for the folks who were already skeptical of “The Four”, as he calls them, but it also is an easy and entertaining read for those who aren’t as familiar with the major critiques each company bears. While he was clearly open about his opinions, Galloway is also quite candid with his own failures. I appreciated the admission of his failure on the Board at the New York Times,[5] as well as his many admissions of personal and professional failures on the way to success.


To be honest, I’m not totally sure why I fell so hard for this book. This book connects in no way to my research, and I even struggled with what to write this week. I guess I just feel like it was an entertaining read. I ended up reading large chunks of it aloud to my husband. It created much conversation (this is very much my husband’s world) around how we utilize technology, how we parent with technology, and our own general sense of happiness with technology. Galloway encouraged me to slow down, learn to be deeply engaged by a book again, connected me with my spouse, and made me re-evaluate my browser tabs. All with a lovely curse word here and there.











[5] Scott Galloway, The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google (Portfolio/Penguin: New York, NY), 147.

About the Author


Karen Rouggly

Karen Rouggly is the Director for Mobilization in the Center for Student Action at Azusa Pacific University. She develops transformational experiences for students serving locally, nationally, and internationally. She completed an MA in Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary and is passionate about community development, transformational service and helping students understand vocation and service. Karen is also an active member at the Vineyard Church Glendora where she is a small group leader and serves on the teaching team. She is also a mom to two sweet boys, wife to an amazing guy, and loves being a friend to many.

11 responses to “I read it all”

  1. Mario Hood says:

    Maybe this is the dark side of your leadership coming through, meaning you like the curse and entertain at times :). All kidding aside, great book and I too felt a sense of shame at the dependence of these companies in my life as well. Wake up call for sure.

  2. mm Rhonda Davis says:

    I found myself also oddly drawn to this book, Karen. I think part of it may be my fascination with the human spirit. I really enjoy reading about people who have ideas that shape the daily lives of the world. As others have mentioned, though, I wonder if the price we’ve paid for these innovations will be worth it in the end. I am curious about your conversations on parenting and technology…that’s real life!

    • mm Karen Rouggly says:

      For sure, Rhonda! I don’t know that we have ANY answers, but I do feel like we’re at least asking the questions about parenting and technology. We’re looking at things like, “How much is too much?”, “What does it mean to use technology as a reward? What about a method of checking out?”, and “How is technology influencing us as parents?” For instance, we both notice that our patience is MUCH shorter when we’re on our phone around our kids. So how do we create habits that make space for the appropriate use of tech for us all?

  3. Karen, I was completely thrown off balance at the audacity of Galloway to use such curse words and what I will call “casual reference to God” but I also found myself reading the entire book. I was definitely fascinated at his masterly of business and how our human desires and behavior are preyed on by business people at their profiteering pursuits. I’m sure my business background influenced my interest in his book and i will certainly read it over and over again.

    • mm Karen Rouggly says:

      I bet your business background really prepared for you for reads like this, Wallace. I appreciate your perspective as one who sees deeper into the business world than I do – so thanks for sharing!

  4. mm Jenn Burnett says:

    Picking up on your observations of Galloway aligning the Four with religion/God, how might our understanding of idolatry inform caution around our use of these technologies? While I didn’t write about it, I was mulling over the complicated first century cultural phenomena of food sacrificed to idols. This food was often offered to idols and then sold in the general marketplace, but how was one to know? How do we keep these technologies from becoming idols? For example, google’s effort to organize all information out there is a deliberate way of telling the story. What is the effect of this narrative on us? On our way of knowing?

    • mm Karen Rouggly says:

      Jenn – you’re so good at forcing me to go deeper. I love you for that! When I think about it – we need to leave room for faith. Faith is the trusting in what we can’t see. While we can’t see how google works exactly (as Mary pointed out), we see the results of what it produces. I wonder how that faith ties us back to Christ. We have to have faith (and grace for ourselves) in the process. God is continuing to refine us, even in the ways that we cannot see all the time and what we see is the production of it.

  5. mm Mary Mims says:

    Karen, the book is certainly compelling. I agree that these companies are getting away with murder in many ways. Perhaps it is a reflection of society as a whole and what we will do to have what we want. I also wonder if Galloway is motivated by his lack of success in the tech field. Either way, this book is enlightening in many ways.

  6. mm Rev Jacob Bolton says:

    Great blog Karen. I also found the book both hard to put down . . . and a surprising case study on Galloway. The fact that his course is a coveted second year MBA course at a prestigious school is fascinating to me.

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